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Antigua Sailing Week: Antigua Yacht Club Marina Women's Race Day

by Louay Habib 3 May 04:28 BST 27 April - 3 May 2024

Racing at Antigua Sailing Week continued with Antigua Yacht Club Marina (AYCM) Women’s Race Day.

One hundred and ninety women are racing at the 55th edition of Antigua Sailing Week, representing over a quarter of the sailors competing. 75% of the 88 boat fleet have women on board for the famous regatta.

Antiguan sailor Junella King has been very much in the limelight since victory with Maiden in the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. Junella returned to Antigua for AYCM Women’s Race Day at Antigua Sailing Week. She started sailing at the National Sailing Academy in 2015 and became a dinghy instructor in 2019. Junella joined the Maiden Factor after meeting Tracy Edwards in 2021. Racing on Maiden, she became the youngest black women to navigate around Cape Horn. Antigua Sailing Week President, Alison Sly-Adams welcomed Junella King to the stage on AYCM Women’s Race Day. To a huge ovation, Junella accepted the award for Inspirational Woman in Sailing; being presented with a Locman Italy timepiece.

After three days of gentle conditions, the trade winds were in for AYCM Women’s Race Day. White horses were speckled across both spectacular race courses, with 17 knots from the east piping up to over 20 knots in the gusts. As the penultimate day of racing at Antigua Sailing Week, contenders for class honours are beginning to emerge.

Congratulations to all of the provisional race winners on AYCM Women’s Race Day: Wavewalker, Clippers Ship Doub 6, Pepsi Zéro–Montebello, Dawn Treader, Team Budget Marine, Assuage, Credit Mutuel Jivaro, RYU, Absolute Properties Blue Peter, Imagine of Falmouth, Strada Geothermal Escapado, Caccia alla Volpe, Cricket, Botero, Cachucha, Culebra KH+P, Braque-KH+P, Barbuda KH+P, Jabberwock, Simplicity Dragon, Donna, and Team Budget Marine Oozlumbird.

Provisional results at yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=16104

On AYCM Women’s Race Day, the CSA Racing Classes were in action on the Rendezvous Course, strutting their stuff on short sharp windward leeward courses. On the Windward Course, the Bareboats, Legacy and Club Classes enjoyed courses on long legs at every point of sail. With two-metre swell the Windward fleet experienced spectacular ocean racing conditions.

In CSA 3, Michel Ngo’s J/133 Credit Mutuel Jivaro (FRA) from Martinique has a substantial lead having scored a string of bullets. Chris Woods Swan 48 Assuage (GBR) scored their second race win of the regatta by just two seconds after CSA time correction. Assuage is in second place just 2.5 points ahead of David Crum’s Frers 46 Quintessence III (USA).

Katy Campbell’s Salona 45 Panacea X (CAN) is racing in CSA 3 with seven women on board, including Antiguan Youth 2 Keel sailors Belinda Gilbert and Jhanna Paredes. “To see where past Y2K sailors are right now, like Junella is so inspiring,” commented Jhanna, referring to Antigua’s Junella King, part of the Maiden Crew that has just won the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race - the first all-female crew to win a round the world yacht race. “I see what Junella has done and I look at sailing not just as a sport but as a way of life. It shows that young girls in Antigua have talent and potential,” continued Belinda Gilbert.

In CSA 4 First 40.7 Strada Geothermal Escapado (FRA), with a team from Antibes skippered by Mark Zamaria, leads the class having notched up six race wins. Carlo Falcone’s one-off Caccia alla Volpe (ANT) has scored three race wins to place second, just five points off the lead. Patrick Holloran’s First 40.7 Caipirinha (GBR) is in third.

Lyssandra Barbieri’s Dufour 40 Hatha Maris (ANT) is racing in CSA 4 with an all-women crew. Hatha Maris is based in Jolly Harbour. The sailing school Second Star Sailing organises the Women At The Helm project, open to all women eager to gain sailing and racing experience. “Two of the crew have never sailed before and two more have very little experience. We have progressed as a team to a level where we can pull off sharp manoeuvres. Out on the race course competitors have been encouraging us, which is great. We are really enjoying the parties but always ready to sail as best we can every day too. We have not stopped laughing all week!”

Antigua Sailing Week features the classic International Dragon Class, racing in both Falmouth Harbour and on the south coast of Antigua. Antigua Yacht Club Marina is home to a fleet of Dragons available for invitational events. The Dragon Class at Antigua Sailing Week is being dominated by Poul Høj Jensen’s team racing Jabberwock (ANT). Poul is a double Olympic Gold Medallist, has won the Dragon World Championships two times and the Dragon Gold Cup five times!

On AYCM Women’s Day it was a wet ride in the Dragon Class with two-metre seas outside Falmouth Harbour. Beth Fleisher’s astonishingly named ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill” (USA) is from Southold YC, New York. The team didn’t score a race win, but did fish a competitor out of the water who had gone overboard!

“We don’t normally sail Dragons, but they are fast, tweaky and fun to sail. It’s something new and very different to the J/80 that we sail back home,” commented Beth Fleisher who is racing with her son Ben and sisters Caroline and Charlotte Keil. “Everything we are learning here is going to be a great bring-back. This the first Antigua Sailing Week for all of us. Everybody is really friendly, it’s a great community, the spirit of the event is fantastic.”

After racing, the Regatta Bars were lively on the Antigua Yacht Club Lawn. A jam-packed crowd cheered on the prize winners on stage at the AYCM Women’s Day Daily Prize Giving. The fancy dress theme of Ladies Nite in White at the AYCM Platform was accompanied by Antiguan Party-Band Climaxx. Later in the evening, Antigua Sailing Week party go’ers will get a second helping from Black Slate. The British Reggae sensation is all set for a live performance at Lucky Eddi’s in Falmouth Harbour.

Racing at Antigua Sailing Week will come to a thrilling climax on Friday 3 May with Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Race Day, followed by the Final Prize Giving in Nelson’s Dockyard.

For more information about Antigua Sailing Week including racing, watching the action and the fun-packed shoreside entertainment, visit the official website: www.sailingweek.com

Follow on social media: #antiguasailingweek #ASW55 #racechasecelebrate #asw2024

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