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Angostura Tobago Sail Week – The Spirit of Racing

Where in the world can you find the perfect blend of superb sailing, fantastic parties and Angostura Rum? Tobago, of course! The Angostura Tobago Sail Week truly captures “the Spirit of Racing”. Starting on the second Sunday in May of each year, the Crown Point Beach Hotel undergoes the transformation from a peaceful look-out over Store Bay to the vibrant hub of the Angostura Tobago Sail Week. The “Regatta Village” at Crown Point encompasses the Regatta Office and Committee Desk; the Angostura bars; “Under the Tent” booths selling everything from ship’s spares to a new bikini; DJ entertainment; and even a temporary jetty with a water-fill service for visiting yachts.Customs and Immigration officials are conveniently on-site during the arrival and departure periods.

You don’t have to be a sailor to enjoy the camaraderie of so many like-minded people. Admission to the parties is free, and hotels in the area are provided with invitations for their guests.If you are going to be in Tobago during the regatta, be sure to ask your hotel, or come on down to the Regatta Office (open from Friday 6th May) to register and be part of the shore-side action.

The regatta attracts sailors of all skill levels.The Racing Class consists of a strong core of serious racers, many of whom have been coming to Tobago since the first regatta twenty-three years ago. The Angostura Tobago Sail Week is perfectly timed between Antigua Sail Week and the regatta in Barbados, just some of the many regattas that make up the Caribbean Racing Calendar.Each one offers a unique flavour, but judging from the reputation of being the “friendliest regatta in the Caribbean” the Angostura Tobago Sail Week has blended off-shore rivalry and on-shore revelry, with a dash of Angostura, for some truly Caribbean fun.

For the equally competent sailors, but those that do not wish to fly spinnaker, there is the Cruiser-Racer class. The Cruising and Comfort Cruising classes have race-courses more amiable to those that would rather not spill their drinks, or tire themselves out before the party begins. That’s not to say that they don’t race to win, but they generally have more fun getting there!

The timing could not be better for those cruisers heading south before the start of the hurricane season. The regatta makes a great stop off on the way to Chaguaramas in Trinidad, which is a favourite for out-haul and repairs, with so many yards to choose from, and an excellent range of quality services.In fact, the regatta will be raffling a free out-haul at Power Boats for visiting yachts (racing or “liming”) that spend the week in Store Bay. To qualify for the draw, they must register with the regatta office on Sunday, and be there on the Friday night prize giving.

The Charter Class is almost a regatta within a regatta, each yacht racing head to head against other yachts of the same design in its class.These are fun-loving people that have chosen Tobago as their vacation destination. They have come for the perfect Caribbean sailing conditions, they have come to a beautiful Caribbean island, and they have come to experience Caribbean hospitality at it’s best. The regatta organizers are in touch with several charter companies that cater to groups that wish to charter a yacht, or individuals who just want a berth.Many charter packages for Tobago include a week’s cruise in the Grenadines, either before or after the regatta.For those short on time, yacht delivery to Tobago is an option, and the island has direct flights from several international destinations. Crown Point International Airport is just five minutes’ walk away.

With most competitors staying in and around Store Bay, there is no shortage of on-shore fun. The race courses are designed to challenge even the hardiest of sailors, but given the steady 15 to 22 knot trade winds, there is plenty time to cool off in the turquoise waters of Store Bay, and head up to the Angostura Bar to join the lively debate on the day’s races, drink in hand, of course!

The Tuesday night DHL “Express Yourself” party is legendary, with the DJ and live band belting out tunes from yesterday and yesteryear, the frenzied crowd joining in. Pepsi sponsored Lay Day is on Wednesday, starting with the “Galley Chefs” competition – a relaxed out-door “cook-up” and tasters for everyone.Then it’s on to the action – limbo – how low can you go? Grab a partner and dance the salsa, or try the hula-hoop, or for the less coordinated, the slip and slide. Then there is the Tobagonian specialty – goat racing, allowing for even the worst sailor to win something!

Each class is awarded prizes every day, so you don’t have to be an overall winner to stand victorious. Of course the highlight of the Regatta is when the sun has set on Friday, the final day of racing, and friends gather in the Regatta Village for the overall prize giving and a sumptuous dinner under the stars. No need for jacket and tie. The imminent dawn departure of most sailors does not quell the need to get the most out of this one last fete, until next year, that is, when we re-live “the Spirit of Racing”.

The Angostura Tobago Sail Week 2005 is scheduled for May 8th to 13th.For more information, visit the website www.sailweek.com or e-mail regattapromotersltd@tstt.net.tt

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