This is a year of special anniversaries for Antigua: the first Cricket World Cup, the 50th Carnival, the 40th Sailing Week and the 20th Classic Yacht Regatta – and the 50th birthday of classic yacht Pedlar.
Antigua hosted the Super 8s or quarterfinals in the Cricket World Cup, which dragged over two months, with poor attendance resulting from inflated ticket prices and minus the spirit of calypso cricket thanks to over-zealous security. Fortunately, Antigua will encounter no such restrictions as it prepares an especially brilliant carnival in July/August to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The 20th Classic Yacht Regatta was a great success, with a record 60 competitors and an extra race. Galatea won the highest prize, the watch offered by Panerai, platinum sponsor for the second year, which continued to treat all participants docked at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina to a daily breakfast fare of fresh croissants and morning papers. The Arthur Robb 41 ft sloop Pedlar did not take part. Formerly owned by Frank Lepard, who changed the original name Moonshine II to an anagram of his own, she was unfortunately de-masted just prior to the Classic thanks to a defective clevis pin in a brand new standing rig installed by current owner Manfred Schweizer.
The title sponsor of the 40th Sailing Week was Stanford International, and there was much celebrating and partying, notably the hugely enjoyable Mount Gay Red Hat event at Galleon Beach, traditionally signaling the end of Classic and the beginning of Sailing Week, and Antigua’s Cavalier and English Harbour Rum bash at Pigeon Beach.
The first race finished as usual at Dickenson Bay where half the island turned up to enjoy both the spectacle of 204 competing boats and many other craft following the race bobbing about in the water and the intensive partying along the beach. Anyone and everyone were there, including the gorgeous La Perla (the new Jolly Harbour developers) PR ladies Chantal and Khadisha (whose more obvious attributes mask her chemical engineering degree). Also present were Tommy Patterson, whose words are as few as his sailing skills are many, Kenny Coombs, red hat perched precariously atop a wealth of white curls and Canadian snowbird Santa-look-alike Harry, who visits the Caribbean every year in Wimicus. Harry usually brings a case of Brown Carib from St. Kitts to share with his Antiguan friends. However, this is now available in Antigua, albeit in clear rather than the eponymous brown bottles, thanks to the introduction of sales tax, whereby the import turned out to be cheaper than the locally produced version.