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Saturday 19th November 2011

Gypsy and Fiesta approaching the start line.

Jolly Harbour Yacht Club held its Annual Regatta on the weekend of November 12 and 13, 2011.  The weather was spectacular all weekend long with plenty of wind and no lack of sunshine.  A total of 14 boats lined up for two separate starts for the first race at 10 am on Saturday.  The first class to start was the Cruising Class with 8 boats, followed five minutes later by the Racing/Cruising Class with 6 boats.

The first race started outside Jolly Harbour with a short upwind leg from the start line to the Jolly mark, followed by a downwind leg to round Five Islands with the remainder of the race taking place in Five Islands Harbour.  Soon after the final boat finished the first race, the gun was heard signalling the five-minute warning for the start of the second race, the course for which was upwind and downwind in Five Islands Harbour.  The third and final race of the day started in Five Islands Harbour and finished between the Committee Boat and the Jolly mark outside Jolly Harbour.

Competition was close in all races, although in the cruising class Tommy Paterson on his rocket ship, Gypsy, was almost impossible to catch.  The only spinnaker seen throughout the day was flown by Antigua’s youth team on the Digicel Challenger boat, generously sponsored by Digicel to provide the youth team with the opportunity to train for local as well as international regattas.  It seems that only the youngsters in the fleet were up to the challenge of flying a spinnaker in the very windy conditions that Mother Nature had provided for the event.

Following Saturday’s third race, the fleet returned to Jolly Harbour for post-race celebrations (and commiserations) and the weary sailors gathered at West Point Bar in the centre of Jolly Harbour for the day’s results and party.  The drinks were flowing and delicious food was brought in from Peter’s Restaurant for the hungry sailors.

At the end of the first day’s three races, Blue Peter had a promising lead in the Racing/Cruising Class with only 4 points but Augustine was not far behind with 6 points.  The Cruising Class was a little closer with Gypsy leading with 5 points and Seal hot on Gypsy’s heels with only 6 points, followed closely by Cydia with 7 points.  Not much went right for Brian Turton on Miramar on Saturday, completing only the first race and retiring for the weekend during the third race.  The all-ladies team on Danae, helmed by Pippa, improved as the day went on, recording a fourth-place finish in the day’s final race.

The all-ladies team sailing downwind on Danae.

On Sunday morning the fleet had been reduced by two boats – Miramar didn’t return to improve on Saturday’s results and Deputy was nowhere to be seen.  The courses for the second day of racing were identical to the first day’s courses and the wind, at least during the first two races, was pretty much the same strength as it had been the previous day.  Blue Peter continued to excel, matching the two first- and one second-place finishes of the previous day.  Augustine didn’t do as well in the last two races of the regatta but managed to hold onto second place in the Racing Class.  Huey Too finished in third place, only three points behind.

The cruising class remained very close with only two points separating both first- and second-place and second- and third-place.  Gypsy hung on to finish first, followed closely by Vince White in Seal with Cydia only two points behind in third place.  In uncharacteristic style, Hans Lammers finished in only sixth place in David Milner’s Fiesta, although for the sixth and final race of the weekend the wind had died slightly so he changed up to the large headsail and managed to win for the first time that weekend.  However, during the second race of the day the Pelican mark had gone adrift so it was reset with a longer line prior to the start of the third race.  Unfortunately, it went adrift again during the third race, and this time was well on its way to Nevis when Seal decided to chase after and round it while the remainder of the fleet rounded the white Pelican mark used on Saturday afternoons.  As a result, the final race of the day was thrown out for the Cruising fleet and Hans’ success was very short-lived.

There were a few scary moments on the race course for some.  Danae couldn’t lay the pin end of the start line in one race and found herself on port tack in the middle of the fleet which was already on its way to the first mark.  Elethea and Huey Too got a little too close at a mark rounding and made contact, although without any serious damage being done.  Elethea graciously retired from the race and Huey Too went on to a second-place finish, its best of the regatta.

All in all it was a great weekend under beautiful sunny skies with only the slightest sprinkling of rain and fun was had by all.  For full results, see here:

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