On the traditional midweek lay day, Antigua Sailing Week ran the very first ever RS Elite Challenge. Basically it is a one design regatta complete with great food, lots of chilled drinks, and the sort of easy going camaraderie the Caribbean is known for.
Northern Child’s very own Captain Christian and his wife Lucy participated in the race, sailing an RS Elite with Sailing Anarchy’s “Mr. Clean,” Alan Block. Like the new America’s Cup, the course off Pigeon Beach was spectator-friendly, complete with a very light-hearted beachside race commentator and the emphasis definitely on the fun.
According to event sponsor Nonsuch Bay, the goal was to “strip the sailors of their drilled crews and tacticians and pitch them against one another on a level playing field.”
There were four boats available. Two heats of three races each were run, and then the two top winners competed against each other. While clearly this was an event for the skippers, crews and other insiders, the fun was so infectious that the many “outsiders” became “insiders” for the afternoon.
Then the next day it was back to class racing outside of English and Falmouth Harbours, a light air day with winds often under 10kts. This was highly problematic for a heavy displacement boat like Northern Child. We tried hard to do it right and mainly we did, but were not set up to win against boats half our weight.
I can see the crew’s progress since the beginning of the week, and it is significant. Christian was effusive with praise at our dockside wrap up. He felt we all did what we could. No one knows better than him how the ratings work against Northern Child in light airs.
We have one final race left to end the week, and this season of lighter than normal winds may be capped with yet more of the same. But we will all go out there and do our best; even if we haven’t yet won any rum, there is a winning spirit aboard.
Read Jonathan’s previous posts about his experience at Antigua Sailing Week:
Antigua Sailing Week: Rewards of Paradise
Antigua Sailing Week: The Gloves Come Off
Antigua Sailing Week: Fun Ashore and Around the Island
Antigua Sailing Week: Becoming a Team
Antigua Sailing Week: Practice Day