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6 May 2006, 01:16 pm
Victories Claimed At Rolex Antigua Sailing Week
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Rolex Antigua Sailing Week 2006
St. John's, Antigua

'This is beyond belief,' said Roger STURGEON (USA) of his overall win at the 2006 Rolex Antigua Sailing Week, English Harbour, Antigua. Moments after returning to the dock, STURGEON learned that his TP52 Rosebud had corrected on time to finish first in class over Tom HILL'S Titan from Puerto Rico and Numbers, the Farr 60 owned by Dan MEYERS (USA).
The win catapulted Rosebud to overall first in class, first in fleet and a coveted Rolex timepiece. 'There is no way you can plan to do something like this. It's the wind gods, karma, luck, and all the little things that you can't plan on. You never know what will happen with the weather. That's the fun part of sports, of sailing, not knowing what will come your way during a race.'

Light, shifty wind ranged from four knots at the start of both Divisions' Ocean Race to twelve knots and pouring rain toward the middle and end of the race that took the entire fleet from a start/finish point outside Falmouth Harbour. Both classes were challenged by a range of conditions along the south coast of Antigua with Division A completing approximately 20 miles, while those in Division B sailed 19 miles in a similar course configuration.

Rosebud's tactician Adrienne CAHALAN (AUS) explained that today's race course played up to the boat's strengths. 'After Monday's windward/leeward races were cancelled, the team was disappointed,' said CAHALAN, who was the winning navigator in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. 'Compared to today, yesterday was tough. Today was good for us.'

This victory caps off a very successful run for Rosebud, having won many major races and regattas including the 2003 Rolex Big Boat Series, the 2004 Newport-Bermuda Race and March's BVI Spring Regatta. Bittersweet is the knowledge that this is the last time Rosebud will compete as it has been sold and STURGEON'S sights are on another boat and new regattas.

'When we won the Transpac in 2005, the boat had an offer on it, and after winning we didn't have the heart to sell it,' said STURGEON. 'We said we have to do the Caribbean. Last year we were here and missed a mark racing, then missed out on winning. We had to come back here one more time. The people here are so friendly and so happy. We love racing in the Caribbean.'

Victory in the Racing III class today went to High Life, Peter ROGER'S (GBR) Ker 11.3. The win also clinched an overall third place in the Racing Fleet behind Titan 12 in second place. Other class victories include Jamie DOBB'S Lost Horizon II in Racing IV.

In the Racer/Cruiser fleet, there was a battle of the French boats for today's first place. After a close race, M BARTHOLOMEW'S (RSA) Gilly B won the Racer/Cruiser I class with JP DREAU'S (FRA) Grand Soleil 50 Lady First in second. That second place earned Lady First a third overall in fleet, with Clay DEUTSCH'S (USA) Chippewa in second place overall.

At press time, pending protests prevented determining Division B overall class and fleet winners. Today's class winners in the Performance Cruiser Fleet include Carel PAAUWE'S Swan 60, Marie Blue in Performance Cruiser I; Three Harkoms, James HUDLESTON'S Oceanis 445, in Performance Cruiser II; and local sailor Tony MAIDMENT'S (ANT) Beneteau 43, Budget Marine, in the Performance Cruiser III.

In the Cruising Fleet, yesterday's race wins were claimed by Derek WAITER'S London-based Bavaria 49, Spirit of the North in Cruising I and Acadia, the Frers 48 owned by Burt KEENAN (USA), in Cruising II.

Race winners yesterday in the Bareboat Fleet include D. WESTBY'S (GBR) Best Friends, in Bareboat II; KH+P Orient, the Oceanis 473 skippered by Alexander PFEIFFER (GER), in Bareboat III; Jan SODERBERG (SUI) aboard Chess, a Moorings 445, in Bareboat IV; Ronan DELACOU (FRA) on Pearl Island, a Beneteau, in Bareboat V; and Mike STEELE (GBR) the skipper of Sunsail Lady Cades, in Bareboat VI.

Yesterday was the final day of racing for all classes except those in the Bareboats fleet. Today, the top three boats in each of the six bareboat classes will take part in a 'sail off' to determine the Bareboat Championship. Following racing today the prize giving will take place at 1500 (local time) for Division B and 1800 for Division A, followed by the Lord Nelson's Ball.

Dana PAXTON (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Victory for Rosebud:© Daniel FORSTER/Rolex
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