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Get Ready for the Granddaddy of Caribbean Racing

The 38th Antigua Sailing Week, to be held April 24 to 30, can’t come around soon enough for any of those who’ve competed in previous years. Antigua’s splendid combination of tough offshore racing and elegantly boisterous parties set against a historic backdrop are, for many, the highlight of the Caribbean racing calendar.

Last year, 211 boats registered for the event, with an impressive 85 bareboats and a delicious 28 Swans. The highlight was the participation of the world’s fastest monohull, Mari-Cha IV, who first thundered across the Atlantic, then smashed the Guadeloupe to Antigua record in the race that precedes the Regatta.

Around 200 to 250 yachts are expected this year, with entries ranging from 24 feet to 100 and over. As always, the regatta is expected to pull in a host of top Americas Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Olympic sailors to do battle off Dickenson Bay, the South Coast and Jolly Harbour. With six days’ racing in total, Antigua provides a full test of both physical and technical capability. If the winds are as strong as last year, local sail makers will be busy and the fourth day lay day will provide a welcome break for crews.

Battle will commence on April 24th with racing off Dickenson Bay, resuming on the 25th with a Windward / Leeward Course and Jolly Harbour Race. April 26th is the Around the Island race, followed by a much needed
Lay day on the 27th. With thirst suitably refreshed, it’ll be back to the rail on the 28th for another Windward Leeward course and racing off Antigua’s magnificent South Coast. Part of the appeal of Sailing Week is that the fun isn’t restricted to the water. A wealth of excellent lookout points at places such as Shirley Heights means spectators are kept busy, too.

April 29th is slated for the Ocean Race, then the week concludes on the 30th with the 3rd annual Bareboat Challenge Championship, in recognition of Antigua’s increasing appeal to the division. Nothing could be more typically Antiguan than the evening’s Lord Nelson’s Ball. In the spirit of the island’s Naval history, attendees can wilt with sophistication in Black Tie and Cocktail Dresses to round off the week with something more memorable than a beer or two.

The action will be spread out over Nelson’s Dockyard, Dickenson Bay, Jolly Harbour and Falmouth Harbour across the week, providing a variety of watering holes. Entry forms are now available on the ASW website www.sailingweek.com or by contacting the office on (268) 462 8872. Whether you’re first time crew or a seasoned racing veteran, Antigua, like any good granddaddy, has plenty to
learn from.

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