2009 Preview: Caribbean Spring Regattas – Part Two

Winter racing gives way to spring and summer regattas that lead right up to hurricane season. What’s nice is that these events are spread throughout the Caribbean island chain, offer a wide range of opportunities from hard core racing to cruise or rally-style racing, incorporate production as well as native-built boats and basically offer something for everyone. Of course, the common theme is a love of being on the water by day and great parties at night!

Here’s a sampling of what’s happening from April through August:

April 3-5: BVI Spring Regatta.

‘Warm water – hot racing’, is the tag line of this northern Caribbean regatta that sees over 100 entries each year and hosts the finale of both VI Race Week and the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle (C.O.R.T.) Series. New this year, regatta organizers are hiring all night security for beach cats, hoping to strengthen this class’s participation. Registration information, the NOR, and ‘Crew Wanted’ listing is available online. Tel: 284-494-3286; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.bvispringregatta.org

April 4-28: 10th Transcaraibes Guadeloupe to Cuba Race.

This three-week cruising rally takes sailors from Guadeloupe to Cuba with stops in St. Martin, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica along the way. Cuba’s Marina Cienfuegos, located about 160 miles SE of Havana, is the ultimate destination. This destination hosts several international regattas, fishing tournaments and speedboat races each year. Cost per person is $500 US. Tel: +590 (0) 690-494-590; Email: [email protected]

April 9-13: Bequia Easter Regatta

The sailing is intense here in everything from native-built double-enders to fast production boats such J/24s and Hobie 33s. There’s loads of fun off the water as well – a sandcastle-building competition and crazy craft race – as well as nightly parties. Email: [email protected];

April 16-21: Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.

Some 50 to 60 yachts – traditional island crafts, classic ketches, sloops, schooners, and yawls – along with the stunningly beautiful Spirit of Tradition yachts, J Class yachts, and Tall Ships, will compete in this 22nd annual regatta. This year, registration is only $5 US per foot on deck up until April 1, 2009. Email: [email protected]; Web: www.antiguaclassics.com

April 26-May 2: Stanford Antigua Sailing Week

A new schedule, new race management and a new ‘official clothing supplier’ are the latest changes for the 2009 event that’s hailed as the ‘Granddaddy of Caribbean Regattas’. Racing will get underway a day earlier for the racing and cruising fleets, starting on April 25. There will then follow five full days of racing. GWM Racing Ltd. has been brought onboard to advise and assist in all aspects of race management.

Neil Forrester, chairman of the 42nd Stanford Antigua Sailing Week, says, “GWM Racing brings a wealth of experience to help us ensure that Stanford Antigua Sailing Week continues to be the most prestigious regatta in the Caribbean”. Finally, Ondeck will be the sole provider of officially branded merchandise for the Stanford Antigua Sailing Week 2009, 2010 and 2011 events, producing the traditional souvenir t-shirts as well as offering performance race gear, in the form of  technical sailing kit including bags, gloves and quick dry tops and other accessories. Tel: 268-462-8872; Email: [email protected]; Web: www.sailingweek.com

May 8-10: Anguilla Sailing Festival

This is a three-day party, but with seven serious races in between, including the “Battle of the Banks” featuring St. Maarten’s 12-Metre yachts, and Sunday’s annual Sir Bobby Velasquez Anguilla Boat Race in which yacht crews are invited to join the crews of Anguilla’s unique sailing racers. There is no other event like this in the world.

May 10-15: Mount Gay Boatyard Regatta

Racing, cruising and multihull yachts are invited to this Southern Caribbean favorite regatta that this year should boast a big starting line of one-design J/24s. There are nightly festivities brimming with sponsor’s Mount Gay Rum and a lay day fun day featuring beach games and parties at the Barbados Yacht Club and Boatyard. Email: [email protected]; Web: [email protected]

May 20-24: Round Guadeloupe Race

A mix of more than 50 yachts – sleek Swans, sport catamarans, racing monohulls and bareboats – compete in this race around the archipelago of Guadeloupe. More than a race, this sailing event combines sport with festivities that enable sailors to discover and enjoy the customs, folklore and traditional music of this French West Indies island. Email: [email protected]; Web: www.triskellcup.com

May 22-24: Puerto Rico Vela Cup

This 2nd annual regatta is held out of the Yacht Club Palmas del Mar, on Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, over the U.S. Memorial Day Weekend holiday. Classes include: Hobie 16, Jib & Main, Racing, Cruising, IC-24, J-24 and J-80. Tel: 787-960-3902, 787-790-1515; Web: www.puertoricovelacup.com

July 26-August 8: 44th Annual Carriacou Regatta

Held over the island’s Emancipation weekend each year, the event has grown into a huge sporting and cultural activity. Locally-built workboats in some twelve different classes are the star of the racing, while on land there is donkey racing, greasy pole climbs, and even a Miss Wet T-shirt contest. Tel: 473-443-7930; Email: [email protected]

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.