still smiling

race report

still smiling

Jaime Torres, owner of the Beneteau First 40 “Smile and Wave” checks in after an eventful charter in Antigua.  Photos are of ultra-delicious Sailing Week video presenter Sophie Oliver and a Ted Martin photo of the Boat of the Week “El Ocaso”, fresh off their fourth victory of the 2012 Caribbean season. 

A broken lip, a saved rig, a hard-earned podium finish and very happy clients have made Antigua Sailing Week a huge success on all counts. Our new Brazilian best friends came to sail for fun. They did not expect lessons in tenacity, perseverance, heavy-air boathandling, and even a lesson in how to be the team that everybody loves to sail against.

The 2012 edition of the oldest and most prominent sailboat racing event in the Caribbean came to an end today after offering up 5 days of perfect sailing conditions, great parties, an epic concert and a true feeling that it’s all about the sailing here. The race committee work was totally spot-on and the competition was fierce.

Smile and Wave brought the boat and a core crew that enabled our charterers to turn their fun vacation into an exhausting battle for podium finishes against very well sailed similar boats. We were happy to see our friends from El Ocaso finish off their J/120’s dominant season with a perfect, all-bullets scorecard, and it was great to see the Hong Kong charterers aboard our sister ship, Launcelot II, take home a real taste of the Caribbean and a very cool 2nd place trophy. We will bring the Caribbean to them when we come sail at China Cup 2012, but that is another story.

It would take too long to wrap up the entire week, and Louay Habib from Sailing Week did a great final report here, so I’ll just give you the play-by-play for our last day:

  • Beautiful Antigua Sail Week media chick Sophie comes sailing with us in her teeny tiny bikini. Not a bad start!  But it’s downhill from there.
  • Our usually reliable instruments go on the fritz.
  • The guys can’t think because all they do is look at Sophie.
  • Instruments fixed on the way out, but spreader patch on the new 3DI main comes off and we can’t get a new one to stick.
  • Hoist main and go sailing – slowly, that is, thanks to Sophie (though none of us would’ve changed her out!)
  • We notice the pin that holds lower shroud to spreader is coming off.  If this pin comes out, down goes the rig.  
  • Me up the rig, other crew loosening opposing uppers, 20 minutes of heart-stopping (and if you know me, that’s a really bad thing) pounding the pin back in, and all is well…we hope.
  • Ready to start, with instructions to the helm to find Launcelot II.  We need to keep them out of first in order to get second in Class for the week.  
  • Tactic fails miserably, Launcelot forcing us into the worst start of the week.  No one cares because they are all looking back at Sophie at the stern.  
  • We recover amazingly well, fighting our way back with unusually good speed and great shift picks.
  • We look at Sophie some more as she bends and twists to get GoPro vid.  We should have the camera and her the wheel, as she’s got SCOTW written all over her.
  • Bad news on the downwind:  The oversize spin pole tries to mate with my face on a gybe.  Good news on the downhill:  Sympathy from Sophie.  Unfortunately, the blood all over the deck ruins the romantic mood.
  • Good news at the finish:  We beat Launcelot II!  Jubilation on our performance abounds.  
  • Bad news at the finish:  No horn.  Yep – we were OCS.
  • Strange news:  One of the best-sailed boats all week, a Farr 40, has such an impossible rating under CSA that they can’t win.  They end up 6th, we get third despite the OCS…

What a great week, and I can’t wait to do it all over again.  Well, all except for the lip-smacking pole thing.