Caribbean Racing Season 2017: January to March

RORC Caribbean 600. Photo: RORC Caribbean 600/ELWJ Photography

Here’s what, where, when and how you can jump aboard during the peak Caribbean racing season.

January 16-24:
Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series

Break records on January 21 at the 81st Mount Gay Round Barbados Race. “We have 14 records and breaking any of them wins your skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Extra Old,” says regatta director Alene Dholakia. “You don’t need a MOD 70 or a Volvo 70. “We have records for J/24s, single handed sailors, 40 foot and under yachts, windsurfers and more.” The Series also includes three days of coastal racing and the Ocean Passage Race to Antigua. www.mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com

 

January 30 – February 4:
Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week

Two venues, four racing days, six party nights. Once more starting from Grenada Yacht Club then moving to Secret Harbour Marina, Mt. Hartman Bay, for the layday, the final race days and the grand finale party. “We are excited to be showing Vanishing Sails, the award-winning documentary on traditional boat building, on our layday,” says regatta manager Karen Stiell. “The passion of the film appeals to all classes from classics to racing and we feel sure our sailors will be energized and inspired before continuing racing on the more challenging south coast.” grenadasailingweek.com

 

Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week
Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week

February 2 – 5:
Superyacht Challenge Antigua

Nearly a dozen magnificent superyachts enjoy highly-competitive pursuit races along the island’s south shore. The perpetual Gosnell Trophy, introduced last year and donated by the superyacht Timoneer, is back. “The yacht that sails hard with the equipment available while representing the yacht well ashore wins. It’s the regatta’s big prize,” says media manager Louay Habib. superyachtchallengeantigua.com

February 3 – 5:
Pan Pepin International Dinghy Regatta

Over 100 Optimist, Laser, 420 and Sunfish sailors set sail out of Club Nautico de San Juan in Puerto Rico. “The weather in San Juan in February, the Club’s facilities, the San Juan Bay venue, and the competitiveness of our sailors and the work of our organizers makes this a memorable event,” says Jose Teixidor, chairman of the Club’s sailing academy. www.academiadevela.com

February 10-12: Tour de Martinique

The Yacht Club de Martinique, Club Nautique Neptune and Club Nautique du Marin combine efforts to host this event. “This regatta can be challenging – 200 nautical miles in three days with 100 nautical miles on the last day, and tactical due to Mount Pelee and the winds. All boats are welcome and you can enjoy Martinique’s Carnival during this same time,” invites regatta director Claude Granel. www.theroundmartinique.com

 

Jolly Harbour Valentine Regatta
Jolly Harbour Valentine Regatta

February 10-12: Jolly Harbour Yacht Club Valentine’s Regatta

Racing jumpstarts on Friday with an afternoon race and special prizes. Over 30 boats from the Caribbean and UK sail seven races over the two-day weekend. “Plus, on February 14 we run the Round Redonda Race. It’s a prelude to the RORC 600 giving boats an idea of one of the race’s legs,” says commodore Grahame Williams. www.jhycantigua.com

February 17 – 19:
Sweethearts of the Caribbean & Classic Yacht Regatta

Schooners, Classics (30+years) and Wannabees (25+years) are invited. Every boat wins a prize. “We now have the sons and daughter of sailors who met at The Sweethearts, married and will back for another Sweethearts,” says John Hayes, secretary of host West End Yacht Club. www.facebook.com/groups/weycbvi

February 20: RORC Caribbean 600

Record entries are expected for this 600 mile, 11 Caribbean island race, according to spokesperson Trish Jenkins. This means over 70 yachts in IRC, CSA, Multihull, Spirit of Tradition and Superyacht classes. caribbean600.rorc.org 

 

Schoelcher Regatta, Martinique
Schoelcher Regatta, Martinique

February 24 – 28: Schoelcher International Sailing Week

The biggest small boat regatta in the Caribbean, over 180 entries compete in Optimists, Lasers 4.7 and Radial, Beach Cats, Sunfish, Windsurf Bic 293 and Race Boards in Martinique. “New is an Optimist clinic before the regatta taught by Antiguan coach Magnus Brun,” says director Michel Zougs. www.cnschoelcher.net

