Luke Frankland and Graham Chin have their eyes firmly fixed on victory in the RS Feva division of the Caribbean Dinghy Championships, which is doubling up as the Caribbean Regional RS Feva Championship. After the first day of racing in Falmouth Harbour Antigua, and with six races under their belt, Luke and Graham are running neck and neck with Antigua’s Mauriceson Valentine and crew Nahio, on 7 points with Summer Jean Morton and Sahil Khatnani of St Maarten just a few points behind in third place.
Looking all but unbeatable in the Laser class is Antigua’s Jules Mitchell with four firsts out of the six races. “The Laser is a very physical boat to sail, even in light airs,” he says, “I spend a lot of time in the gym. I think the boat handling is very important and is contributing to my success so far. Quick manoeuvres are very important.” Meanwhile Rhone Kirby is settling for his much predicted second place behind Jules, reflecting his regatta preview comment “I do well but I don’t often win!” But he does win – Antiguan Rhone hasn’t been out of the top three yet, and has two firsts and three seconds under his belt.
Meanwhile the sailor of the day has to be Antigua’s Ozani Lafond in the Optimist Class. He is the youngster that looks like the hardest to beat in this event with four firsts on the opening day and two seconds. Ozani is modest about his success but quietly puts it down to “concentrating hard”.
The Laser Radial class belongs right now to Daniel Smit of Antigua who leads Trinidad’s Abigail Affoo after day one.
With one day of the three day event under their belt, and six of the fifteen races done, the Antigua Yacht Club’s Race Committee are working hard to get good courses. The Committee’s Clare Cupples comments “Our normal prevailing easterly wind has gone round to the south, plus we have had a few squalls coming through today. We’ve had a few challenges here and there setting the good windward beats.” A couple of blasts of wind caused a few capsizes but generally the conditions were steady through the day.
Racing continues today (Saturday) with competitors of a range of ages coming along to Antigua from right across the Caribbean region, all competing for the ultimate prize, the Nations Cup. A unique package has enabled competitors to come along with their own sails and equipment to use boats from the Antigua’s National Sailing Academy fleet.
Images from Ted Martin – Antigua Photography