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1 May 2006, 11:48 am
Round The Island Race Kicks Off Racing
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Rolex Antigua Sailing Week 2006
St. John's, Antigua

Early yesterday morning, hundreds of spectators gathered at Shirley Heights, the legendary mountaintop lookout over English Harbour, to witness the start of the 39th annual Rolex Antigua Sailing Week.
Two divisions - one for racing and one for cruising - set off toward Dickenson Bay, with the faster boats racing around the island some 35.4 miles to the east and the cruisers going west on a 21.3 mile course. Defending overall champion Titan 12, Tom and Dottie HILL's 75 foot maxi racer from Puerto Rico, took line honours overall but did not have enough lead time to secure first in class. Rosebud, Roger STURGEON's (USA) TP52 from Fort Lauderdale, holds that honour in Racing Big Boat 1 class.

'Today was really tricky,' said Adrienne CAHALAN (AUS), long time crewmember on Rosebud. 'We went out yesterday and practiced the course. We did okay today at the start, but Titan was ahead of us to the first mark. Everyone did a great job and we caught up in the second half of the race. Because it was light and shifty, we had a lot of sail choices, so we wound up changing sails a lot. We stayed pro-active all day and it helped us when the big rain clouds showed up. Kevin [MILLER (USA)], our tactician did a great job picking clouds during a rain squall and kept us going.'

In Racing III class, Milan, Italy's Danilo SALSI, skipper of the Swan 45 DSK-Comifin, leads by a tight margin over second place High Life, the Ker 11.3 owned by Peter ROGERS (GBR). SALSI recently won his class at the International Rolex Regatta held in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Not being in top place is okay for Frank SAVAGE of New York, USA, who had a great day, despite it not being ideal Swan conditions. 'On a day we should have been last, we did alright,' said the two-time Antigua Sailing Week champion. 'We missed being here last year, even though our boat won as a charter [under the name Hissar]. So this year, we came back serious and we love our boat. I can't tell you how much fun I'm having and it's only the first day.'

Locals Going Well

Locals faired well in all classes especially Jamie HOBBS who sailed his Olson 30 Lost Horizon II to a lead in Racing IV class. 'It was so choppy and sloppy at the start,' he said. 'We didn't start that well, but it turned out well.' Sailing onboard Lost Horizon II is 15 year old Rian BAREUTHER, who has been a crewmember since he was six. 'My mother [sailing journalist Carol BAREUTHER] got me onboard the first time, when I was six and I've been sailing with them every since. You can learn everything about sailing from Jamie. He's amazing.' Chippewa 39, the Farr 395 owned by Dave WEST of the USA is in second place, followed by Enzyme, Paul SOLOMON's Henderson 35 from Trinidad.

The two largest classes of the regatta can be found among the Performance Cruisers. Three Harkoms, James HUDDLESTON's (IVB) Oceanis 445 leads the 17 boat Performance Cruiser II class, while Tony MAIDMENT's (ANT) Dehler 34 Budget Marine is leading Performance Cruiser III.

The fleet, representing 30 countries among the 16 classes, will overnight in Dickenson Bay to enjoy the annual beach bash where over 1,500 sailors will mix with a crowd 10,000 locals and visitors. Today, the fleet begins its second race from the Bay toward Jolly Harbour on the west side of the island.

Racing continues through to Friday 5 May for all classes except the Bareboats, which have an additional race on Saturday. The week's activities culminate at the trophy ceremonies and the famed Lord Nelson's Ball on Saturday 6 May.

Dana PAXTON (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The fleet gets away on day one:© Daniel FORSTER/Rolex
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