17:00.46N 61:45.87W Antigua Yacht Regatta
iain and gaynor macalister
Wed 21 Apr 2010 22:34
We never intended to enter for the Antigua Classic race series but as we were so close we decided to come and have a look. Arriving in Falmouth harbour we dropped the anchor and the next day we walked around to The Antigua Yacht Club, in torrential rain, to see what it was all about. We were introduced to Kenny Coomes, the Regatta Chairman, who spent a long time explaining how the series worked and he assured us that we would have a great time. We provisionally singed up for all the races and the Concours De Elegance and having done that we set about making the old girl look respectable, which after all her cruising wasn't easy especially in the baking heat of the day. We also had to take lots and lots of measurements as she had to be rated to be able to compete. The entry was £125 and included free berthing in the marina at English harbour so once we had scrubbed up we went around to take up our position. We were to moor stern to on the first pontoon out from the club, a maneuver that is rather unpleasant in a boat with an offset propeller, but with a long line to the jetty we managed to drop the anchor from the bow and winch ourselves into pride of place right in front of the lawn of the yacht club. We were in the front line and best placed for all the activities, Panerai, the main sponsors had their hospitality bar set up about 10 paces away from us and they provided an incredible level of liquid and gastronomic delight for the duration of the races, including a breakfast bag and daily paper delivered to the boat each morning. Gaynor and I have never raced and we were a little apprehensive about it although Kenny assured us that we would be able to take on crew without any problems. On the way back to the boat after registering we stopped for a beer and looking out of the bar I spotted Mike Frith, the artist from Chichester who sails his boat, Blue Eagle out of Itchenor where we keep Lady C. Mike was out her with his girlfriend Sandy and they had two more friends, Alan and Jenny arriving the next day, suddenly we had a full crew and they were absolutely fantastic. Walking around the pontoons that night to look at all the other boats was amazing and the beauty of the big boats such as Velsheda, Ranger, Rebecca and Windrose was awe inspiring. We wondered why we had entered the Concours but when the judges arrived the next morning they made very positive noises and that night we were awarded 2nd place in the privately maintained vintage boat category. Friday dawned grey and cloudy and my nerves were jangling as we lifted the anchor and headed out to the start. We were the second race to go off and thanks to Mike's cool hand on the helm we made a good start and headed for the first mark. It wasn't long before we could see the bigger boats charging up behind us and the two massive J's came past, one on either side in a truly magnificent display of speed and grace, their huge quarter wakes almost swamping us with what appeared to be two mini Tsunamis. After a great race we finished in third place and headed back to the wonderful party atmosphere in Falmouth harbour. Day two saw the start of The Butterfly race and there were lots of squalls coming through with prolonged periods of heavy rain, we were all totally soaked, but very happy to secure 2nd place. Sunday, day three of racing, was The Cannon, straight out and back twice, a total of 24 miles on a broad reach . We were reduced to only four crew as Alan and Jenny, who had been a bit seasick on the first day, decided to have a beach day but we still managed a great days racing and came second in class, just pipping Velsheda across the finishing line. The guys on the committee boat came around to see us and told us that they have a fabulous picture of us taking line honours from her, one for the album I'm sure. The race ended and we headed round to Falmouth Harbour for the parade of sail where we received some very flattering comments from the commentator. Day four was a real toughie with an 8 mile slog to windward but by now the skies had cleared and the sun was shining and Lady C was obviously enjoying herself and appeared to be better balanced than she had been previously. We romped home in second place again and an elated ship and crew headed round to English Harbour to take up the offer of a further two nights free berthing right beside the prize giving arena. This has been a truly amazing experience and we have had such a great time racing with a fabulous crew and now have over a hundred miles of racing experience under our belts. Our final position is second in class and we've just bought the T Shirts with Lady Corinne listed as one of the participating Yachts, we real do feel very proud of her and this experience will be a memory we shall cherish forever.
LadyC and her Prize Winning Crew wish you all the very best from The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2010.