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Antigua Sailing Week kicks off with the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race 2010

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Despite the current flight disruption in Europe that has left many competitors struggling to reach Antigua Sailing Week, there were nine entries in today’s Guadeloupe to Antigua Race.

This 42-mile event opener not only serves as a feeder race for Antigua Sailing Week (24- 30 April 2010) but is also the first of three offshore events within the Antigua Ocean Series. It also gives the largest yachts in Antigua Sailing Week fleet an opportunity to have a go at breaking the overall speed record of 2h, 18m, 42secs set by Bob Miller’s 140ft schooner Mari Cha IV, in 2004.

With winds reaching no more than 10kts today however, there was little chance of any record-breaking taking place but those who took part enjoyed a relatively straightforward race up to Antigua.

Irish sailor Adrian Lee and his international team aboard the Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners matched their star performance from last year by – once again – winning the Racing Division of this opening race in the Antigua Ocean Series, beating Peter Morris’ Frers 43 Jaguar by less than four minutes on corrected time.

A 0900 start from Des Haies, Guadeloupe this morning created plenty of interest from spectators as the fleet made its way across the line in a steady 7-10kt breeze. Roman Paske’s 90ft catamaran R-Six Team (Gemini) was first nose ahead and cross the finish line off English Harbour but Team Lee Overlay Partners stole the show with their race-winning performance.

The winds were far from taxing which meant optimum boatspeed obtained by smart, crew-weight, distribution was an important factor in this offshore race to Antigua. Flavio Zamboni – bowman – talking about the conditions said: “It was unusual in the fact we were on starboard tack the whole way across. The wind was just north of east and we had the Number 1 up all the way and didn’t tack once.”

Scott Wilson – boat captain – who shared the helm with the owner today added: “We had a great race and winning is obviously a good start to the Ocean Series. We are looking forward to the rest of the series because there are some good boats here including Peter Harrison’s 115ft Sojana.”

In the Cruising division it was Steve Schmidt’s Santa Cruz 70 – Hotel California – that won the class, which puts her in a good position for a top result in the overall Antigua Ocean Series.

He may not have had any competition as far as other mutihulls were concerned in today’s race, but the Polish sailor Roman Paske sailing his 90ft catamaran R-Six Team (Gemini) says it was good to take line honours overall. This boat, which is now three year’s old was apparently built for solo round the world racing, a pastime Paske hopes to put into to practice later this year. “I had her built for a Jules Verne record attempt and hopefully intend to set off later this year – westbound. Meanwhile were here to raise the profile of the boat in preparation for my voyage.”

The schedule for Antigua Sailing Week continues, with racing for ASW series now kicking off on Sunday morning rather than the originally scheduled Saturday. Division A will race the Yachting World Around the Island Race (Race 2 of the Ocean Series) while Division B will be sent on the Dickenson Bay Race. The Round Redonda Race (Race 3 of the Ocean Series) takes place on Wednesday 28 April (lay day).

For regular, updated information and racing schedule go to www.sailingweek.com.

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