The Caribbean’s sailboat racing scene stays hot as winter gives way to spring and summer. There are events for everything from maxi and classic yachts to West Indian workboats, production sport and cruising boats and even dinghies.
April 4-6: Les Voiles de Saint Barth. Over 40 yachts in five classes had already registered by February. The big fun will be to watch the SuperMaxi duel between Leopard 3, a 100-foot Farr, and Rambler 100, a Kouyoumdjian design. Ashore, the regatta village hosts top island chefs, wine tastings, live music and a replay of the day’s racing on a giant screen. www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com
April 14-19: Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. This premier regatta welcomes 50 to 60 ketches, sloops, schooners, yawls and traditional craft. “We expect Rebecca, Elena, Velsheda, Ranger and Marie in the big boat class, and the return of Stormy Weather and Bolero with Galatea and Mariella in the vintage class,” says regatta director, Kenny Coombs. It’s the kick-off of the 2011 Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2011, an international classic yacht circuit. www.antiguaclassics.com
April 21-25: Bequia Heineken Easter Regatta. A new title sponsor and tried-and-true racing for Racing, Cruising, non-CSA rated boats, 25-foot Surprise boats out of Martinique and J/24s put this regatta on many sailors’ calendars. “United Insurance, new on board as a sponsor of the Bequia Regatta this year, will sponsor the J24 United Insurance Challenge on Easter Saturday. The winner of that day’s three race series will receive a special United Insurance trophy,” says organizer Nicola Redway. “In addition, the Overall Winner of the J24 Class in Bequia this year will be crowned J24 Southern Caribbean Champion 2011 and will be awarded a special trophy from the J24 Southern Caribbean Council at Bequia Regatta’s grand prizegiving.” Layday festivities include a mega beach splash, sandcastle competition and crazy craft races. www.begos.com/easterregatta
April 21-25: Around Guadeloupe Regatta. Some 50 boats, everything from Swan 62s to sport-sized mono and multihulls, will leapfrog their way around Guadeloupe and its archipelago. “If the wind is favorable we will run the Round Desirade race,” says Jean Michel Marzio, president of the Triskell organization. Nightly celebrations feature traditional music, folklore and festivities native to each municipality along the route.
April 24-29: 44th Antigua Sailing Week. Changes in store for this ‘Granddaddy of Caribbean Regattas’ include a combination of windward-leeward and coastal courses and varied course lengths to suit the large variety of yachts entered. In addition, the Guadeloupe Race will remain as a feeder race but won’t be part of the Ocean Series. While there won’t be a Redonda Race, there will be additional courses specifically for ocean going and high performance yachts. “We think the sailors will be very pleased with the many changes we have planned for the regatta,” says Kathy Lammers, chairman of the Race Organizing Committee in a release. www.sailingweek.com
TBD End April/beginning of May: St. Lucia J/24 Open Championship. This traditionally-held fall fleet racing regatta sailed in Rodney Bay moves to spring. “The advantage,” says organizer Michael Green, “is that holding it after Bequia and before Barbados would enable us to start a three leg J24 event. This means three regattas with up to twenty J24s on the start line.” www.stluciayachtclub.com
May 6-8: Anguilla Regatta. Production boats, West Indies workboats and local Anguilla class boats all compete in this fun-filled regatta where racing is a mix of round-the-buoy and short triangular courses. “Regatta headquarters is located in Sandy Ground, home to some of Anguilla’s best nightlife,” says organizer, Steve Donahue. Regatta proceeds benefit the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club, which has taught sailing to over 200 of the island’s young people. www.anguillaregatta.com
May 12-15: The Mount Gay Rum Barbados Regatta. Sixteen J24s and up to 40 Racers, Cruisers and Melges sport boats will compete in this well-run regatta based in and out of Carlisle Bay. “This year Mount Gay will create a Village at the Barbados Yacht Club and every night there will be a different theme,” says administrator Peter Marshall. “The on shore activities are always lots of fun.” www.sailbarbados.com
May 20-22: Captain Oliver’s Regatta. Six classes, including racing and cruising mono and multihulls, will race around St. Maarten/St. Martin the first day and in the channel between the dual-island nation and St. Barths the second. In addition, there’s a Corporate Challenge class. “This is a unique opportunity for any company to offer their staff or clients an adventurous weekend of fun as well as market the company,” says Rikke Speetjens, regatta coordinator. Entry fee for the Corporate Challenge is $1800, which includes the three-day rental of a 44-foot Sunsail yacht and registration fee. Organizers can provide professional skippers, if needed. www.coyc-sxm.com
May 27-29: Puerto Rico Vela Cup. Enter in one of nine classes, everything from Racing to Jib and Main, one-design J/24 and IC24 and Beach Cats and enjoy competitive sailing in windy waters off Puerto Rico’s East Coast. Nightly parties boast plenty of ‘amistoso’ or friendly hospitality. www.puertoricovelacup.com
June 18-19: Marlow Caribbean Keelboat Championships. Teams from throughout the Caribbean will compete aboard SunFast 20s in Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten. “Good close racing among the top Caribbean sailors in one-design boats is what makes this event so much fun,” says organizer Cary Byerley. http://www.smyc.com/
June 24-26: Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta. Over 100 junior sailors from the Caribbean, U.S. and Europe sail in this largest Optimist event in the Caribbean. “This year we have five sailors coming from New Zealand,” says director Margo Lynch. The three-day Sea Star Clinic and one-day Sea Star Team Race take place in the run up to the regatta. www.styc.net
July 24-August 1: 45th Carriacou Regatta Festival. Everything from serious yacht racing to beachside donkey races, greasy pole climbs and netball competitions will highlight the Carriacou Regatta Festival, set for July 24 to August 1, on Grenada’s northern offshore island of Carriacou.
TBD September: Caribbean Dinghy Championships. The Antigua Yacht Club hosts this annually-anticipated team event open to all Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) member yacht clubs. “The Championships are not just for youth,” says CSA president Cary Byerley, “Adults can sail in the Lasers and the Sports 16.” For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.