Posts Tagged ‘antigua’
Antigua Sailing Week remains one of the fullest ‘race weeks’ available anywhere in the world, and it’s great to see the Caribbean fixture on the upswing. SA pals Roddy Graeme Grimes and Robin Johnston put together this sweet little highlight reel from day one, and you can find pics, news, and more on their Facebook Page. Results after day one are here.
April 25th, 2016 by admin
Bang! goes the gun for the Caribbean 600; is anything quite as pretty as a big fleet of big boats racing into the tropical blue sea? Nice editing work from the RORC guys on this start video from yesterday; track ‘em and watch the rolling leaderboard here. Argue about the race, monohulls and multihulls, and what an asshole Mr. Clean is here.
For bonus coverage, check out Comanche bowman Shannon Falcone, publishing short vids during the race on Instagram.
February 23rd, 2016 by admin
If 500 miles a day isn’t cruisey enough for you, how about a metre-long barracuda coming over the stern? Shannon Falcone posts this pretty pre-sashimi shot from the Charleston to Antigua delivery on the eve of the already-a-legend RORC Caribbean 600. Go to Instagram to find the usual advice from the ciguaphobic.
While the RORC’s only major fuckup – a useless registration system that makes it tough to find anything but an overall entry list – makes it hard to give you exact links, the quality of the fleet and the stories that abound make it worth watching:
Biggest fleet ever? Check.
MOD70 match race featuring the most successful British sailing recordbreaker ever against France’s most-revered shorthanded sailor? Check.
Dozens of schooner sailors flinging 200-footers around like massive wooden dinghies? Check.
Two of America’s newest maxi canters, one of them with a serious fishing pedigree? Check.
Race starts tomorrow morning. What’s not to love? Track here.
February 21st, 2016 by admin
After a couple of years away from the island, I was pleased to get such a warm welcome from the folks in Antigua for this year’s Antigua Sailing Week. I was even more pleased to see that Antigua – the granddaddy of the Caribbean regatta scene – is among the first in the region to recover from the serious fleet damage done by the GFC. Like all the historic Caribbean regattas ASW is well down from its highs, this year saw 118 boats on the line in a wide stretch of handicap and charter classes. That’s 15 more than last year, and double-digit growth is nothing to sneeze at these days – especially with Les Voiles de St Barths skimming off the top spenders in the fleet.
ASW’s secret is that there is no secret at all; just common sense, hard work, and a great sailing venue. To wit:
The format is widely lauded as perfect; a full week of mostly short-course racing split up by a layday with a huge beach party and stand-alone spectator-friendly regatta. For folks who want high-intesity, windward/leeward racing, Antigua is the best of them all, with laid marks and 1-2 hour courses taking up the majority of the week’s racing. Unlike with the long, lazy courses at Les Voiles de Saint Barth or the Heineken, when you hit the daily beach party at the end of the dock, you know you’ve earned he right to drink to excess (or eat fresh sushi prepared right at the Club!) And with ASW providing the final ‘jumping off’ point for many of the serious charter and private racing yachts headed back to England for the Solent racing season, the competition – especially in the 40-foot range – is absolutely fierce. That’s maybe why we love the regatta so much; like very few others, it has a great balance between hard-ass racing, non-stop shoreside partying, and family-friendly fun. And with a consistent crew of media and video staffers who put together the video above, they’ve been good at sharing it with potential customers.
Owners and boat managers dig it because yachting infrastructure is substantial on the island, thanks to a combination of investment in facilities, private and governmental recognition of the sport’s economic value, and a seriously forward-thinking Yacht Club and National Sailing Academy. For years they’ve been teaching locals to swim and then teaching them to sail their way into a fun and typically well-paying career working with sailing and powerboats, and it seems like everyone on the island has a brother or cousin who works on boats. Don’t underestimate the power of friendly locals; few things make competitors want to come back more than feeling truly welcome. Regatta organizers run huge parties for both racers and locals, bringing in bands like Steel Pulse and endearing the regatta to thousands on the island. Thanks to this cooperative arrangement, everything is easy compared to other islands, and finding someone to sort out repairs, electronics, sails, carpentry – even carbon work – is possible with a few phone calls. All in all, this place has what a race team needs.
We’ve only got two issues with ASW, and with their new partnership with Sailors for the Sea and their long-running deal with the Rubber Ducky Recycling nutters, we hope one will be solved easily; that’s the ASW association with Day Sponsor Yida International, the Chinese developer of a massive new resort that may seriously harm some of the most important coral reef ecosystem in the area. Yida’s VP allegedly went on an alcohol-fueled rant against critics of the project at the regatta’s closing ceremony last week, but it was an unnecessary rant – the real economic reality on the island means the resort if a done deal. Ppposition to the plan has been easily quelled with promises of prosperity and jobs; that makes it even more important for organizations like ASW, the National Academy, and the AYC to advocate for development that protects these crucial resources for generations of sailors and fishermen to come. And that means not accepting sponsorship from a company that’s not doing anything to help.
