COUNTDOWN TO ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK
24 Mar, 2011
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 - English Harbour, Antigua - The horns will sound for the start of the 44th Antigua Sailing Week, the Caribbean’s longest-running and most famous regatta, just one month from today. Nelson’s Dockyard and English Harbour are the chosen venue for an influx of well over a thousand competitors, with exactly 100 boats entered to date. Spectacular sailing and great entertainment attract competitors from all over the world to the magical island of Antigua and yachts from over 15 different countries are gathering to take part in the final act of the Caribbean regatta season.
Peter Harrison’s magnificent 115ft ketch, Sojana, is the largest yacht entered to compete at Antigua Sailing Week and the majestic navy blue hull is a familiar sight in Antigua. Sojana set the course record for the Yachting World Round the Island Race in 2009, smoking around the 50-mile course in 4 hours 37 minutes and 43 seconds.
The Yachting World Round the Island Race will this year form part of the Ocean Series of races for boats wishing to do longer offshore courses. Entries for the Ocean Series are still coming in but it is expected that Sojana’s record will surely be under threat with several other boats gearing up to take on the challenge of breaking the existing record!
Adrian Lee’s canting keel Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners, has won her class in the two previous editions of the Ocean Series and is looking for a hat trick of wins this year.
Hugo Stenbeck’s 90-foot canting keel Maxi, Genuine Risk, is a pure race boat, easily capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots and may well lead the Antigua Sailing Week fleet around the course this year. The Regatta has always attracted a large contingent of Swans and this year is no exception. Marco Rodolfi’s stunning 83-foot Swan, Berenice is in fine form having taken line honours in the ARC last December, and should have a great battle with Fred Smithers’ Swan 77, La Forza Del Destino.
Austin Fragoman’s well-travelled TP52, Interlodge, is back and the light displacement flyer will surely be lighting up the race course, especially in big breeze. Richard Matthews’ new Humphreys 54, Oystercatcher XXVIII, makes its Sailing Week debut and should have a battle royal with Interlodge.
It is not just the high performance racers that will enjoy a fantastic event - there are a myriad of battles right through the fleet, none more so than between the local Antiguan boats.
Hugh Bailey’s Benetau 456, Hugo B came out on top of the Performance Cruiser Class overall last year, after a close battle with fellow Antiguan yacht, Biwi Magic, owned by Geoffrey Pidduck. Carlo Falcone’s Caccia alla Volpe is threatening to take on Hugo B head to head in the spinnaker class this year, which should result in a very close battle out on the race course!
Robbie Ferron is back to defend his class win from last year with his Lagoon 410, Katzenellenbogen. However, this year the highly experienced yachtsman from St. Maarten is facing some tough opposition with a large contingent of Gunboats swelling the number of multihulls racing at Antigua Sailing Week.
Official charter partner, OnDeck will have a big presence at the Regatta with 11 yachts competing across a wide variety of classes, including four Farr 65s. The powerful ocean-going yachts will have their own private battle for victory. Ten yachts will also be competing from German-based charter company KH+P, who will be hoping for success again this year after winning last year’s Bareboat Gold Class title. The KH+P all girls team will also return to defend its Bareboat class title won last year and they’re looking for some strong and enthusiastic young women to join the team.
The Regatta Organising Committee has been hard at work to ensure safe, fair and fun racing for all with a new race program that reflects the needs of all participants of Antigua Sailing Week.
Racing starts on Sunday April 24th and concludes on Friday April 29th with the final prize giving to be held in the Event Village in Nelson’s Dockyard. Up to eight races are scheduled over five days with Lay Day breaking up the week on Wednesday.
The sailing grounds around Antigua offer fantastic conditions and competitors will be treated to a mixture of courses designed to thrill. The majority of the racing will take place in the vicinity of Falmouth and English Harbours and will include tight coastal courses with the dramatic vistas and influences of the island playing a big part in tactics. The Yachting World Round the Island Race will be held on Sunday, April 24 for those boats participating in the Ocean Series. On Thursday, several classes will enjoy a change of scenery. After starting off Rendezvous Bay, a variety of courses ranging from 14 to 25 miles will finish off Jolly Harbour with the official fun-filled race-end party happening in Jolly Harbour that night.
Provisional course drawings are now available on the Antigua Sailing Week website here: http://www.sailingweek.com/v3/sailinginstructions.php.
Antigua Sailing Week produces regular newsletters and has an interactive Facebook page with up-to-date information and special promotions.
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Early entry for the 44th Antigua Sailing Week closes on 15th April. Don’t miss your opportunity for guaranteed fun. Enter online now at: http://www.sailingweek.com/.
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