Caribbean Regatta Schedule 2006
Hot island-hopping competition, complete with rum and reggae beach parties, is what you’ll find on the Caribbean regatta
schedule this season. Here’s a preview of the action for those who want to campaign their own boats, crew, or even armchair participate via the Internet.
December 20-23: St. Lucia Christmas Sailing Festival
Cruisers taking part in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, visiting cruisers and local sailors alike will race through the holidays – literally – during the St. Lucia Yacht Club’s third annual St. Lucia Christmas Sailing Festival. “There will be something for everyone, from good food and great parties to fun filled sailing events, along with some serious sailing for all those racers out there,” says Commodore Michael Green. One of the highlights will be a racing treasure hunt, held in two parts, with both a sea and shore component that skips down the west coast of the island to Marigot Bay. A beach barbecue and live music follows with fireworks capping off the finale.
January 27-January 31: LaSource Grenada Sailing Festival
“Pure Sail, Pure Spice” – that’s the theme for this 13th annual event with a signature mix of international yachts – including traditional wooden and bamboo rigged workboats. “ Trinidad’s Paul Solomon, Overall Winner of the 2005 LaSource Grenada Sailing Festival has confirmed that he will be on the start line in Enzyme to defend his title at the 2006 Festival. All early indications are for a great Racing Class, as Enzyme will be joined by 2005 runner-up, Whistler, with her competitive crew from Barbados looking to reverse the result, plus, news is just in that Disco Inferno, the Beneteau 47.7 owned by Matt and Liz Abbiss, will be making her way over from the UK to compete for the third year running,” says organizer Sarah Baker.
The 2006 Festival is based at True Blue Bay Resort & Marina and the race schedule will again feature the ComNavNX2 Cup, sponsored by Canada’s ComNav Marine Ltd., who joined the event for the first time in 2005 as a new official Festival sponsor. The Mount Gay,
Heineken and LaSource Race Series will also be run on the Saturday, Monday and Tuesday of the event. The ever popular and traditional
Cable & Wireless Work Boat Regatta will also be a high spot of the four day Festival, with some fiercely competitive racing off Grand Anse Beach on Saturday and Sunday 28 and 29 January – this is the event that proves sailing can be a spectator sport.
February 18-20: St. Croix International Regatta
The St. Croix Yacht Club will launch the return of the CORT series of races with its 13th Annual International Regatta. CORT, short for the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle series, will now include the Culebra, Puerto Rico International Regatta and British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta. “We’re excited about the reactivation of the CORT series, and about being the first Regatta,” says Julie San Martin, director of the St. Croix Regatta.
Sailors may participate in the three-race series by paying an entry fee of $50 (in addition to the standard fees charged for the individual races) by February 17 during registration for the St. Croix event. CORT prizes will be awarded at the end of the BVI Spring Regatta in Tortola on Sunday, April 2.
Sailors from all three CORT venues, and from other islands, are expected to return to the St. Croix regatta to defend their 2005 positions. Last year’s overall St. Croix winner was a St. Thomas boat, Magnificent Seven, skippered by John Foster who received the traditional prize of the skipper’s weight in Cruzan Rum. Boat classes are Racing, Racer/Cruiser, Cruiser, IC-24, Beach Cat and Large Multi-hull. The IC-24 category debuted in this regatta last year with five participants.
Organizers will again host a simultaneous two-day Valentine Optimist Regatta for kids aged 15 and under, a nifty event that hopefully will provide up-and-coming crew for future adult regattas. New this year, Jones Maritime will have boats available for charter. To charter, call: (340) 773-4709 or Email: [email protected].
March 3-5: St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Twenty-six years of “Serious Fun” in the Caribbean are being celebrated this year with the launch of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Growing from a handful of local boats into a not-to-be-missed celebration of sailing and the biggest Caribbean regatta of them all, this stellar sailing event spans three days of sailing, parties, more sailing and more parties in a format that has proven to be enduringly popular. Organizers are looking forward to a record high 265-yacht participation, including what may well be a first-ever one-design Beneteau 40.7 First class. New this year, says regatta director Mirian Leffers-Ebbers, “the Saturday race course will change slightly. In the morning, the Spinnaker classes will race on an upwind downwind course outside of Philipsburg, probably doing two races each in the morning, depending on the wind, and in the afternoon race to Marigot to finish there with the other classes. Sailing courses
traverse the waters surrounding this dual-nation island of Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin, with end-of-day parties in both destinations.
