SUPER TUESDAY: CREAM RISING TO TOP AFTER FULL DAY OF ACTION
30 Apr, 2008
Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua (April 29) – The midway point of action in the 41st edition of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week is in the books today after a solid day of racing under continued blue skies, moderate seas and swell, and breezes ranging from 10-16 knots. With three days of racing down and two to go, the final results are far from certain. But the cream is beginning to rise to the top in many of the 17 respective classes competing at Sailing Week, and time is drawing short for mid-fleet boats to make a charge.
The Division A racing fleets have now finished four races in their seven-race series after a pair of windward/leeward contests off Antigua’s southeast shores. Meanwhile, the Division B Performance Cruisers, Dragons, Cruisers and Bareboats have knocked off three races in their five-race series after negotiating a winding 20.5 nautical mile course in the South Coast Race.
On Monday, Frank Savage’s Swan 56, Lolita, was forced to withdraw after colliding with Peter Harrison’s Farr 115, Sojana, an infraction in which the big ketch was disqualified for failing to keep clear of the smaller Swan. As Lolita limped to Falmouth Harbour after the incident, it was unclear whether the boat would be able to continue in the event or withdraw. But Savage’s crew, led by co-helmsman Phil Garland of Hall Spars and ably assisted by local riggers at Antigua Rigging, were able to replace the damaged rod in Lolita’s standing rigging and were on the race course competing today.
And not only did Lolita compete, she registered a second and third and is very much in the hunt for top honors in Racing III, as is Roger Swann’s Marten 48, Yani, which scored a pair of bullets in the day’s two races.
“So much has happened in the last twenty-four hours,” said Savage. “But I’m a very happy man today. Did you see how well my crew sailed today? They always do that. We’ve had a lot of highs and lows and we’ve shown we can come back from those lows. We just wanted to go out and show we could come back and still perform well. And I think we showed that today. I think we’re in good shape and will have a wonderful regatta. We want to win out on the racecourse.”
The same could be said of the sailors in Racing I and Racing II, as well, where standings are tight at the top and it appears nothing will be sorted out until the last race is sailed. In Racing I, where four different boats have won races in as many chances, a single point separates Benny Kelly’s TP52, Panthera (a 3-2 today) and George David’s 90-foot Rambler (2-3). But Mike Slade’s 100-foot ICAP Leopard, which won this morning’s race, and Sam Fleet’s Swan 601, Aquarius, the winner of the afternoon race, are both within striking distance in a class where no quarter is being given in intense competition.
Racing II also remains too close to call, though Stuart Robinson’s Swan 70, Stay Calm, is in the driver’s seat after two straight victories today. Hot on Stay Calm’s heels is another Swan, the 68-foot Chippewa skippered by Clay Deutsch, which is two points in arrears after a pair of second-place finishes today.
The Racing IV and V, and Performance Cruising I classes also had two-for-two, straight set winners today: the Anteros 36, Easy; James Dobbs’s J/122, Lost Horizon; and the S&S 57, Charisma, respectively. All three boats rest atop the provisional leader boards in their respective divisions. The same can be said for Philippe Champion’s J/120, Paulista, after a 1-4 finish today.
The Multihull Racing class is all about the trimarans this year, and there’s a new kid mixing it up with the big offshore racers. By virtue of two wins today, Calle Hennix’s SeaCart 30, True Look, has earned a tie atop the class rankings with Franck-Yves Escoff’s 50-foot Crepes Whaou. The big 60-foot tri, Region Guadaloupe, is a not-so-distant third. The Gunboat cat fleet remains wide open after two different boats found the winner’s circle today: John Kwitek’s 62-footer Lickity Split 2 in the day’s first race and Bruce Robinson’s 48-foot Blast in the second.
Outstanding performances were not just the order of the day in Division A, however. In Division B, the following boats and skippers took top honors in their respective divisions in the day’s lone race: David Cullen’s J/109, Pocket Rocket, in Performance Cruising III; Hugh Bailey’s Beneteau 456, Hugo B, in Performance Cruising IV; Sasha Eskov’s Half Moon in the one-design International Dragon class; Seabiscuit, Pat Nolan’s Oceanis 44, in Cruising I; the 40-foot Crowther-designed catamaran, Egon Plovier’s We Too Are One, in Multihull Cruising; David Abromowitz’s 51-foot Beneteau Cyclades, Lubi, in Bareboat I; Burt Keenan’s 46-foot Beneteau Oceanis, Arcadia’s Southern Comfort, in Bareboat II; Sascha Jaeger’s Dufour 46, KH+P Oiseau, in Bareboat III; and Fredy Geisser’s Dufour 40, KH+P Fantasque, in Bareboat IV.
Tomorrow, the fleet will enjoy a day of R&R during Stanford Antigua Sailing Week’s annual Lay Day, the highlight of which will be the Sundown Party offering spectacular views of the island from Shirley Heights. Racing will then resume on Thursday, with another pair of races scheduled for the Division A racing fleets, and a 21.6 nautical mile course awaiting the Division B competitors in the Jolly Harbour Race.
For complete results, photographs and video, on-the-water features and much more, visit the Stanford Antigua Sailing Week website at www.sailingweek.com.
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