BIG BREEZE ON THE BUTTERFLYTuesday 22nd April 2014
By Louay Habib
Saturday 19th April
Day Two of the 27th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai, will be remembered for exciting conditions on the Butterfly Course, which produced a variety of wind angles and manoeuvres for the stunning Classic fleet. With the breeze at over 25 knots and a significant sea state, the Classic sailors came ashore soaking wet, covered in salt and wide-eyed from the thrill of it all.
The Trade Winds were at full force today and after two days of big breeze the sea state, especially around Shirley Heights was impressive. Big rollers rumbled in from the Atlantic rearing up to cause steep waves. The heavy weather showed the Classic Yachts in their element. There is no more impressive a sight, to sailing enthusiasts, than beautifully maintained elegant yachts crashing through Caribbean surf.
Carlo Falcone’s Alfred Mylne designed ketch, Mariella was in fine form today, winning the Vintage Racing Class overall by a handsome margin.
“We started a little conservatively because we didn’t want to break anything and I knew that once we started to go upwind we would do well against the opposition. We went for power today, in big waves and high winds, it is important to keep the boat going fast. Coming off the wind and keeping up speed is key with displacement boats in big wind, because if you pinch and stop the boat, it takes a long time to get going again. The crew work today was excellent, especially the communication between the helm and the trimmers. If I can keep the rudder straight it is very fast, the trimmers bring the boat up and down through the waves and gusts and that is the secret.”
Adventuress In Classic Class B, the magnificent 1925 Herreshoff, Mary Rose took the second bullet of the regatta but it could have been very different. The 1923 Fife, Adventuress was disqualified due to an infringement in the pre-start. Adventuress went on to post the best corrected time by over 5 minutes before learning of the disqualification.
“I am gutted.” admitted Adventuress skipper, Seth. “The crew worked so hard today. Some of them have only be sailing for about a year. The boss wants Adventuress to bring on enthusiastic sailors and the crew gave 100% today. I am not saying we sailed perfectly and I made the big mistake in the pre-start but when I think how they have improved since we put the crew together, it really is something that we can all be proud of. We will be back out there tomorrow and trying just as hard.”
The closest racing today was in Classic Class D, the winner was Holly Mae, inspired by the West country work boats of around 100 years ago. Cornishman Joff Rorke designed, built and sailed the 34′ Holly Mae across the Atlantic to compete at Classics’. At 34′ Holly Mae was one of the smallest yacht out today in feisty conditions but corrected out to beat Dave Buller’s Harley 40, Old Bob by just over a minute.
In Classics Racing, the 1960 Van de Stadt Ketch, Stormvogel, skippered by Ian Hulleman was the winner today with Ralph Isham’s Bruce King Ketch, Whitehawk in second place.
“Whitehawk were beating us going into the last leg but I guess they must have had a problem as they were not carrying full sail and it gave us the chance to catch them. That was really full on today, great sailing and I would give the Stormvogel crew 9 out of 10 today. We are now half way through the regatta and tomorrow’s course will probably suit Whitehawk more than us but we are in the hunt and flying. A great race today and very exciting for everyone out there, we saw 25 knots of breeze and some big waves and we absolutely loved it!”
In the Spirit of Tradition Class, the magnificent J/Class Rainbow was an incredible sight today, smashing through the Caribbean surf, with water cascading down the decks. Rainbow took Line Honours corrected out to win class by over three minutes on corrected time. In the Spirit Class, Stuart Simpson’s Sean McMillan 76, Nazgul of Fordell was the winner today and now tied on points after two races with Michael Hough’s Chloe Racing Spirit.
Tonight, the Antigua Classics party continues this evening with the Single Handed Race Trophy Presentation of the Carib Bean Coffee Cup, the EFG Bank Owners Party, the legendary “open-mic” talent night on stage and Nichole Raab’s fan fire dance and acrobatic show at the Antigua Yacht Club lawn. Racing continues at Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta tomorrow.
For more information: www.antiguaclassics.com
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