March 17-19: Culebra International Regatta
Debuting last year to an enthusiastic attendance from island sailors, the Culebra International Regatta will again be hosted out of the Costa Bonita Resort. This second leg in the CORT series will feature a first time Snipe class. Sailors in the beach cat, Snipe and Laser classes will use this event as a qualifier for the Central American Games, while Optimist sailors will see it as a qualifier for the North American Championships to be held in Ponce, Puerto Rico next year. Native boats or chalanas will be added to the regular boat classes.
March 24-26: St Thomas International Rolex Regatta
Known as the “Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing”, nearly 100 sleek-sailing yachts from throughout the Caribbean, U.S. mainland and Europe are expected to compete in this event’s 33rd edition, hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC). The event features handicap and one-design racing in a beautiful setting; professional race management; and dependable Caribbean tradewinds. On the social agenda are festive shoreside events and the Rolex Prize Giving partnered with a beachside farewell party at the Yacht Club. With over three decades of history, the tradition of a Rolex watch awarded to every class winner still stands. Last year’s race from Cowpet Bay to Charlotte Amalie Harbor and back will be repeated but augmented by some IC-24 match racing. This will show the racers St. Thomas’s beautiful capital and afford the islanders and visitors alike a flavor of competitive sailing.
For information, contact regatta co-directors Tracy Roberts at Tel. (340) 777-2345 or [email protected] or Colin Probyn at Tel. 340-690-3000 or
March 27-April 2: BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival
Three days of destination cruising, racing and layday fun, in, around, to and from Virgin Gorda’s enclosed North Sound lead up to the main three-day regatta which takes place on the south side of Tortola in the Sir Francis Drake Channel on three different courses. “The seven-day format has turned the traditional three days of racing action into a week-long sailing festival that takes participants throughout the British Virgin Islands,” explains Bob Phillips, chairman of the BVI Spring Regatta committee. Hosted out of the Nanny Cay Resort & Marina, this year’s 35th annual event, which is the last leg of the CORT series, will see the one design course split into two. Sailboards and Beach Cats will race on one course, while IC24s and Lasers will race on the other. This will bring the total number of courses to four. In addition, Sailboards and Beach Cats will have some “point to point” races and the raceboats on the Cooper
course may have some “round the rocks” courses. New this year, too, competitors will be able to order sandwiches for each day’s race the
night before and food will be delivered in the morning before the boats leave the dock. For more information: Tel. (284) 494-3286, Email: [email protected]; Web: www.bvispringregatta.org
April 30-May 6: Rolex Antigua Sailing Week
This year, the Antigua Hotel and Tourist Association (AHTA) announces that Rolex will be the title sponsor of the event. “For decades, Rolex has had a prominent profile in the sailing world among racing enthusiasts,” says Neil Forrester, AHTA general manager and Rolex Antigua Sailing Week chairman, “and we are excited about the opportunities that this partnership will allow us. As the ‘Grandaddy’ of regattas in the Caribbean, we offer some of the best sailing conditions in the world at one of the most beautiful venues. Rolex brings its well known touch of excellence to the mix.”
Forrester added that Rolex Antigua Sailing Week has evolved from a regatta for local yachtsmen to an international event that spans five racing days, with an additional Bareboat Championship Race on a sixth day. It attracts an average of 200 yachts, over 1500 participants, 5000 spectators and some of the biggest, fastest and most impressive sailing yachts in the world, packed with
Olympic, America’s Cup and Around the World sailors. For 2006, A Division will consist of Racing, Big Boat and Racer/Cruiser (with spinnaker) classes, while B Division will consist of Performance Cruiser (Spinnaker), Cruiser and Bareboat classes. The action takes place on the sheltered waters of the Caribbean as well as in the large “rollers” of the Atlantic Ocean.
The racing agenda for A Division includes a complete circumnavigation of the island, with scenic layovers on Antigua’s south and west coasts, including Dickenson Bay and Jolly and Falmouth Harbours.