by Louay Habib
With no racing on Lay Day, the vast majority of sailors at Antigua Sailing Week enjoyed a lie-in before gathering at Pigeon Beach for Lay Day activities and to watch the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge.
Winning crew - Peter Holmberg’s Team CSA
The Lay Day fun started at midday with something for everyone to enjoy - food from local vendors, cold Wadadli beers, Veuve Clicquot champagne and Caribbean delicacies by Nonsuch Bay Resort's former Caribbean Chef of the Year, Mitchell Husbands. There was also a competition for spectators to win three nights' bed and breakfast accommodation, along with the big prize of the day for the overall winner of the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge, a week-long stay for two with use of all water sports facilities!
Short, sharp, on-the-water action was provided by eight teams made up of an all-star cast in the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge, a popular Lay Day addition. Racing was played out in full view of spectators on the beach, with commentary provided by Jaime Torres from Puerto Rico who is racing on Balearia/Team Varg, and Louay Habib, Race Reporter. A large crowd gathered on the beach and enjoyed the top-drawer racing unfold in this invitational event that included the following sailors/teams: Peter Holmberg (Team CSA), brother John Holmberg (Team High Tension), Nic Bol (Team Sailing Experiences), Rob Date (Team Scarlet Runner), Philip Barnard (Team Sail Caribbean), Patmore Watson (Team Patrick), Al Ashford (Team Horizon Yacht Charters) and the Team formerly known as John Burnie (Bristolian).
Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge champions: Team CSA - Peter Holmberg, Karl Funk and Kevin Miller
Team CSA prevailed to win the three-race final and a weeks' stay for two at the fabulous Nonsuch Bay Resort, Antigua. The team included America's Cup winner and World Match Racing Champion, Peter Holmberg from the U.S. Virgin Islands!
Speaking of his victory in the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge, Peter Holmberg said: 'This has been a friendly fun day's racing. I picked a really good crew. When you are racing a small boat on a short course, it is a priority to have top guys on the manoeuvres and before the regatta, we spent a bit of time learning how to sail the boat. It was fun to race right off the beach. So much of our racing is done out at sea and to have a fun event with spectators is a brilliant idea. Well done to Nonsuch Bay Resort for supporting the event and to Antigua Sailing Week for organising the racing.'
'The quality of the competition was outstanding,' commented Mark Whinney, Sales and Marketing Director of Nonsuch Bay Resort. 'Hundreds of people have come to watch world class sailors competing on tight courses with the race leader changing on numerous occasions. The beauty of the RS Elites that are based at Nonsuch Bay Resort is that they are relatively easy to sail, but very responsive and an ideal design for match and fleet racing.'
After racing and the prize giving at which the day's winners were awarded trophies and bottles of English Harbour 5 Year Old Rum, Catherine's Café Plage and Antigua Sailing Week staged a VIP Veuve Clicquot champagne cocktail party followed by dinner. Meanwhile, the Sunset beach party went into full swing with music from Island FM and DJs Anya and Tanny. Beach games including a Tug-of-War got the party rocking and the fun continued well into the night.
Racing at Antigua Sailing Week continues today, Thursday, May 1st and glorious racing conditions are expected to prevail for the last two days of the regatta.