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January to March 2010 Winter Regatta Preview

When its gets cold up north, the racing turns hot in the Caribbean. Below are highlights of several regattas that take place from January through March. For a full calendar of events, visit www.allatsea.net.

January 13-February 21: Southern Caribbean Regatta Circuit. This three-race series starts with the Carriacou Sailing Series (January 13–16), includes the Grenada Sailing Festival (January 29-February 2), and concludes with the Tobago Carnival Regatta (February 18– 21). www.sailingcarriacou.com, www.grenadasailingfestival.com and www.sailweek.com

January 23-24: Antigua Yacht Club’s Round the Island Race. There’s a new format, says Elizabeth Jordan, AYC Commodore. “We will start earlier and complete the circuit on Saturday, starting and finishing off Falmouth Harbour.” A Saturday night party precedes short course racing on Sunday with lunch and prize giving to follow. The course record, set in 2001, is held by Wild Horses, a 72-foot “W” Class yacht, with a time of four hours and 53 minutes. yachtclub@candw.ag and www.antiguayachtclub.com

January 27-30: The Superyacht Cup Antigua. This big boat regatta based out of Nelson’s Dockyard moves its dates from December to January. “The Antigua event has grown in popularity over the three years since it started but the big increase in numbers appears to be due to moving the regatta to the end of January when most schedules are not so busy,” announced event organizer Patrick Whetter in a press release. Yachts signed up include the Frers-designed 137-foot Rebecca, the 124-foot Briand-designed Perini Navi, P2, and the 78-foot W-class yachts, Wild Horses and White Wings. patrick@thesuperyachtcup.com and www.thesuperyachtcup.com

January 29-February 2: Grenada Sailing Festival presented by Port Louis and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas. New this year will be two weekends of sailing rather than one. Four days of international yacht racing off the island’s southern coast will kick off on the 29th, where sailors will find longer courses, new deep-water marks, and one day of racing dedicated to an Ocean Race and an extended South Coast Ocean Triangle. Traditional workboats will compete in the Grenada Sailing Festival Digicel Work Boat Regatta on February 6 and 7. gsail@spiceisle.com and www.grenadasailingfestival.com

February 6-16: Route du Carnaval – Martinique to St. Lucia to Petit Saint and Transcaraibes – Dominican Republic to Cuba. This rally launches from Marina Bas du Fort in Guadeloupe and finishes at the Marina Marlin Cienfuegos in Cuba. Event coordinator Stephane Legendre says, “Conviviality, fun and adventure are the master words of this event. In addition, a humanitarian operation will again take place for the Haitian orphans in coordination with the Rotary Club of Saint Martin.”

February 13-14: Budget Marine Valentine’s Day Regatta at JHYC. The beauty of this regatta, says sponsor Robbie Ferron, “is the ease of participation. Participating boats can dock in Jolly Harbour, start the racing just outside the harbour, and on return get to the social headquarters at the Foredeck bar with the minimum of land transport.” Ferron adds, “Poul Hoj Jensen, the Dragon world champion has indicated his interest in getting a fleet of Dragons to race the event this year.” www.jhycantigua.com

February 19-21: The St. Croix Yacht Club Hospice Regatta. A new name and new beneficiary highlight this event, where the winner of the Spinnaker A class will be nominated to compete in the invitational National Hospice Championship in Rochester, New York, June 3-6, 2010. Another first, says regatta director Julie San Martin, “we will provide real time scoring with provisional results available at the end of each race.” www.stcroixregatta.com

February 20-26: RORC Caribbean 600 Offshore Race. This 605-mile race around the islands that starts and ends in Antigua welcomes a star-studded fleet. Race record holder, the 100-foot ICAP Leopard, as well as the STP 65, Rosebud, and Tom Hill’s new RP 75, Titan, will compete. caribbean600@rorc.org.uk and www.rorc.org

February 26-28. South Grenada Regatta. Over 20 racing, cruising, multihull, fun, and J/24 class yachts are expected to sail in this three-race regatta based out of Le Phare Bleu Marina. Free berthing is available. There are also junior sailing events, a pirate’s trail, 15 HP dinghy time trial and live music. www.southgrenadaregatta.com

March 4-7: St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The Budget Marine Match Racing Cup will kick-off the event with prize money totaling $10,000, with three days of racing following. “This year the event will celebrate the 30th edition,” says regatta director, Heather Tackling. “We have it from good sources that many of the big boats that skipped out of some racing last year will be back, as well as some new big names.” www.heinekenregatta.com

March 12-14: Grenada Round-The-Island Race. While seasoned sailors make their way around the island on Saturday, says organizer Roger Spronk, “the youth sailors of Grenada will display their sailing skills in a mini race with the goal of promoting youth interest in sailing.” On Sunday, there’s “A Taste of Grenada” set beachside as well as a Bathtub Derby. grenadaroundtheislandrace@gmail.com and www.aroundgrenada.com

March 18-21: Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta. The former Culebra Heineken International Regatta has a new name and new home at the Palmas del Mar Yacht Club in Humacao. “We’ll offer three days of racing and a mix of windward-leeward courses for the one-design and racing classes,” says regatta director Angel Ayala. “We may run a distance race to Vieques for some classes.” www.prheinekenregatta.com

March 26-28: 37th International Rolex Regatta. Several boats are already signed up to race in this event that offers one-design, CSA, IRC and multihull racing. Regatta co-director, John Sweeney says this includes “a Tripp 70, a number of IRC 52s including ’09 winner Vincitore, and Tom Hill on his latest Titan.” Yacht Haven Grande and American Yacht Harbor will provide free dockage for competitors while space lasts. Winners of select classes will pocket a Rolex watch. stycisv@gmail.com or directors@rolexcupregatta.com and www.rolexcupregatta.com

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