Friday, May 5, 2017

Antigua Sailing Week Beach Party Break Report

J/122 sailing Antigua (English Harbour, Antigua) – With full blown trade winds piping up to 20 knots in the gusts, the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week got off to a lively start for English Harbour Rum Race Day 1. The majority of the CSA Racing division was racing off Shirley Heights; spectators lined the lookout high above the race course and there was plenty of high-octane action to enjoy. Boats and sailors from 33 different countries have come to Antigua Sailing Week and today’s amazing weather conditions are one of the big attractions; solid breeze delivering boat speed fast enough to surf in warm blue Caribbean surf.

Antigua reggae bandsBlasting through the swell, today’s closest victory was in CSA 8. After CSA time correction, Tanner Jones’ J/30, Caribbean Alliance Insurance was the winner by just 21 seconds and all three podium places were filled by Antiguan boats.

Antigua Yacht Club was the venue for the English Harbour Rum daily prize giving with plenty of Antigua Sailing Week’s favourite rum to savor. After a full-on day of racing in paradise, over 1,000 sailors packed the Antigua Yacht Club lawn for the daily prize giving. Live music was provided by 1761° and they don’t play to empty dance floors, so the party lasted well into the night.

J/122 sailing Antigua Day Two- Trades Pumping at Antigua Sailing Week
The second day of racing at the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week was blessed with awesome conditions, easterly trade winds pumping solid breeze over the cliffs and through the bays on the stunning south coast of Antigua. Add bright sunshine and the infamous Antiguan sea state and you have a sweet and spicy cocktail to savor. The majority of the 150-strong fleet got a double helping of racing in paradise today with two races, testing the boat handling and mettle of the competitors.

Ten teams remain unbeaten, but the devil is in the details and a close-up look at the results reveals incredibly tight racing throughout the fleet.

Robbie Ferron, co-skipper of Micron 99 Lord Jim has been coming to Antigua Sailing Week since 1982: “For me Antigua Sailing Week has become really special again. It has always been a great event and it is capturing the essence of what Caribbean regattas should be all about. A lot of great communication with participants has highlighted the need for sailors to socialize after racing. These daily prize giving’s are great for that and we are thoroughly enjoying the regatta.”

Ashore, there was no shortage of entertainment. Today’s race sponsor, Fever-Tree was generous in its support, serving delicious cocktails and after the Prize Giving, DJ Alan got the party started before a live set from Rico & Muzik 4 Play Band entertained the crowded party well into the evening.

J/120 sailing off AntiguaDay Three- Hotting Up On D’Island
The third day was once again blessed with glorious conditions. Squally pewter skies cleared shortly after the first warning gun and the breeze slowly woke up as the skies cleared, touching 17 knots at times. Ten teams went out to the race course unbeaten, but only three returned with their perfect score intact after some intense racing; hotter than jerk chicken!

The big boat CSA classes were treated to long windward leeward courses off the spectacular cliffs on the south coast of Antigua. The bareboats and smaller CSA classes raced in more sheltered conditions off Rendezvous Beach with short sharp legs testing boat handling skills and boat-on-boat tactics. Two races were held for the majority of the 150 yachts racing.

The closest race today was Race 4 in CSA 4.  Now lying second in the class is Douglas Ayres’ American J/122 Team Skylark/ EL OCASO.

In CSA 7, just half a point behind their long-time rivals, also from St. Maarten, is Byerley & Ferron’s J/39 MICRON 99 LORD JIM.

In CSA 8, the class lead has changed hands every day; now sitting in third place is Tanner Jones’ J/30 CARIBBEAN ALLIANCE INSURANCE.

Sailing off Antigua south shoreWednesday night is the big entertainment night at Antigua. Internationally-acclaimed reggae artiste, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, the youngest son of Bob Marley, is set to headline the eighth edition of “Reggae in the Park,” live in Nelson’s Dockyard. Over 4,000 party-goers are expecting a phenomenal performance from the Grammy award-winning artist when he takes the stage.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 3rd May is Lay Day Beach Party. The ultimate Caribbean beach party kicks off at Pigeon Point Beach at noon. The grills fire up from mid-day with top entertainment from DJs, live music and some crazy beach games.

152 teams from 28 nations are racing at Antigua Sailing Week from around the world.  Fourteen European countries are well-represented, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, Russia and Switzerland.  At least ten Caribbean island nations are on the starting line, including Antigua, Saint Maarten, St Barths, Puerto Rico, St Thomas USVI, Tortola BVI, Trinidad, Barbados, Martinique, and Jamaica.  And, from the “America’s”, there are teams from Canada, USA, Mexico and Argentina.   Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright/   For more Antigua Sailing Week information Add to Flipboard Magazine.