After two days of relatively calm weather by Antiguan standards, full Trade Wind power returned to deliver a spectacular day of action at Antigua Sailing Week. Big breeze and blazing sunshine whipped up the racing action, especially in the big boat classes, which were fully powered up all day. The race committee responded to the change in conditions by altering the schedule for CSA 1 & 2 to a brace of races on a long windward leeward course off the southwest corner of Antigua and there was some ballistic action.
With 10 yachts, 60 feet or over, the 46th edition of Antigua Sailing Week has one of the largest big boat fleets for many years. With solid breeze throughout the day, the fleet was a spectacular sight pounding to windward along the rocky shoreline.
In CSA 1, Eduardo Wong Lu Vega's Peruvian Kuankun may be the smallest boat in the fleet but the team continued to nail the start line to avoid the bigger yachts. However, in the first race of the day, HM King Harald of Norway's RP78, Whisper took the gun and the win on corrected time by nearly 10 minutes. Kuankun fought back to win the second race and retain the class lead.
HM King Harald of Norway was very complimentary about Antigua Sailing Week, as he spoke dockside after today's racing. "I have not been to Antigua Sailing Week for a few years but I am very pleased with the race management and the conditions have been wonderful, especially as it is very cold in Norway at this time of the year. The racing has been very competitive and I must say that the Whisper crew is sailing extremely well and we are looking forward to racing in windy conditions. Today was a typical day in Antigua - warm, sunny and strong Trade Winds."
In CSA 2, Hector Velarde's Nelson Marek 92, Locura had a fantastic battle on the water with Frers 94, Bristolian. The two biggest yachts at the regatta had a magnificent encounter in both of today's races. "We are really enjoying the racing, especially against Bristolian," smiled Hector, "We have a gentlemen's bet with them for the regatta and racing against a yacht with similar speed makes it all the more exciting. Locura is really a cruising yacht but we came to Antigua Sailing Week last year and had such a good time that we decided to return and we are very happy that we have."
Bristolian's Race Skipper, John Burnie echoes the same sentiment. "Although we have to give Locura a time handicap, the racing on the water is very close. Bristolian is just that bit quicker upwind in good breeze but Locura is faster downwind, so it all makes for a great tussle on the water which both crews are really enjoying. Locura is extremely well sailed and although Bristolian is a Corinthian crew, the improvement over the last three days has been exceptional. Hopefully we can build on that and finish off the week in style."
After five races in CSA 2, three yachts are now on equal points. Locura leads the class but only on countback from Christian Potthoff-Sewing's JV53, Auliana with X-612 Nix in third. Unfortunately Alan Edwards' Swan 65, Spirit had to retire from the last race of the day with a torn mainsail.
There were several notable changes to the leaderboard today. In CSA 4, Philippe Falle's Quokka started the day well winning the first race but was deemed over the line at the start of the second race of the day. Southern Child skippered by Lucy Reynolds had another consistent day, scoring a second and a first to take the class lead. Jeremy Thorp's, Lancelot II moved up to second in class and Quokka slipped two places to third.
In CSA 5, Richard Wesslund's El Ocaso also fouled the start in the last race of the day to lose ground on archrival Phil Lotz's, Arethusa. The young team on the National Sailing Academy's Digicel Challenger had another good day and retained third in class, after five races.
In CSA 6, Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster reveled in the windier conditions. Scoring a second and a first today, Scarlet Oyster is now tied on points with Carlo Falcone's Caccia alla Volpe but Scarlet Oyster is just ahead on countback.
Tonight it's the big party night with the SPLASH party at Nelson's Dockyard starting at 6pm until late. The party's headliner is Tian Winter and his I-conic band and dancers. Also on tap are international DJ's Private Ryan and Woogie. Everyone will be heading to Pigeon Beach tomorrow for Lay Day and the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge. This new invitational event will feature a fleet of RS Elites and will offer high-quality one-design racing for accomplished skippers and their teams. Beach cricket and games on the beach will keep the crowd entertained into the night.
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