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28 April 2004, 10:09 am
Fleet Pounds Its Way Back South
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© Alistair Abrehart

Antigua Sailing Week
Nelson's Dockyard

After a day of 25-knot winds and pounding seas you'd expect the crew of the 200-boat fleet to settle back, sink a cool one and relax. Not so, another 22 protests were filed yesterday afternoon but while the jury sat, Nelson's Dockyard started to hop.
Strong winds were forecast for the day but luckily the rains, accompanied by 30-knot plus squalls did not materialize. The 25-mile course brought the fleet back to the south of the island for the last two days of racing on Thursday and Friday and the ubiquitous layday today on Pigeon Beach.

Yesterday wasn't Mari Cha IV's day, with Hasso PLATTNER'S Morning Glory finishing only six seconds behind her; the rest of the class followed quickly behind and she was relegated to sixth in class on corrected time. But there was little fast reaching opportunity for the ocean crossing greyhound, with a long fetch for most of the race and a beat to the finish; she lost her mizzen halyard minutes from the finish.

If Mari Cha had a bad day, Pyewacket had a worse one. Leading with a nice margin towards the finish, she missed the final buoy leading to the finish line while Morning Glory didn't. Morning Glory leads Big Boat I with four points.

Aspiration won Big Boat II yesterday and Aera racked up another win in Racing III. Last year's class and overall winner Lolita is tied for second in class with Transpac 52 Rosebud and is fifth in fleet.

Probably one of the most competitive classes top to bottom is Racing IV and Trinidad boat Guardian Star is on top of the pile after a win yesterday. Carlo FALCONE'S Caccia Alla Volpe is second and Legacy, another Trinidad boat, is third. Guardian Star (ex-Hoooligan ) is a modified Beneteau First Class 10 predominantly sailed by crew from the old Henderson 35 Crash Test Dummies.

Mabuhay II continues to lead Racer/Cruiser I, Jagga has knocked Pipe Dream from the perch in Racer/Cruiser II while Gefion continues to lead Performance Cruiser I.

In the battle of Caribbean marinas in Performance Cruiser II, Bobby VELASQUEZ of Bobby's Marina in St Maarten has knocked Hugh BAILEY of Antigua's Catamaran Marina and his HuGo crew from first place. Pavlova II still leads in Performance Cruiser III.

Farr 56 Farrfly topped Cruising I again today where there was a little upset for Oyster Catcher XXIV. In a port/starboard incident in which both boats were struggling with equipment, a bareboat rammed Oyster Catcher's starboard quarter. While in the scheme of things Oyster Catcher's damage was a flesh wound even though the other boat had mounted her, the bareboat suffered quite heavy damage to the bow; she sailed on for another half an hour until the chain plate gave way and the rig came down.

Island Flyer, Rosco, DSD Carnival and Durley Dene continue to stamp their marks on Bareboat I, II, III and VI respectively while Woodsia and Vague L'Ame earned their first first places in Bareboat IV and V. DSD Carnival leads the fleet tonight.

Today is a layday and beach fun and frolics at Pigeon Beach.

Thursday, the yachts are back on the ocean with Division A racing windward/leeward courses and Division B sailing the South Coast Race. Friday marks the last official day of racing with the Ocean Race. Saturday, the prize giving is preceded with the Second Annual Bareboat Challenge Championship Race.

The Lord Nelson's Ball and prize giving wraps the event on Saturday evening. Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Alistair Abrehart (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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