In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine a more worthy celebration. The recently concluded 40th anniversary of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week had it all: wonderful sailing in ideal Caribbean conditions; a mighty fleet of over 200 yachts that enjoyed excellent competition in sixteen separate classes; a fine slate of winners and many memorable performances; and, last but hardly least, a week of music and parties that gave this milestone edition of this annual regatta the shore-side merriment and festivity it so richly deserved.
When all was said and done, the event’s big winner was the Volvo 70 ABN AMRO ONE, the powerful sloop known as “Black Betty” that blazed through Sailing Week with the speed and purpose that has made the boat, and its crew, legends in their own time. During Saturday night’s award ceremony at the Event Village at Nelson’s Dockyard, skipper Mike Sanderson received a host of prizes that underscored the dominating effort his team had put forth.
First and foremost among ABN AMRO ONE’s harvest of silverware was the Lord Nelson Trophy given to the week’s Overall Winner. In addition, Sanderson happily accepted the Curtain Bluff Trophy for his yacht’s victory in the Racing I division, and the Budget Marine Trophy in honor of its convincing win in the 2007 Caribbean Big Boat Series. Most fittingly, Sanderson was joined on stage by Dr. Cesar Barrios of Puerto Rico, who won the very first running of Antigua Sailing Week some four decades ago on his 38-footer, Enzian. With the two champions looking on, a magnificent fireworks display emblazoned the night sky, and a link from the past to the present was forged.
“One sailed a simple, wooden 38-foot sloop, the other competed in a 70-foot carbon-fiber racing machine,” said Sailing Week Chairman Neil Forrester. “It was a wonderful moment to have both winners from such different eras together at the prize giving. It really brought to mind just how much of a transition the event has gone through, and how far we’ve come.”
Of course, one of the best things about the event is that you don’t need a carbon-fiber machine to participate and even excel. That point was proven in convincing style by Antiguan sailor Hans Lammer and his vintage, fiberglass Rhodes Bounty, Sunshine. Like ABN AMRO ONE, Sunshine took home a boatload of awards: the Peter Deeth Cup for Overall Winner in the Cruising Classes; the Admiral’s Inn Trophy for the victory in Cruising Class II; the Antigua Air Station Trophy for Best Antigua Yacht in Division B; and the American Express Trophy for Best Caribbean Yacht in Division B.
Altogether, some 98 prizes were awarded in 37 separate categories, including prizes for first, second and third in each class, and a series of special awards presented throughout the fleet. Another multiple prize winner was Clay Deutsch’s Swan 68, Chippewa, which won the Sanhall Trade Marks Trophy for taking top honors in Racing 3; the Richocet Cup for Best American Yacht in Division A; and the Antigua Breweries Cup for the Best Swan in Division A.
Other big winners included the following skippers and boats in their respective divisions: Avia Wilment’s Rodgers 46 Universal Marina, winner of Racing II and the Price Waterhouse Coopers Cup; Sergio Sagramoso’s Beneteau 40.7 Lazy Dog, winner of Racing IV and the Henley Cup; Scott Chalmers’ Sigma 400 Sunrise, winner of Racing V and the Air Canada Cup; and Bruce Slayden’s Gunboat 62 Looking for Elvis, winner of Multihull Racing and the La Perla Cup.
The Overall Winner in the Performance Cruiser classes and of Performance Cruiser I was Indio, Andrea Recordati’s Wally 80, which took the Chippy Fine Yacht Woodwork Cup for the former accomplishment, and the Big Banana Trophy for the latter. In Performance Cruiser II, winner Hugh Bailey on the Beneteau 456 Hugo B took the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Bank Trophy, while Richard Burbridge’s Swan 43 Pavlova II earned the British Airways Trophy for victory in Performance Cruising III.
In the Cruising classes, in addition to Sunshine’s prizes, Cuyler Morris’s Morris 45 Firefly won the Island Provision Trophy for capturing Cruising I, and the husband-and-wife team of Robert and Darlene Hill won the AHTA Cup for taking the Multihull Cruising class aboard their Switch 51, Following Tides.
With little rest for the weary, and with the 40th Birthday of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week now in the record books, race organizers are already turning their attention to the event’s 41st running, which is scheduled for April 27-May 3, 2008. If you missed this one, start planning for the next. One thing’s for certain: Stanford Antigua Sailing Week is going strong, as healthy and vibrant as ever. And for this venerable Caribbean regatta, with its lasting, colorful history, that’s truly saying something.
For further information, race results, photographs and more, visit the Stanford Antigua Sailing Week website at www.sailingweek.com