The crew from Pyewacket must have had a shock when they looked at the top of the list on the results board only to find that they had to move their finger down one - below the name Spirit Of Jethou, a Swan 60 from Great Britain.
In its first race loss in its Caribbean tour, Pyewacket finished the approximately 30 mile course in 3 hours, 45 minutes and 3 seconds. Spirit Of Jethou, with Owen Parker calling the shots. finished just over 45 minutes later and beat Pyewacket by under four minutes on corrected time. According to Stuart Branson, skipper of Peter Ogden's Spirit Of Jethou, their secret to success was no more "than good teamwork and a little bit of luck" and just sailing well. "We carried a good bit of breeze down with us from the windward mark," he said. And Pyewacket didn't have it. Stuart couldn't tie down whether Pyewacket had made any mistakes because he couldn't see them.
Where, soon after the start, Pyewacket is effectively sailing against its rating, Spirit Of Jethou has the benefit of sailing against some other highly competitive Swans. The lowest rated Swan in the Big Boat class, Spirit Of Jethou has been concentrating on racing against Chippewa and Serano Of London and that helped to "drag them along". "We've been having a great battle with Chippewa and the Swans in Racing II. Our ultimate aim is the Swan Cup in Sardinia," and that also helped he said.
As usual Pyewacket did look strong as she flew round the course but obviously not quite fast enough today. However, after suffering the indignity of being pushed over the line yesterday, Pyewacket did the same to Titan this morning at the pin end of the line before she took off. Chippewa was third today. Pyewacket is still in first place in class but Spirit Of Jethou is now second bumping Chippewa down to third. In the overall fleet standings Pyewacket is still first while four Swans hold the next four places. Spirit Of Jethou, Lolita and Noonmark VI all share second place and Chippewa is fifth.
In Racing II, and the ongoing game of cat and mouse between Lolita and Noonmark VI, it was Noonmark's turn in the number one slot today. She still lead the class, with Lolita second and Brigadoon VII third. Antigua's Lost Horizon II took another bullet in Racing III while Montebello, a Beneteau 34 from Guadeloupe, stepped up to the winners' rostrum for the first time with a third. Mumm 30 Twisted Lizard from the USA was second. Montebello's placing today bumped her up to third in class with Twisted Lizard second and, of course, Jamie Dobbs and crew first.
Antrim 27 Rhumb Squall took another first in its somewhat lonely Sport Boat class of one.
Charles Dolan's S&S 72 Encore, won Racer/Cruiser I for the second day with Starr Trail from Bermuda snatching the second place slot from Orfeo. Encore's win today broke the tie for first in class in her favour, giving Starr Trail second place and Orfeo third.
With only two races to go and four wins so far, Timbalero 2's top cat position in Racer/Cruiser II looks assured as does the UK's Swan 48 Celerity. Jus' Do It 2 and Hinano will be battling it out for third place.
A win for Flechette in Racer/Cruiser III didn't manage to boost her to first in class- that honour remains with Trouble. Hullabuloo's third to Pipe Dream's fourth cemented their points lead with 13 versus 32 after Pipe Dream's disqualification yesterday. Don't be surprised to see match racing tactics between these two as perhaps Pipe Dream looks to force Hullabuloo into a 'penalty' situation.
Things were not quite as rosy for the non-spinnaker, division B fleet. Suffering a fate not unheard of in the racing circles - a missing mark - Sailing Week organizers were forced to abandon today's race. The culprit? A five knot westerly current to the south of English Harbour that has been sweeping fishermen's fish pots away recently.
"There is a current running at up to five knots off the southern side of the island which is sufficient to not only to cause the buoy to submerge but also to cause it to shift nearly 1 ½ miles in 2 ½ hours," said David Arnold, principal race officer for Division B.
"Since some boats were unable to find the buoy, some rounded it and lost time looking for it, and others rounded its original position, the race committee and the international jury agreed that the only option available was to abandon the race."
An extra mark boat with the appropriate ground tackle is being organized for the last two days of racing to ensure that the situation is not repeated.
The day dawned somewhat benignly at Jolly Harbour Marina with the wind on the verge of breathless after a night of much needed rain. However as the race committee worked through the start sequence the wind started to fill in. By the time the fleet had reached their respective marks to the north east of Rex Halcyon Cove there was a respectable breeze.
However, the wind proved to be fickle and dropped as the fleet headed down the west coast of Antigua but started to build again as the fleet approached Cades Reef and the final leg(s) to the finish off English Harbour - the scene for the frivolities until the end of the 35th Sailing Week.
Tomorrow sees the ubiquitous Lay Day festivities in Falmouth Harbour Marina and racing resumes with a vengeance on Thursday which will include another new development for this year - an extended course for the Big Boats and Racing II.