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Antigua Bermuda Race slow but still intense

Vying for a podium place: Jeremi Jablonski’s Hanse 43 Avanti at the start of the Antigua Bermuda Race (Photograph by Ted Martin)

After enjoying three days of exhilarating fast racing conditions in the Atlantic Ocean, high pressure enveloped Bermuda and the surrounding seas, producing light downwind conditions for the international fleet.

While the fleet has slowed, the intensity of the competition has not diminished, with a strong battle developing for the podium for both the International Racing Certificate and Caribbean Sailing Association classes, with fresh breeze expected to lift the fleet to the finish.

Vying for the podium in the IRC division is Jeremi Jablonski’s American Hanse 43 Avanti. The team were runners-up in 2017. Avanti is 121 miles from the finish.

“A tough day on the water it was — not much wind would be an understatement,” Jablonski wrote in his blog on Sunday. “After sunset we are seeing more stable wind from the E-ESE. Code — 0 with a staysail works quite well. Getting tired, but all good.”

Avanti is estimated to be under two hours ahead of Giles Redpath’s British Lombard 46 Pata Negra, skippered by Oliver Heer, which is 98 miles from Bermuda.

Arnt Bruhns’s German Class40 Iskareen was expected to finish the race about sunset yesterday. The team of four crew will be the third to finish in IRC and challenging for the podium.

Eric de Turckheim’s French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine is retired from the race. The crew and yacht arrived safely in Bermuda in the early hours of yesterday.

“One of our crew members needs to get back to Europe within the shortest delay for personal reasons,” Teasing Machine’s Laurent Pages said. “The weather conditions are not allowing us to reach Bermuda in racing mode. We are all disappointed not to be able to finish the race, but as a team we agreed this is the best solution. The entire team would like to thank the organisers and all the passionate volunteers that have contributed and helped with the running of this Antigua Bermuda Race.”