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3 May 2006, 08:46 am
Halfway Mark Reached
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Rolex Antigua Sailing Week 2006
St. John's, Antigua

Rolex Antigua Sailing Week reached its halfway mark yesterday with the completion of race three for the 194 boats gathered in the Caribbean. Despite Monday's cancelled race for Division A, spirits were high in anticipation of the race sending the fleet back to Falmouth Harbour, with Tom HILL's (PUR) Titan 12 taking line honours once again.

Titan 12 finished the 28 mile course in 2 hours and 50 minutes. In Division B, Oystercatcher XXV bested the fleet with a 2 hour and 58 minute time that earned Richard MATTHEW's (GBR) Oyster 72 a second on corrected time and the top spot overall in class.

Completing the 28 mile course back 'around the island' to finish at Falmouth Harbour, Titan 12 beat Rosebud across the line. However, Roger STURGEON's (USA) TP52 quick pace on the rest of its Racing Big Boat 1 competition keeps it in second overall, tied with Dan MEYERS' (USA) Farr 60 Numbers. Pindar, Andrew PINDAR's (GBR) Open 60 with Nick 'Nobi' BLACK (GBR) helming, posted an impressive time finishing a mere eight minutes behind Titan 12 to claim a third for the day and third in class.

Racing III Protest

Disagreement about a sailing instruction fractured Racing III class which resulted in a protest that may be re-opened later in the week. On provisional standings, DSK-Comifin, Danilo SALSI's (ITA) Swan 45, is now tied on points with High Life, the Ker 11.3 owned by Peter ROGERS of Great Britain.

Bareboat II class continues to be dominated by Moby, the Bavaria 50 skippered by Patrick FESTING-SMITH (CAN). Division B was sent on a course up toward the north eastern-most point of the island, before looping down and heading back to a Falmouth Harbour finish. According to crew member Jim MILLER, the entire team was proud of how they raced the 19 mile course. 'This is the second day in a row that we took line honours,' he said. 'It was upwind to the finish, a beat all the way to the 'curtains' mark on the south side of the island. There were boats in front of us, including Tengger [the Gibsea 51 skippered by Agostini CASADEI of Italy]. We had a great match race with them. We out-tacked them,' he said noting that there was a protest regarding a mark location in the course. 'We have a moral victory even if the protest doesn't go our way.'

Local legend Hugh BAILEY (ANT) and his First 456 corrected to first in class and combined that finish with a fourth and a second to take first overall. 'It was an exciting day,' said the 63 year old known for introducing the sport of sailing to countless young Antiguans. 'We worked hard and we're celebrating. We managed to beat almost everyone on time, and crossed the line with Avocation. In addition to our great racing, we also had Government Minister Joanne MESSIAH onboard. It was her fist time sailing and she left very happy because we sail for Antigua and we did so well.'

Local Battle

In Performance Cruising III class, it is a battle of the locals as Pavlova II, the Swan 43 of Richard BURBRIDGE (GBR) corrected on time to place first in class for the day, with Lawrie MAY's (ANT) Blue Peter in second and in third, Maniac, the Swan 411 owned by Paul WORTHINGTON of Guyana. MAY was pleased to add his J/30's second place to Monday's first and the twelfth scored on the first day. 'Today's conditions were good for us, there were big seas at the start and there wasn't much wind downwind, which was ok for us because we don't fly a spinnaker,' he said of the 26 year old boat he rescued from nearby Mango Swamp almost six years ago. Since then he has completely rebuilt the hull to turn it into one of the most competitive boats in the Caribbean.

MAY's main competition in the class comes from local Antigua boats including Pavlova, Streaker (Sandy MAIR's (ANT) Soverel 33), and Budget Marine (Tony MAIDMENT's (ANT) Dehler 34). 'The locals know the waters here,' he said noting that he has competed against almost every boat in the cruising fleet at one regatta or another over the years. 'It's not just the weather that is hard to read here, but also the current. It can run at close to two knots like it did in today's race. And the more you sail here the more you know about where to go to get relief. Today we tried to get in close to shore for relief and it worked to our advantage.' With today's lay day, the team will go back to work to catch up and re-group for Thursday's South Coast race. 'If we come first, second or third overall in our class I'll be happy,' said MAY.

Today, the fleet will enjoy the traditional lay day, then it is back to racing on Thursday for the South Coast Race.

Dana PAXTON (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Titan 12 is going well:© Daniel FORSTER/Rolex
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