The Budget Marine High Tide series in 2017 turned out to be well organized and highly competitive with the closest finish 8 seconds apart. Trade wind conditions with stiff winds (14 to 19 knots) in the first two days were followed by challenging winds gusting to 24 knots inside the harbour and gusting to 30 knots along the coast, with the seaway running at 1.75- 2.25 meters in the final day of racing.
The clear winner was the Melges 24 Regardless in the Racing Class, with Richard Archer at the helm, who took home the series win as well as the Boxing Day barrel. Second place went to Carlo Falcone, who had to pull out of race 5 with a damaged traveler, with his Caccia Alla Volpe who never ceases to amaze those who would not have believed that a boat of this vintage could be competitive in the racing class (1970’s Valacelli design out of plywood). Third place went to Geoffrey Pidduck on the 6 meter Biwi Magic.
In image: The winning crew of the Melges 24 “Regardless” with helmsman Richard Archer fourth from the right.
Cruising Class was won by Bernie Wong who abandoned his hi tech racer for the very old but solid “Huey Too”, a modified Cal 40 with a long Caribbean record followed by Sandy Mair on the Beneteau “Cricket”. Visiting yacht Topaz, a modern classic, rounded out the entry in cruising and was also awarded the Jack Patterson prize.
Each day was followed by after race reception at the Antigua Yacht Club’s event center. Organizer Richard Archer emphasized at the final awards, the intention of the AYC to maintain the level of local sailing at the Antigua Yacht Club with a solid program in the coming season. Sponsor representative Robbie Ferron explained how this dedication of the Antigua Yacht Club motivates the Caribbean Chandlery Group Budget Marine to continue sponsorship of this long standing Christmas event. Budget Marine operates three chandlery locations in Antigua.
Image: Robbie Ferron raced aboard Liquid during the High tide series coming in 4th in the Racing Class