 

Swan Rolex Caribbean Cup, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Virgin Gorda
Swan Rolex Caribbean Cup, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Virgin Gorda

March 1 – 5: Swan Rolex Caribbean Cup

Rolex, Nautor’s Swan and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Virgin Gorda, BVI, team up to host this third biennial event. Over 20 yachts are expected. “This regatta, although highly competitive, is characterized by the friendly atmosphere of the Swan ‘family’ who enjoy meeting at regattas, rallies and rendezvous around the world,” says Jill Campbell, for YCCS press and marketing. www.yccs.it/en/

 

Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta. Photo: Laurens Morel
Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta. Photo: Laurens Morel

March 2: Gill Commodore’s Cup
March 3 – 5: St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

New, one-design classes in the Gill Commodore’s Cup can combine results with the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta to make a four-day regatta, according to spokesperson and former regatta director Heather Court. New too is the invitation only Heineken Star race on March 6, nightly as well as final prize giving, an all-inclusive package for beach cat sailors and acceptance of performance boats using ORCi and ORC Sportboat handicaps. “We have received verbal confirmation from five former Volvo Ocean Racers and will be offering an ‘Ocean’ class, the only Caribbean regatta to do so,” says Court. heinekenregatta.com

March 3 – 6: Dark & Stormy Regatta

Race from Marina Cay to Anegada, then Anegada to Tortola. “There will be layday beach activities at the Anegada Reef Hotel,” says John Hayes, secretary of host West End Yacht Club. www.facebook.com/groups/weycbvi

March 7: YCCS 50th Anniversary Regatta

A new permanent Challenge Trophy is up for grabs in celebration of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s commemoration in Virgin Gorda. “The event is a ‘festival of sail’ open to all sailing yachts over 40 feet in length,” says YCCS’s Campbell. www.yccs.it/en/

 

Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta Rendezvous
Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta Rendezvous

March 10 – 13: Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta Rendezvous

This superyacht favorite held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Virgin Gorda welcomes some of the world’s largest sail and motoryachts “Freya, Highland Fling, Nikata and Wild Horses are among entries,” says YCCS’s Campbell. www.yccs.it/en/

 

St. Barth Bucket - J Class Yacht Topaz. Photo: Pantaenius Yacht Insurance / M Kurtz
St. Barth Bucket – J Class Yacht Topaz. Photo: Pantaenius Yacht Insurance / M Kurtz

March 16-19:St. Barths Bucket Regatta

Over half dozen J Class yachts and the 288-foot schooner Maltese Falcon are a few entries. New is a Corinthian Spirit Class. “The Bucket has evolved over the years, with larger fleets and expanded shoreside offerings, yet the event continues to focus on its original camaraderie and non-commercial spirit,” says organizer Jeanne Kleene. http://www.bucketregatta.com/

 

St. Thomas International Regatta. Photo: Dean Barnes
St. Thomas International Regatta. Photo: Dean Barnes

March 23: Round the Rocks Race
March 24 – 26: St. Thomas International Regatta

Big cats roam! Four Gunboats, a Bieker 53 and HH66 were already registered by November. “We expect to have more one-design classes this year, including Melges 20s and C&C 30s as well as our IC24 class,” says regatta director, Chuck Pessler. Shoreside action heats up with beach games, live music and food by day and parties nightly. www.stthomasinternationalregatta.com

 

BVI Spring Regatta
BVI Spring Regatta

March 27 – April 2: BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival

Eighteen classes, including high-performance race boats, cruisers, catamarans and bareboats, offer something for everyone. “This year, Nanny Cay will have plenty of room with their new dock space. We are very much looking forward to help promote the new marina for deeper draft boats as well and those with wider beams!” says regatta director Judy Petz. www.bvispringregatta.org

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