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The 2008 Caribbean Racing Season: April to August

The racing doesn’t stop as spring melts into summer. It just gets more varied (classic yachts to traditional boats), more competitive, and more fun. Here’s a preview of some of the sailing events that will take place in the Caribbean from April through August and how you can take part.

April 17-22: Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.
Nearly 60 classic ketches, sloops, schooners, yachts and traditional island boats ranging from 26-feet to 175-feet are expected to compete in the 21st annual event. “There will be an impressive line up of schooners this year,” says chairman Kenny Coombs. “Windrose, Adella, Altair, Aschanti, Meteor and Eleonora – all over 100-feet – will be having a great race together. Velsheda and Ranger will be sparring together again leading up to an impressive J class event rumored to be coming in 2009 with a couple of newly-launched J class yachts.”

Events will kick-off with registration at the host Antigua Yacht Club on April 15 and 16. Judging for the Concourse d’ Elegance – a competition that awards points to the condition of each yacht including how close she is to her original form – takes place April 17, followed by the Skipper’s Briefing and Welcome Party for the regatta. The rest of the week follows with Tall Ships races, Single-handed race, Parade of Classics in English Harbour, layday beach games and prize giving ceremonies complete with grub, grog and live music.

Coombs adds, “We have a new and improved website this year, which will have some new features as well as online entry and live scoring results.” For more information, contact: Tel/Fax: + 1 (268) 460-1799; Email: info@antiguaclassics.com; Web: www.antiguaclassics.com

April 27-May 3: Stanford Antigua Race Week.
Known as the “grandfather of all Caribbean regattas” and now one of the top five regattas in the world, this event attracts a bevy of bareboaters and international racers alike. It’s also the conclusion of the Caribbean Big Boat Series (CBBS), a trio of events that includes the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. As of January, twenty-five yachts had already signed up for the event. These include perennial favorites like Disco Inferno, Chippewa and Storm, as well as a Russian entry – a Swan 48, Murka.  “One change this year will be moving the larger performance cruisers (Performance Cruiser I, II and III) into Division A,” says organizing committee chairman, Neil Forrester.

On the land side, adds Forrester, “We will not be going to Dickenson Bay this year due to the increased development. The big beach bash is instead being moved to Fort James, which will allow us a lot more flexibility and I hope we will see a great day.”

Lord Nelson’s Ball marks the finale and prize-giving. Men, pack those blue blazers and ties. Ladies, don your finest cocktail dresses and high heels. Charter yachts are available from Horizon Yacht Charters and Sunsail, as well as a number of crew positions on chartered yachts. For information: Tel. (268) 462-8872; Email: santossailingweek@candw.ag; Web: www.sailingweek.com

May 9-11: Anguilla Regatta.
Seven competitive races are expected over the three-day weekend, for classes that include Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, Bareboat, Multihull and Open. Other highly anticipated events-within-the-event are the ‘Battle of the Banks’, the race between St. Maarten’s 12-Meter yachts, and the Sir Bobby Velasquez Anguilla Boat Race in which crews on fiberglass production yachts are invited to race on Anguilla’s famed and fast wooden sloops. On Sunday, a demonstration race is expected to showcase the skills of young Optimist dinghy sailors from the Anguilla Sailing Association.

As in past years, the center of racing will be in Road Bay, while parties are to be held on the neighboring beach at Sandy Ground. There will be entertainment every evening on the beach and in several of the Sandy Ground restaurants. Local vendors will be on hand selling barbecued delights and native dishes. For information: Email: regatta@sailanguilla.com

May 11-16: Angostura Tobago Race Week.
Now in its 26th year and sailed out of Store Bay, Tobago, this event is known as one of the most competitive and friendly in the southern Caribbean. “One thing Tobago Sail Week always has is breeze,” says manager, Betty Davidson. “The regatta provides races at varying levels of competitiveness from the Racing Class, at the extreme end, to Racer Cruiser to Cruiser to Charter class in diminishing levels of demand. Half way through the regatta, there is always a ‘lay day’ for enjoying a bit of fun and relaxation. If the rest of the week is about serious sailing, Lay Day is about real fun.”
 
Yachts last year hailed from Barbados, Antigua, USA, UK, France, and of course, Trinidad & Tobago. “You would be hard pressed to find a more highly tuned fleet of racing yachts in the Caribbean than those registered at Angostura Tobago Sail Week,” says Davidson. For more information: Tel. (868) 634-4210; Email: regattapromotersltd@tstt.net.tt; Web: www.sailweek.com

May 23-25: 34th Annual Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta.
You don’t need to wait until the famous New Year’s Eve party at Foxy’s to have good time on Jost Van Dyke, BVI. Foxy’s Wooden Boat regatta is set for May, where some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful and competitive traditional and contemporary yachts will do battle for trophies and prizes out on the sea. Friday night kicks off with a registration party at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar where the famous Calypsonian will entertain with his ribald ditties. Racing is Saturday and Sunday. For information, visit: www.weyc.net

August 3-10: 42nd Carriacou Regatta Festival.
Everything from serious yacht racing to beachside donkey races, greasy pole climbs, and netball competitions highlight the annual Carriacou Regatta Festival, held off Grenada’s northern offshore island of Carriacou. “We’re going to continue to place an emphasis on our local culture and traditions, and as usual, focus on our work boat races,” says Dexter Leggett, president of the regatta committee.

Established in 1965 by the late Linton J. Riggs, a Jamaican-born yachtsman who settled on the 15-mile-long island in the early 1950s, the festival began as a mere boat racing event commemorating the Emancipation holiday weekend and has now grown to include a large number of sporting and cultural activities. The regatta itself however focuses mainly on the locally built ‘workboats’ with some ten different classes ranging from 14 to 35 feet in length.

On-shore activities include road races, a Miss Wet T-Shirt contest, and Miss Aquaval Queen Show with participation from Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, Barbados, Canouan, Union Island and host Carriacou. For information: Tel. (473) 443-7930 or (473) 443-7948; Fax. (473) 443-6127; Email: ccouregatta@caribsurf.com;

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