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Right down to the Wire between Titan and Ran as Big Boats Battle at Antigua Sailing Week

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With many class overall results resting on today’s racing, a grand finale of Antigua Sailing Week 2010 was guaranteed.

In Division A, Racing 1, it was right down to the wire with the biggest boats in the fleet Titan – Tom and Dotty Hill’s custom Reichel/Pugh 75, and Niklas Zennstrom’s 72ft Judel Vrolijk-designed Ranengaged in their match-race style battle, once again, on the two-mile leg, windward/leeward course set just to the east of Falmouth. Ran however, pulled off a stylish win beating Titan by just over a minute on corrected time. In doing so, she not only won her class, but also won Division A overall.

This morning’s racing took place in a shifty 15kt north-easterly breeze. Titan won the start, called water on Ran just off the line, and had an advantage up the first beat and down the first run where she led by nearly a minute and a half. The second and final beat was where Ran really upped her game however, and after the final downwind leg to the finish, had closed the gap sufficiently to win the race by just over a minute on corrected time.

Day Six of Antigua Sailing Week

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Chatting as he stepped ashore this afternoon, Ran’s Swedish owner, Niklas Zennstrom, commented: “Fantastic weather, good breeze, good waves and tough competition is what Antigua Sailing Week is all about. We had amazing two-boat racing with Titan all week. On the water they are a bit faster but we’re pretty much boat to boat. We really enjoyed it and I know the Titan guys did too.

“It was very difficult today because the waves were cross bows, and it was quite shifty too. It was a different wind direction as well – more from the north – which actually made the windward/leeward course more interesting. Titan controlled things up the first beat but the last run was fantastic for us particularly being able to catch the big rolling waves coming in from the east. It was a great way to end the regatta.”

There was no great surprise to see Sin Duda – the American Santa Cruz 52 helmed owned by Chicago-based Lindsey Duda and her 15-strong team, take an overall win of Racing 2, but interestingly, it didn’t go all their way today. Although they enjoyed close racing once again with Stefan Lehnert and team on the German 56ft Trip/Turner-designed Passion4C, it was Andrea Casale’s Swan 90 DSK Pioneer Investments that managed to break the 52’s complete domination of the class by winning today’s race on corrected time.

Duda speaking about the racing said: “We had a rough start because we were being a bit conservative. We were a little late crossing the line because the boats pushed out at the pin end affected us. It was a shame we didn’t win but we’ve had an amazing week and are looking forward to the prizegiving this evening.”

Marc Glimcher and his team on J/122 Catapult secured an overall win of Racing 3 by winning today’s final race, beating Peter Peake and team on the extremely competitive Reichel Pugh 44 Peake Yacht Services Storm by just two points overall. Catapult also finished third overall in Division A behind Titan.

Racing for the top spots in Division B was equally as close with many classes battling it out on the windward/leeward courses west of Falmouth until early afternoon. In Performance Cruising 1, Italian Marco Serafini and team on the FY61 Tyke secured their place at the top of the podium with a third place in the final race. Today’s winner was Peter Morris’ well-sailed Frers 43 Jaguar but it was Erik Lindgren and his smart orange-clad team on the Baltic 50 Spirit who clinched second overall.

One of the closest fleets this week was Performance Cruising 2 where competition, particularly among the local Caribbean contingent, was extremely high. Three Antiguan boats took the top three places including Hugh Bailey’s First 456 Hugo B whose win today confirmed first place overall, while Geoffrey Pidduck in his modified Six Metre – Biwi Magic – took second, confirming second place overall. Carlo Falcone in Caccia alla Volpe with just three points adrift took third overall.

In Cruising 1 Steve Kuhl and his British Sunbeat IV Jeanneau SO 49 team put yesterday’s disappointment of receiving a penalty to rest and sailed a fantastic last race to secure first place overall. Going into this last race he was on equal points with David Perkins’ Jeanneau 54 Windward Spirit but with a poorer last race result (third), Perkins had to settle for second overall.

Rick Gormley in his First 38 Elethea, notched up another class win today in Cruising 2 but it was too late to make an impact on Burt Keenan’s Frers 26-year-old Custom 48 Acadia whose team which included three who sailed together in the 1979 Fastnet Race. They sailed an impeccable series this week, not only taking first in class but an overall win of Cruising Class which means Keenan wins the solid gold, special edition Leinfelder watch. Neil Harvey, tactician commented: “After our second last year we’ve tweaked the boat a bit this year and it seems to have made a difference. We’ve had a great week and are proud to win this prestigious title.”

Some of the most exciting racing today took place in the Bareboat Charter fleets, which were split into Gold and Silver fleets, determined by the results from the week’s racing. Herbert Muenzel’s Dufour 455 KH+P Sea you later who’s team from northern Germany finished second overall in Bareboat 2 fleet yesterday, upped their game further today by going on to win the Gold Fleet overall. This team, who’ve been racing together for 24 years, confirmed their average age of 70 year’s old, which, according to Muenzel, means they have a total of 351 years of experience between them. Muenzel said: “We’d like to tell all those young people, there is still hope. We are the old guys and have plenty of experience so we feel extremely happy to have won this incredibly title.”

The Silver Fleet winner, also from the KH+P Charter company, was the Dufour 40 Fantasque skippered by Martin Wambach who beat R. Van Der Veken’s Beneteau Oceanis 423 Hemingway Curacaoby two minutes on corrected time. Fantasque had a good start but was affected by dirty wind from one of the racing catamarans, which held them back in the early stages but they soon recovered. Wambach commenting on the win said: “We feel incredibly excited about winning because this is our first time here. Our race didn’t look good to start with today, but we pulled back and sailed well and now we are very, very happy.”

Five wins in a row for Robbie Ferron and team on Lagoon 410 Katzenellenbogen secured the win of the Cruising Multihull class, while Roman Paszke in the Polish 90ft catamaran, R-Six Team had an enjoyable week learning about the boat in preparation for his forthcoming round the world voyage.

Prizegiving for the 43rd edition of Antigua Sailing took place this evening at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour. For a full list of results go to www.sailingweek.com.

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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