A Wiggley Tes of Wits
18 March 2018
12-15 knot mid-morning breezes that weakened to about seven knots in
the afternoon, the Bucket fleet sailed 22-25 nm “Not-so-Wiggley”
courses that seemed quite the opposite of that as they zig-zagged
around Ile Fourchue, Roche Table and other natural turning marks on
the western side of St. Barths. The challenging courses and varying
wind conditions combined for interesting games of cat-and-mouse in
what was the second of three scheduled races for 23 Superyachts
sailing in five pursuit classes here.
In Les Elegantes des Mers class, Rebeccca and Sojana had the closest delta (42 seconds) of all finishes today. The mostly Antigua/English/Irish crew aboard Rebecca led all the way around the course, but Sojana began closing in on them during the last half of the race. “On the last long beat to the finish we got wrapped up with the Perini Navis and some others and threaded a bit of a needle there,” said Alan Smith, who has sailed three of his last four Buckets as Rebecca’s tactician. “We got a little bit lucky when we had to sail through the lee of a big Swan, and Sojana got a bit held up by them, too; otherwise they might have gotten us.”
Last year’s Overall winner and yesterday’s leader in Les Mademoiselles del Mers, the Royal Huisman yacht SPIIP, is now tied for first with Farfalla going into tomorrow’s final race. “Today was just a great race, with lots going on and lots of things to navigate around,” said SPIIP’s Tactician Tom Whidden, explaining that his team had led around the course until Farfalla got around them at the last turning island. “We followed Farfalla up the whole last beat, about a minute or so behind them. They did a good job of staying ahead and gained a little more (final delta 5:09) when we took a bit of a flyer to see if we could get around them. Tomorrow should be lots of fun.”
Nilaya, Visione and the Vitters-built Unfurled, tightly matched in Les Gazelles des Mers class, all finished within 56 seconds of each other. Nilaya leads with two points to Visione’s 4. Unfurled is in third with 6 points.
In Les Voiles Blanche class, the Vitters-built Missy turned the tables on yesterday’s victor KOO (also a Vitters) when she won today, leaving KOO with a 1-3 score line that ties on point score with hers of 3-1. Q, which came within two seconds of winning yesterday, finished fourth today and stands in fourth overall. Child of LIR, with a second-place finish today, is now in third overall.
In another last-leg upset, the Perini Navi Rosehearty was passed by Whisper, Blue Too and Marae in Les Grandes Dames des Mers class. The latter three are now all in podium positions – first, second and third (tied with Rosehearty) – respectively. Whisper, which last sailed this regatta almost ten years ago, now has won both its races here. According to Tactician Mike Sanderson there are eight crew aboard from owner Hap Fauth’s renowned Maxi 72 racing team, along with five permanent crew. “We’re definitely not overstaffed,” he said. “We’re just here and happy it’s not another high-stress regatta.”