St. John’s Antigua- With over 20 knots of warm trade winds forecast for this Saturday’s Yachting World Round Antigua Race, a blast around the windward side of the stunning tropical island is a virtual certainty.
Forty-three yachts will tackle the 55-nautical mile course and crews from over 20 different nations are set for a Caribbean thrill of a lifetime.
Peter Aschenbrenner’s 63-foot trimaran, Paradox, completed the circumnavigation in less than four hours back in January. Since then the ballistic multihull has been ripping it up at several Caribbean sailing events and the crew and yacht are fully tuned up for the race.
Paradox will have America’s Cup and round the world legend Cam Lewis on board for Antigua Sailing Week and the yacht is odds-on to take line honours in the Yachting World Round Antigua Race.
“Given the current forecast, I think that Paradox is capable of going around Antigua in three hours. It is achievable but heavily dependent on sea state,” commented Cam Lewis.
“The reach around the windward side will be a blast. Paradox just loves trade wind conditions and should be able to really get up and go. Most of the course is off the wind but the last few miles should be upwind, which will also be a factor in the elapsed time.”
Peter Harrison’s Farr 115, Sojana, will be hoping to secure line honours for the monohulls and also has the potential to set a new record.
Sojana completed the race in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 43 seconds in 2009 at an average speed of just over 12 knots. Since then Sojana has been modified with a retractable bowsprit flying an enormous 800 square metre spinnaker with 25 per cent more sail area than before.
“Given the current weather forecast, Sojana is capable of surfing at up to 20 knots on the windward side of Antigua – that’s a lot of inertia for a yacht of well over 100 tons,” explained Skipper Marc Fitzgerald.
“On board we have an international crew from Denmark, Antigua, France, Great Britain and New Zealand including: Poul Hoj-Jensen, Karl James, Mo Gray, Luc Poupon, Jonny Malbon, Ian Budgen and Fraser Campbell. Our primary goal is to take line honours but given the forecast we could well break our own record for the course.”
Sojana may well be in the reckoning for the overall win on corrected time, however several other yachts may also be in the running including: German skipper Stefan Lehnert helming his Tripp 53, Passion 4C and American Jan Rupert, skipper of Tripp 75, Blackbird.
The first warning signal to start the Yachting World Round Antigua Race will fire at 0800 local time on Saturday, April 28.
For full information about the race and Antigua Sailing Week visit: www.sailingweek.com.