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Antigua Sailing Week 2024 - Sensational racing for 13 classes

by Louay Habib 25 Apr 03:15 PDT 27 April - 3 May 2024
Antigua Sailing Week 2024 © Paul Wyeth

Antigua Sailing Week is back for the 55th edition with 13 racing classes filled to the brim with sailors from all over the world. Teams from over 20 different nations are set for the Caribbean's famous regatta.

Antigua Sailing Week will deliver sensational racing and amazing parties in one of sailing's most beautiful settings.

From Thursday April 25, racing action starts with the Antigua Wingfoil Championship. On Saturday April 27, the start gun will fire for the stand-alone Peters & May Round Antigua Race. From Sunday April 28, Antigua Sailing Week has five days of racing plus a midway Lay Day on Wednesday May 1. On Friday May 3, the Final Prize Giving Party follows the last day of racing.

First held in 1968, Antigua Sailing Week set the bar for yacht racing in the Caribbean and it continues to evolve. The 2024 edition features new racing classes, competing to win the Caribbean racing scenes most illustrious trophies.

Entry lists here

CSA Racing 1

The high performance big boat class features boats from 45-65ft. Volvo 65 Sisi (AUT) is the most potent but will need big breeze and high seas to win on CSA corrected time. Adrian Lee's Swan 60 Lee Overlay and Partners II (GBR) and Woody Cullen's Swan 58 Wavewalker (USA) are sure to have quite a contest with Gary Green's XP50 DNR (USA). The minnow in CSA is owned by one of Antigua Sailing Week's legends. Sir Hugh Bailey has competed in over 50 editions, including winning the Lord Nelson Trophy in 2016. He is back with his Farr 45 Rebel (ANT).

This will be the 13th Antigua Sailing Week for Adrian Lee racing his Swan 60 with his family and an international crew. "We keep coming back for the great and prestigious sailing," says Adrian. "The highlight for us is the Round Antigua Race and we have set the goal of winning our class."

Bareboat Classes

Sunsail Yacht Charters is the official bareboat partner of Antigua Sailing Week. At least 22 teams will be racing in three Bareboat Classes. Crews come from all over the world, including many German teams via KH+P, which has been organising Bareboat Charter packages for 30 years.

Racing in Bareboat 2 will be Bill Lehnert's team from Old Cove Yacht Club, New York, USA. The team won the Antigua & Barbuda Hamptons Challenge and an all-expenses paid trip for six to Antigua Sailing Week. The crew for the regatta is made up of two families that sail competitively in USA. "We are looking forward to being competitive in the charter boat fleet while enjoying all Antigua has to offer," says Bill Lehnert. "We are a multi-generational family team consisting of brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and some great friends for good measure! We've been sailing together for over 20 years and the younger crew are in high school and friends since they were born."

CSA 2

Ranging in size from 37-40ft, teams from five different nations will be duking it out in a highly competitive match-up. Three J/Boats will be equally matched, including two J/121s, Donald Nicholson's Apollo (USA) and Peter Lewis' Whistler (BAR).

Tony and Sally Mack have chartered J/122 McFly on El Ocaso (GBR). The boat is the holder of the Lord Nelson Trophy and the McFly team are reigning J/122 UK National Champions. Ed Bell's JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR) and Jim Voss' RP37 Warthog (ANT) will renew their rivalry started in this year's RORC Nelson Cup Series. Proven winners in the class are Sir Richard Matthews' ST370 Holding Pattern (GBR) and Jean Michel Figueres' Farr 40 Punch Croisieres (FRA).

Don Nicholson's J/121 Apollo comes from Newport Rhode Island and notably won the Gibb's Lighthouse Class for the Newport Bermuda Race. The team hails from the East Coast of both Canada and the United States and some have raced together for over 20 years. This will be the first time at Antigua Sailing Week for Apollo and for most of her crew.

"The crew that have been before loved the regatta and were influential on the program adding it as the last stop on our Caribbean circuit" says Don, adding "There is something very special about racing for the first time at a regatta destination. It's the challenge of figuring out how to be fast and tactical in a new location and the novelty of the events. It's like traveling to a new destination for the first time, but with the added fun of participating in a superb regatta in a fast boat."

CSA 3

Ranging in size from 43-50ft, teams from six different nations will be racing displacement performance cruisers. The diverse range of boats includes a trio equally matched for speed. 2023 class champion, Chris Wood's Swan 48 Assuage (GBR) will have boat on boat action with Don Terwilliger's First 47.7 Dauntless (SXM) and Robert Mechem's Grand Soleil 50 Sidney II (GBR).

Four smaller boats in the class are Michel Ngo J/133 Credit Mutuel (FRA), Katy Campbell's Salona 45 Panacea X (CAN), David Crum's Frers IOR 46 Quintessence III (USA) and the Elan 450 Emily of Cowes (GBR) chartered by the London School of Sailing.

CSA 4

Carlo Falcone's classic IOR sloop Caccia Alla Volpe (ITA) is the largest boat in CSA 4 at 44ft. All other boats registered in the class are 40ft, including three Beneteau First 40.7s. Patrick Holloran's Caipirinha is the local boat from Jolly Harbour, and Bob Jackson's Ortac both come from the UK. Strada Geothermal, skippered by Mark Zamaria, is from France. Jim Ryan's J/120 J-Aguar, winner of CSA 4 last year, is from the USA and Andre Beese's A40 Sete Mares is from Canada.

Lyssandra Barbieri's Dufour 40 Hatha Maris is another local boat from Jolly Harbour which is gearing up once again with an all-female racing crew. "Women At The Helm is open to all women eager to gain sailing and racing experience," commented Lyssandra. "We have pre-race training with an expert to guide us through positions and manoeuvres. It's all about having a fantastic time with like-minded women on Hatha Maris."

