Today was the first day of Antigua Race Week. The docks are eerily empty in Falmouth Harbor – a very large decrease in the number of race boats from when I was here with Yeoman in 2007. I have the pick of what ever berth I want – there isn’t a fight for the best berths alongside vs med moored. The beer tent area is so quiet that one crew member remarked it was like a Wednesday night beer can party.
This year is the first year they are trying out a new format mixing some inshore and mini offshore days and the racing classes are all based out of Falmouth/English Harbor. As a boat captain I am very happy we don’t have to anchor out at Jolly Harbor which means I can sleep well in the knowledge the boat is tied up at the dock instead of waking up to check the anchor hasn’t dragged and sleeping on a hot and mosquito infested boat.
The tactician on the boat is Andy Beadsworth – the boat and I are under charter – and the crew is all pro. The last two days we have been out practicing in the afternoons after working on boat jobs in the mornings. This morning the organizers reduced the number of racing classes from 4 to 2 as many of the boats in class 2 and 3 did not want to do the long races that are planned for us.
We left the dock and hour and half before our start and did the normal pinging of the line. Small upwind, hoist the kite a gybe and drop the kite. We noticed Leopard upwind of us doing the same and then they dropped the main. They motored passed on their way into Falmouth and it was very obvious they would not be lining up against us this week. The boom was snapped in half at the vang a huge shame for those guys to be out of a regatta without even sailing a race. So with them out we were down to 3 boats in our class with the Cookson 50 coming out for the mini offshore. We had some fun sailing the boat today with a top speed of 20 knots. The wind speed was average of 19 knots and the waves were the typical Antiguan rollers. However, it really did feel like yet another day out practicing with the distinct lack of boats in the vicinity. Tomorrow is an early start off the dock at 8:30am for the round the island race – all in one go for the racing divisions. Ashley Perrin.