ST JOHN’S, Antigua – After two days of big breeze, day three of Antigua Sailing Week (ASW) saw similar conditions for the competitors.
However, the Ocean mark laid for yesterday’s big boats was a new addition. It took over 300 feet of line to lay the mark four miles off the leeward coast of Antigua.
The sizeable yachts in CSA 1 were an awesome sight, smashing through the start line to windward through the Caribbean surf and after coming off the wind at the Ocean mark, the yachts speared off downwind, bow up, accelerating off big waves to surf at speeds of 20 knots plus.
In CSA 1A, Geoff Hill’s Santa Cruz 72, Antipodes, scored its first win of the regatta. Hill has been to Sailing Week many times before, but surprisingly, this is the first visit to the Caribbean’s longest running regatta for the true Australian sailing legend, Syd Fischer.
At 85 years of age, Fischer is probably the oldest competitor at ASW. He shares a record of five America’s Cup challenges and has won just about every classic yacht race going, including the Fastnet and the Sydney Hobart Race, in which he has competed on 40 occasions.
Antipodes beat Peter Harrison’s Sojana in yesterday’s race by less than a minute. However, Sojana has a virtually unassailable lead in the division. Jan Rupert’s Tripp 75, Blackbird, is in third.
In CSA 1B, Stefan Lenhert’s Tripp 56, Passion 4C, had an outstanding protest dismissed last night and came out for today’s race meaning business to take the race by over two minutes on corrected time from Peruvian NM92, Locura, skippered by Hector Velarde.
The result means that Passion 4C now leads the division. However, the win for Passion 4C was not as straight forward as it might seem.
Approaching the bottom mark for the first time, Passion 4C’s genoa halyard parted company from the sail, sending it into the water. The crew quickly gathered the sail whilst still flying their spinnaker and perfected a last minute manoeuvre to avoid losing any time. Slick crew work definitely won Passion 4C’s race yesterday.
Locura is second overall but Richards Matthews’ Oyster 82, Zig Zag, could only manage a third yesterday, knocking it off the podium position.
In CSA 4, American Calvin Reed’s First 40.7, Elandra, steered by John Linton kept up its winning ways by taking the fourth race of the series by two minutes after time correction.
Sir Hugh Bailey’s First 456, Hugo B, could only manage a fourth place yesterday, but the local yacht is still second overall.
In CSA 5, Stephen Carson’s Dehler 34, Hightide, put in an impressive performance, winning both races to put pressure on class leader Geoffrey Pidduck’s Six Meter, Biwi Magic.
Meantime, today is Lay Day and activities commence on Pigeon Beach at 2:30 pm.