Antigua Sailing Week preparations are underway as a full on Atlantic squall this morning heralded the arrival of the forecast big breeze that is due to stay for the entire racing programme.
With racing for Antigua Sailing Week starting on Sunday, 29th April, the Antigua Yacht Club is a hive of activity with crews registering for the 45th Anniversary of the Caribbean's oldest and most prestigious sailing regatta. Yachts have come from far and wide to enjoy the final curtain call of the Caribbean season.
Today's Guadeloupe to Antigua Race took place in strong winds gusting close to 30 knots at times. The traditional feeder race from Guadeloupe has been running for over 40 years. Line Honours went to Hector Verlarde's NM92, Locura completing the 42-mile course in just over three and a half hours. Stephen Schmidt's Santa Cruz 70, Hotel California Too was second home and the Dufour 45, Triskell finished third.
Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster has been racing in the Caribbean all season after crossing the Atlantic in fine style by winning the Racing Division of the ARC. For Antigua Sailing Week, Scarlet Oyster will be racing in CSA 2, which has a number of heavy displacement yachts that will revel in breezy conditions.
'It has been a dream of a season,' smiled Appleby dockside in English Harbour.
'Best British Boat in the Nelson's Pursuit Race and a class win in the RORC Caribbean 600, so Antigua has been a great race venue for us, but to be honest I have really been looking forward to this year's Antigua Sailing Week. Ever since I was a child it is a regatta that I have always wanted to do and although I have been here before, it has never been with my own boat. For the regatta I have guests on board from Guernsey who are all experienced racers and I understand they are also highly likely to make full use of the shoreside entertainment so it looks like it is going to be a fun week!'
Andy Middleton's First 47.7, Global Yacht Racing, which has a Russian crew on board as well as Andy's wife, Claire who has left the kids at home with grandparents to enjoy the last regatta of the Caribbean season had these words: 'The crew is full of enthusiasm,' commented Andy. 'However, out practising today we realise that the language barrier is a bit of an issue, but with a few hand signals sorted out we will be fine. Claire has done a lot of racing including a Round Britain and Ireland and it's looking like a great regatta, I can't wait for the racing to start.'
Antigua Sailing Week website
by Louay Habib
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10:00 PM Fri 27 Apr 2012GMT
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