Repeat Business at Antigua Sailing Week
Like many international sailing events, this springs Antigua Sailing Week found itself having to cope with the eruption of Icelands Eyjafjallajkull volcano, the bareboat fleet in particular taking a serious hit.
The Icelandic volcano probably lost us 15 to 20 boats, said regatta director Neil Forrester. Flights out of Europe were closed just at a time when a lot of charter guests were coming over to pick up boats from other islands to bring them up.
In all, 106 boats took part in 12 different classes, down substantially from years past when the regatta hosted more than 200 competitors. Blame the volcano, blame the economy, blame whatever you like, just dont say the regatta has lost its sparkbecause it most certainly hasnt.
Check out any of the myriad of partiesparticularly the blowout gala atop Shirley Heights on the events penultimate eveningand youll see keen amateurs intermingling with pros and locals. Couple this with one of the Caribbeans most dramatic coastlines, postcard conditions and friends from yesteryear, and youll understand why so many sailors return again and again.
While conditions at this years regatta proved lightwith average winds around 10 knots and hotter-than-average tempsthe competition was as advertised, but with an increased emphasis on tactics and strategy rather than boathandling.
In the grand prix classes, all eyes were on the closely fought duel between the Judel-Vrolijk 72 RAN and the Reichel-Pugh 75 Titan XV, a tussle that was ultimately decided in RANs favor by a four-point margin.
In the bareboat fleet, Herbert Muenzels Dufour 455 Sea you later won first overall in the Gold Fleet, despite having one of the, er, most experienced crews in the regatta. According to Meunzel, the average age of his crew, which hails from northern Germany, was about 70, giving them a whopping 350 years combined experience afloat. Wed like to tell all those young people, there is still hope, Muenzel said afterward. We feel extremely happy to have won this incredible title.