The other criticism of ASW may also be easy to solve; the regatta is just a little too late in the season, and many potential US boats have already headed North. Many potential charter crews are already sanding and painting their own hulls back home. The Caribbean is a winter circuit, and this one is just a little too springy for most people we spoke to – a couple of weeks would definitely increase participation from this side of the pond, at least.
With those two caveats, we can heartily recommend ASW for anyone looking for real, hardcore, caribbean racing and partying. Watch the full video edit above for a report on the week, and for bikinis, barbecue, and Clean on commentary (as well as some good enviro-reporting), watch the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge Regatta video here.
Screenshot of spectators cheering on RS Elite teams from inside the zone comes from Acqua Films/Roddy GG. Those of you patiently waiting for my Gunboat G4 foiler report and video, sit tight. It’ll be worth it.
May 11th, 2015 by admin
Since getting his walking papers along with the rest of the Luna Rossa team, 5-time AC’er Shannon Falcone is playing with some new toys. Having locked up the win on Thursday, a local took his spot on the Gunboat G4 for Friday’s race so Shannon could shoot some foiling action from the sky. Here’s a look at this budding videographer’s movie, and you can check out all the week’s videos and pics on the Gunboat Facebook Page.
Sick of the G4 yet? We’re not. It’s fast, it’s bold, and it unabashedly sticks up the middle finger to the establishment. More importantly, the concept works. And it works better than even the ever-optimistic Peter Johnstone expected.
We’ll have a world-exclusive Antigua race report and boat review from our Senior Editor soon, and a comprehensive video walkthrough of the boat and all her systems later this week. Until then, click HD and watch it big.
May 3rd, 2015 by admin
The G4 ‘Wipeout’ video has already racked up some 330,000 views in less than a week, well on its way to million-view status. But I barely had time to enjoy it last week before Gunboat Marketing chief Lauren Bataille sent me a text message.
“Still coming?” she wrote of my already-booked trip to Antigua for some G4 racing at Sailing Week.
Maybe I’m crazy, but watching a sweet 30-knot run segue into a gentle capsize didn’t make me nervous; in fact, it had the opposite effect, and sitting here at Newark airport waiting for a connection to Antigua, I find myself watching that video over and over again. What would I do? Where would I hang on? Do I really want to find out?
My answer remains as it was in my response to Lauren. “Hell f*&^ing yes!”
My seven-months pregnant wife always knows how to cut to the chase. “If she flips, be sure it wasn’t your fault,” was her first directive. “Oh, and wear a helmet. And have fun.” That part should be no problem at all.
Got questions about the interior, the exterior, the foils, the stove, the capsize, the electrical system…or anything else? Well, so do we. Plant yours in the G4 thread (without being a dick) and we’ll try to get an answer for you. Keep an eye in the forum, on the front page, and especially on SA Facebook for video and pics from Antigua.
April 25th, 2015 by admin
Paradox and Phaedo^3 are currently oblitering the existing Caribbean 600 race record while both Rambler 88 and Bella Mente are ahead of the monohull record; it’ll be over almost before it started so track ‘em all here and have a look at the people involved in the video above. Ask or talk about this race over here.
UPDATE: Phaedo Start video here.
February 23rd, 2015 by admin
There’s a perfect confluence this year of a strong economy, vibrant offshore racing scene, and serious multihull acceptance in 2016, and for those reasons, we’re calling it The Year Of Broken Records. Thanks to ubiquitous maxi-multihulls, MOD70s, GC32s, AC45s and the new Ultim tris, nearly every inshore and ocean racing record could fall this year, which means plenty of masts and dreams will fail, too.
First up? Team Phaedo owner Lloyd Thornburg has finally recovered from his dismasting during the last Transpac, and with a massive refit and huge new rig, he’ll be assaulting the West Coast in 2016 with the now-fire engine red Gunboat 66. But Thornburg’s got a nice combo of no fear and piles of time and money, and he just ‘scrounged together’ a MOD-70 (ex-Foncia) and shipped it across the ocean, recruiting some of the world’s top multihull and ocean racers for next week’s Caribbean 600. With RTW record-holder Brian Thompson, double Vendee Globe winner Mich Desj, and a crew full of talent, there’s almost no conceivable way Phaedo can’t shatter the existing race record of 40 hours 11 mins 5 secs set by old-school ORMA 60 Region Guadeloupe all the way back in 2009.