CSA 5

Ranging in size from 35-38ft and capable of racing offshore as well as inshore, CSA 5's biggest boat is Donald MacDonald's Salona 38 Bonkers (GBR), which was sailed two-handed from the UK to the Caribbean at the start of the season. The class features boats and crew that have come thousands of miles to Antigua. Alan Paris' J/99 Learning to Fly is from New Zealand and Nathalie Criou's Figaro 2 Envolee is from San Francisco, USA. Local Caribbean boats include Patrick Bernier's Dehler 30 Flying Nemo from St. Barths, Sacha Daunar's FC10 Pepsi Zero - Montebello from Guadeloupe and Jean-François Terrien's J/109 Sang Neuf from Martinique.

This is the first time in the Caribbean for Andreas Bock's KK28 Karin who will be taking on the Caribbean collective. "Four crazy Norwegians crossed the Atlantic to take part," explains Andreas who project-managed the design and build of Karin. "The crew will be welcoming a youth onboard from the ASW Youth to Keel Programme. We are a corinthian team on a very personal boat!" says Andreas.

CSA 6

The pocket rockets of Antigua Sailing Week are grouped together with 24-26ft flying machines ready to surf and sail. Two Antiguan boats will be rising to the encounter. The National Sailing Academy 1720 Challenger, skippered by Tajanica Thomas and the Melges 24 Whiplash, skippered by Ashley Rhodes from the Antigua Yacht Club will go head-to-head with Parish & Ferron's Melges 24 Team Budget Marine from St. Maarten.

Jolyon Ferron has been racing at the regatta since he was 14 years old. "Coming from the island of St Maarten we enjoy the opportunity to sail against our neighbours and friends. We know they are good but we think we may be able to beat them!"

Two Surprise 25s will be in action including CSA Class winner for 2023 Tristan Marmousez's GFA Caraïbes - La Morrigane. Nicolas Gillet's Clippers Ship Doub 6 will also be racing, both boats are from Martinique.

CSA Club Classes

Club Class has been specially created for sailors who want to participate in the on-the-water action but who may not take their racing as seriously as others. The class will score using the Variable Simplified CSA Handicap. This results in tighter racing as the week progresses with more opportunities for all teams to experience the thrill of a podium position.

The Club Class will have an interesting mix of boats this year as big performance cruising boats face off against some well know classics of every size. The largest boat at Antigua Sailing Week, George Curtoys' CNB 76 Spark 3 from France will face boat-for-boat from competition from two S&S Swan 65s, Matthias Maus' German Alpha Centauri and Juerg Schneider's Saida from Switzerland. Another Swan will be in the mix; Sebastian Gylling's Frers Swan 51 Eira is from Finland.

The smaller boats in this fleet are diverse. Watch out for the Brit sailors racing boats ranging in size from Scot Ian Galbraith's Oyster 523 Jigsaw to Jon Constantine's Feeling 39 Imagine of Falmouth. Three other modern cruisers are Jeremy Sell's Grand Soleil 46 Mandalay, Chloe Need's Salona 44 Moonflower 3 and Germaine Williams' Harmony 52 Sao Jorge.

As part of Sail Racing Academy, Sao Jorge crew are all from the Civil Service Yacht Club in the UK, the thrills and spills of the event will be a new experience. "On a wet and windy race in the Solent two of our crew dreamed of something different and it has snowballed from there," says foredeck crew Georgina Forson. "We are looking forward to challenging ourselves against different crews and in different waters."

During the event the crew of Sao Jorge, a Harmony 52, are proud to be raising funds for Antigua National Sailing Academy, Sailability and the Schools Swimming programmes.

CSA Legacy

New for the 55th edition of Antigua Sailing Week is the Legacy Class. Packed to the gunwales with well-known characters, the Legacy Class features boats from 30-35 feet. For its debut the Class is all Antiguan but not by intention!

The smallest and most definitely youngest team will be racing the J/30 Absolute Properties Blue Peter, co-skippered by teenage brothers Carrack & Tyden Jones. These young guns are Antigua's future legacy skippers and will be up against teams with decades of experience; Sand Mair's First 35 Cricket, Geoffrey Pidduck's Dehler 34 Hightide, and Bernie Evan-Wong's Cal 40 Huey Too. The Legacy Class also features another Dehler 34, Tim Richards' Pims, as well as Colin Vinall's O'Dea 35 Seal. All of the boats are from the Antigua Yacht Club or Jolly Harbour Yacht Club.

One Design Racing

Racing in Falmouth Harbour and in the vicinity will be RS Elites and Dragons with up to 15 races organised over five days, the one-design racing will be an impressive site for race fans along the shores of Falmouth Harbour.

The RS Elite teams include Justin Scott's Mambo Kings from Noroton Yacht Club, Connecticut USA, Robbie Ferron's Team Budget Marine Oozlumbird from St. Maarten and Lesley Martin from Antigua racing Donna.

Dragons competing include Beth Fleisher's astonishingly named 'Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill' from New York USA. Two teams are from the Medway Yacht Club Rochester UK, skippered by Simon Strauss and Neave O'Clery. Antiguan resident and Class President of the International Dragon Association, Poul Høj Jensen will be the Dragon skipper to beat. Poul is a double Olympic Gold Medallist and has won the Dragon World Championships two times plus the Dragon Gold Cup five times!

For more information about Antigua Sailing Week including racing, watching the action and the fun-packed shoreside entertainment, visit the official website: www.sailingweek.com

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