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Caribbean Regatta Dates for January until May 2005

Super sailing competition, along with breezy trade winds, top-notch race organization, and rum and reggae beach parties are big draws for a growing number of local and visiting sailors. Below, find a preview of the coming Caribbean regatta dates for those who want to campaign their own boats, bareboat or crew.

January 13-16: St. Lucia Regatta

“This is our big regatta of the year, a two day round the island race out of Rodney Bay,” explains Mike Green, commodore of the St. Lucia Yacht Club. From 25 to 30 yachts participate in the race that is heavy in the cruising classes, although other classes include racing and one-design J/24. Nighttime activities feature beach parties, games and prizes. Yacht charters are available from Destination St. Lucia in Rodney Bay or The Moorings in Marigot Bay. For more information: Tel. (758) 452-8350 or (758) 458-2083; Email: regatta@candw.lc

January 28-February 1: LaSource Grenada Sailing Festival

“Pure Sail, Pure Spice” – that’s the theme for this 12th annual event with a signature mix of international yachts – including traditional wooden and bamboo rigged workboats. “We believe this Festival is an important opportunity to show everyone that Grenada is getting back, and as a contribution to this, organizers will be making donations to local charities in lieu of handing out trophies this year,” says organizer, Sarah Baker. Horizon Yacht Charters is fully operational and is taking bookings for dock space from participants. The Grenada Yacht Club is also fully operational. For more information: Tel. (473) 440-4809 or (473) 456-0914; Fax. (473) 440 4811; Email: gsail@caribsurf.com; Web: www.grenadasailingfestival.com

February 19-21: St. Croix International Regatta

This first of the northern Caribbean regattas is held at the St. Croix Yacht Club in Teague Bay.

“In 2005, we expect to see previous years’ competitors and few faces, particularly in multihulls, beach cats, and hopefully, charter boats,” says organizer, Julie San Martin. New this year, Jones Maritime will have boats available for charter. To charter, call: (340) 773-4709 or Email: jones@viaccess.net. Organizers will also again host the 2nd annual Valentine Optimist Regatta on for kids age 15 and under on February 19 and 20. For regatta information: Tel. (340) 773-9531 or (340) 773-1048, Ext. 11 or 12; Email: juliestx@earthlink.net; Web: www.stcroixyc.com

March 4-6: 24th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

“Serious fun” is the buzzword that aptly describes this regatta that celebrates its 25th anniversary. Last year saw 207 entries, with over half representing the bareboat fleet with crews from around the world. Courses traverse the waters surrounding this dual-nation island of Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin, with end-of-day parties in both destinations. New this year, “there will be more culture involved in the parties like Carnival troupes and steelpan bands. To commemorate our anniversary, we’ll be selling a ‘coffee table’ book that will tell the stories of the past 24 regattas. Also, we are inviting all past winners to attend a special Commodores party at our new yacht club facility,” says regatta director Miriam Leffers. For more information: Tel. (011-5995) 44 2079; Fax. (011-5995) 44 2091; Email: regatta@heinekenregatta.com; Web: www.heinekenregatta.com

March 11-13: Puerto Rico International Regatta

Moving back to its popular mid-March time slot, organizer Kike Gonzalez says: “A Breitling Mariner M-1 Watch will be awarded to the first place finisher in each class and a perpetual Breitling Cup will be awarded to the overall Racing winner.” Classes include racing, one-design J/24, racer-cruiser, Jib & Main and beach cats. A swimsuit fashion show, complete with male and female models, is the hit of the shore side festivities. For more information: Tel. (787) 306-5003; Email: info@clubnauticopr.com; Web: www.clubnauticopr.com

March 25-27: International Rolex Regatta

Nearly 100 sleek-sailing yachts from throughout the Caribbean, U.S. mainland and Europe are expected to compete in this event’s 32nd edition, hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC). New Race Director, Tracy Roberts, and guidance from America’s Cup veteran and Olympic medalist Peter Holmberg, who has served as STYC’s commodore for the past year, promises to provide a stellar event on the water and ashore. In fact, a new mix of ‘fixed mark’ and ‘around the buoys’ courses will maximize the island racing experience and provide more racing and less waiting. The Rolex Prize Giving partnered with a “Taste of St. Thomas” farewell party at the STYC is where winning skippers in each class receive a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner watch. For information: Tel. (340) 775-6320; Email: Tracy@springlinearchitects.com; Web: www.rolexcupregatta.com

March 28-April 3: BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival

The new seven-day format of this event has turned the traditional three days of racing action into a week-long sailing festival that takes participants throughout the British Virgin Islands. Hosted out of the Nanny Cay Resort & Marina, there’s a strong bareboat class, with yachts chartered from The Moorings, Stardust Yacht Charters, Horizon Yacht Charters, Conch Charters or Sunsail, and lots of local competition from the Northern Caribbean. Rumor has it that regatta organizers may add dinghy and boardsailing in 2006. For more information: Tel. (284) 494-3286, Email: info@bvispringregatta.org; Web: www.bvispringregatta.org

April 24-30: Antigua Sailing Week

This “grandfather of all Caribbean regattas” saw 211 yachts making the start line last year, twenty-eight of them over 60-plus-footers with the fasting monohull in the world, Mari-Cha IV, leading the action. Organizers are expecting a similar, or greater, quantity and quality of participants this year. Lord Nelson’s Ball marks the finale and prize-giving, so men – pack those blue blazers and ties, and ladies – don you’re finest cocktail dresses and high heels. For information: Tel. (268) 462-8872; Fax. (268) 462-8873; Email: santossailingweek@candw.ag; Web: www.sailingweek.com

May 8-13: Angostura Tobago Sailweek

Now in its third decade, this event is becoming known as one of the most competitive – and friendliest – in the southern Caribbean. Nearly eighty yachts – cruisers, racers, bareboats and liveaboards – met in Store Bay in Tobago for the 2004 edition. Book early for charter yachts through The Moorings and Horizon Yacht Charters. For more information: Tel. (868) 634-4210; Email: regattapromotersltd@tstt.net.tt; Web: www.sailweek.com

May 26-29 Mount Gay/ Boatyard Regatta

Sun-filled days and rum-filled nights – that’s how organizers describe the Mount Gay Rum/Boatyard Regatta. The event offers five competitive races for racers, racer-cruisers and cruisers, plus the right mix of Bajan hospitality and party spirit to make it the highlight of the Barbados sailing season. Though Barbados doesn’t have a public marina, moorings will be available in Carlisle Bay, near the Barbados Yacht Club. The start line will also be in Carlisle Bay, making the event spectator-friendly. Special rates are offered at nearby island hotels. For more information: Email: byc@sunbeach.net; Web: www.sailbarbados.com

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