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Tuesday 5th April 2011

Photo © Ingrid Abery.

Genuine Risk, the Ed Dubois designed 90-foot maxi with swing keel, arrived in the Caribbean in mid-February following its winning performance in the Pineapple Cup race from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Celebrating its 50th anniversary, this 811-mile race saw Rambler 100 take line honours in just under 3 days and 2 hours while Genuine Risk, finishing close behind, collected the trophy for best IRC monohull yacht on corrected time.  Genuine Risk normally excels in light air and this was no exception as Rambler 100 fell into a hole while Genuine Risk maintained her momentum to bring her to the finish line close behind Rambler 100 to pick up the trophy.

Hugo Stenbeck and the US Merchant Marine Academy’s eye-catching 90-footer are well into their planned 2011 Caribbean Racing Circuit.  Sponsored by men’s clothing designer/label, Simon Spur, the team headed to Antigua after completion of the Pineapple Cup to compete in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race.  All went according to plan and the team now holds a unique record for this race – the shortest amount of time spent on the race course.

Conditions were perfect but shortly before crossing the start line of the RORC Caribbean 600, the gooseneck fitting broke and the Genuine Risk team determined that the damage was serious enough that it would have to retire from the event, before even starting.  Some damage was also done to the mast and repairs took several days to complete.  This was a huge disappointment to the crew who had been flown in to Antigua specifically for the event but they accepted it in good spirits as being an unfortunate part of yacht racing.

Repairs began immediately in preparation for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta at the beginning of March and everything went accordingly to plan with Genuine Risk once again being in excellent shape and ready for whatever St. Maarten had to throw at her.  The event was haunted by variable wind conditions and the wind all but disappearing on Sunday, the final day of the event.  On Friday, however, Genuine Risk screamed around the course in the Round the Island Race to be named the fastest monohull in the spinnaker classes.

While the boat normally excels in light air, overall results were a little disappointing because the swing keel design is a little older than that of her competition making it difficult for her to sail up to her rating when racing around the cans.  The Genuine Risk team was a little disappointed with only a 4th place finish in the CSA 1R class, but the several young Swedes on the crew list had the time of their lives while enjoying an unusual opportunity to sail on a maxi yacht in one of the Caribbean’s most exciting regattas.

Immediately following the Heineken Regatta, Genuine Risk was seen back on the dock at Falmouth Harbour Marina in Antigua where she has made her Caribbean base, including storage of her container full of equipment.  The team loves the Antiguan atmosphere and the warm welcome it always receives upon arrival.  Guy Barron, crew chief on the boat, expressed his satisfaction with Antigua’s yachting community.  “We love Antigua – everything seems a little easier here.  The vast array of marine services available is excellent and it’s easy to get things done.  We are very pleased with our decision to make Antigua our Caribbean base for the winter season.”

Next on the agenda was the St. Thomas International Rolex Regatta from March 25 to 27.  Although Genuine Risk experienced plenty of excitement and challenging racing in St. Thomas, her 4th place results were again a little disappointing.  Yet once again the crew performed exceptionally well and had a wonderful experience, resigned to the fact that the boat’s IRC rating would continue to be a challenge on short courses and around the cans racing.

Genuine Risk again headed straight back to Antigua to prepare for the next event in her Caribbean circuit, the 2nd annual Les Voiles de Saint Barth Regatta, to be held during the first week of April.  I was fortunate to catch up with crew chief Guy Barron, just before he headed into Cloggy’s Restaurant at Antigua Yacht Club to join the crew for a lunch of steak sandwiches before they all headed down to St. Barths and Genuine Risk’s third big Caribbean Regatta.

The final event on Genuine Risk’s Caribbean racing calendar for 2011 is Antigua Sailing Week to be held from the 24th to the 29th of April.  Plans for that Regatta may include the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race in which Genuine Risk could challenge the existing record set by Mari Cha IV in 2004 of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 42 seconds.  While the team loves the close racing provided by most Caribbean regattas, the boat excels in open ocean racing and this race could be a perfect opportunity for Genuine Risk to once again show the exceptional speeds she is capable of.

And finally, Antigua Sailing Week itself.  Although the regatta will include an Ocean Series of races for boats that prefer longer, offshore racing, Genuine Risk has signed on for the shorter courses off the south coast where she will take on a fleet of similar-sized boats.  The results of the final two regattas on Genuine Risk’s 2011 Caribbean calendar will be available in future issues of the Yachting Insider.

So what comes after the Caribbean racing circuit for Hugo Stenbeck and the Genuine Risk team?  Plans are still up in the air but could include a trip to the Mediterranean or a return to the east coast of the United States.  Wherever the team heads next, it has been a real pleasure seeing Genuine Risk on the dock in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua throughout the current yachting season and tromping around the various race courses throughout the region.

Congratulations to Hugo Stenbeck and the entire Genuine Risk team on an exciting and successful racing season and thank you for providing us with the opportunity to experience all the excitement the 90-foot canting keel racing yacht threw at us throughout the season!

Article by Kathy Lammers.

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