With the new Rambler 88 and Turbo VO70 Maserati entered in the monohull class, there’s even a chance that the 40h20m monohull record set by David’s Rambler 100 (ex-Speedboat) can fall, but we’re expecting the first real assault on the monohull world to come from Kristy and the boys this spring.
Title shout out to a classic movie that fits…
February 19th, 2015 by admin
Jaime Torres wraps up his report from Antigua Sailing Week from Class Zero. Results are here, with the overhead shot from Tim Wright/photoaction.com
Let me re-cap the checklist I put together yesterday:
-Make sure Tonnerre beats True – CHECK
-Beat Scarlet Runner – CHECK
-Get the race committee to spare us from anymore Code Zero reaching legs. -CHECK
-Keep the A2 in one piece in 17 knots – CHECK
The deed is done, and an incredibly hard-fought second place will be etched into the memory of our crew of Northern Europeans for the rest of their lives!
It was a bad break for the otherwise well-sailed Scarlet Runner to rip a headsail halfway up the first windward leg on the final day of racing, and it goes to prove that old sails happen to best of us. They were our boat -for-boat challenger all week, and it sucked to lose our racing partner. We rocked the start (again), and kept the hammer on the whole time. Tonnerre did too - they were very fast off the line and led most of the class, boat-for-boat, for the beginning of the first leg. That team has been around the Caribbean a few times and I enjoyed racing them when they were a 43 footer and my Smile and Wave was a 40 footer; they’re just as good now – or better. Tonnerre finished with a perfect score line and truly deserve their top ranking. True suffered not from a performance malady but, in my opinion, from a rating sting. They sailed well all week, but a 47-foot boat rating the same as TP52… it’s tough no matter how you look at it.
Our 2nd this week has been so thrilling to our team. Yes, we had some key positions filled by very qualified sailors… the driving, bow, pit, trim; Yes, the boat is very well rated; Yes, except for the lack of racing sails (an issue soon to be sweetly corrected), the boat is awesome. But, what made this regatta terrific was the team. Our navigator kept us in the game, the charter master, Ola Hox quickly learned the ins and out of TP52 driving and kept the boat on a groove when our seasoned pro Nic Bol was on break (about 50% of the time!) and the charter guests, a motley collection of businessmen, lawyers, doctors and entrepreneurs, provided plenty of horsepower to drive the grinders. Even in the worse of times everybody was smiling. The only rule was to have fun because, lets face it, that’s the only reason we are all here.
This team embodies the Smile and Wave sailing spirit. Those of you that have been following our adventures know that how cool its is to hang with great friends at fabulous regattas in a fun boat. Good performances generally follow, a podium finish is just a bonus, and the most important thing – the smiles – are enjoyed by all.
Our Caribbean season is done but I hope for more racing to be in the cards…Europe, Newport, Florida…who knows? Keep an eye on Smile and Wave’s exploits here.
May 5th, 2014 by admin
Ok, lets get this out of the way: Balearia got her new sail! It’s a beautiful, paneled-spectra, 3di-looking high performance cruising sail. Faster than the number 4? In under 13 knots yes, over 16 knots, no. We put it up, again nailed the start, dropping True in our wake. Got to the windward ahead of everybody else and very close behind ICAP Leopard. We found a good speed boost and started savoring that huge bullet bonus!
As it turns out, we were a little early for that. A small navigational slip had us going fast in the wrong direction in the first long downwind leg. We lost all our gains and then some, as we had to hoist the jib (a tough job as this is no light weight race sail) and close reach up to the actual mark. To add insult to injury, what followed was a slalom of 2 back-to-back reaching legs where a Code 0 really paid off! Guess what? Our Code 0 is still in the planning stage. Our competition picked up and left us in the dust. True was particularly brilliant and had speed to burn; from were we were standing, they literally appeared to be riding the wake of twice-as-big ICAP Leopard.
Too bad we could not end our racing misery with just a single bad nav call on the day…In race 2, after a much-too-short lunch break, we had a less than stellar start. We went on to destroy another chute on the hoist, leaving us now with only one kite for the final day of racing: A big, light A2.
To remind you of just how close the fleet is here in Class 0, True came within 2 seconds of getting a bullet in the last race. And that valuable bullet would have given them not just equal points with us but the tie breaker in their favor. Thank voodoo for little favors! With our competition beating us in both races, we destroyed the nice points lead we had on both True and Scarlet Runner. It’s now do or die for Team Varg on Day 5 of Antigua Sailing Week.
1) Make sure Tonnerre beats True
2) Beat Scarlet
3) Get the race committee to spare us from anymore Code 0 reaching legs.
4) Keep the A2 in one piece in 17 knots
No problem, right?
May 2nd, 2014 by admin