Antigua - 6 May

Sat 6 May 2006 16:59
We enjoyed a day off on Wednesday, although Alice and Pip went to a birthday party where there were water sports and came back exhausted.  We then went to the beach events party at Pigeon Beach.  We arrived just as the wet T-shirt competition started, which the children thought very strange!
Thursday's racing was around the cans off Falmouth Harbour, a course of 19 miles.  Having not had particularly good starts so far, it was encouraging that we were right on the line when the gun went off.  Unfortunately we were, in fact, over the line and were recalled.  How frustrating!  We never managed to make up the lost time and came in with a 13th for the day.  Just before the finish line we put the children on helming and trimming duties and all the adults went down below.  Through the windows, we could see lots of pairs of binoculars suddenly appear on the Committee Boat, and the children loved it!  They even managed to keep the spinnaker filling all the way.
Yesterday we motored down to the start line, just off Rendezvous Bay, with very little wind.  While we waited to start the Race Committee put up the postponement flag and we hung around waiting to see whether the wind would fill in.   We decided to have a swim to cool off, while we were parked up.
One of the crew from Cayenne III had a drink on the foredeck:
We did some wakeboarding behind Keoma, with Ollie:
Ollie, holding the spinnaker halyard
At around 11.30am (we should have started at 10.10am) we started to feel a few breaths of wind and it gradually filled in.  The Committee Boat got the starting sequence going again and we were off.  The beat to the first mark had turned into a spinnaker leg.  However, one of our class leaders, local boat Hugo B, does not have a spinnaker.  They flew their large genoa, and, taking the island side of the course, were first to round the mark.   They also have a great handicap, from being rated without a spinnaker.
The wind was incredibly flukey all through the race, but felt we had, in the main, made the right decisions on tactics.  The Race Committee shortened the course, which was a good thing, as we found ourselves parked up (again) on the approach to the finish.  It was an agonising half hour, as we wondered whether the wind would fill in from behind and all the boats there would catch us up.  We decided to ease the tension with some beer and music, and gradually wafted towards the finish line.  One boat in our class, Wayward, had an ultra light genoa, made of a type of flimsy spinnaker material.  It was exactly what was needed for those conditions and they overtook us.  Our heavy genoa was no match.   We eventually crossed the finish line at around 3.30pm.  Our position for the day, on corrected time, was 5th, a lot better, but rather too late to recover our overall position of 10th for the week.  We can take comfort from the fact that the local boats are very hot, have ultra high-tech sails and have optimised their handicaps.  For us the important thing is that everyone on board seems to really have enjoyed the week's racing, despite our results!
For further photos of the week, see  There are around 50 pictures of Keoma on this site.