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Caribbean Sailing Regatta Calendar: January – March 2013

The Caribbean’s winter regatta season is jam-packed with events for every sailor. Here’s what’s happening when and where and how you can join in the fun.

Caribbean Sailing Regatta Calendar for January to March 2013

January 18th – 23rd:
Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race
Over 40 yachts including record-holders such as the 105ft Brigantine, Tres Hombres; 40ft Dubois Custom, Immigrant; and 78ft Reichel Pugh, Idea, will compete. The new 300-mile open ocean race to Antigua for CSA-rated yachts will depart January 23rd. What’s special, says organizer Alene Krimholtz, “is a 77-year history dating back to trading schooners and the chance to win your weight in Mount Gay Rum Extra Old.” www.mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com

January 25th – 27th:
The Super Yacht Challenge Antigua
Four races over this three-day weekend feature a limited fleet entry of 12 to 15 yachts with social activities ashore at the Admiral’s Inn, English Harbour. Having no sponsorship guarantees the pure enjoyment of all participants without third-party conflicts of interest. superyachtchallengeantigua.blogspot.com

January 25th – 27th:
Heineken Regatta Curacao
Hundreds of sailors from around the Caribbean, and world, will set sail in this ‘real different’ regatta which features a huge variety of watersport activities from competitive sailing to a lighted boat parade. Races and nightly parties take place in historic Willemstad. Spectators have the unique opportunity to watch the racing from shore.

January 31st to February 5th:
Grenada Sailing Week
This new event will have a similar format to the keelboat regatta previously organized by the Grenada Sailing Festival. However, says board chairman Marc de Caul, “we plan to add our own magic.” There will be more racing, new courses, a minimum of delays between races and nightly parties at Port Louis Marina. www.grenadasailingweek.com

February 1st – 3rd:
Club Nautico de San Juan International Regatta
New this year is classes for J/24s, Open CSA Offshore Racing with Spinnakers and CSA Jib & Main, in addition to Optimists, Lasers, Sunfish, Club 420s and IC24s. “We look forward to hosting over 100 competitors from the Caribbean, U.S.A., Central America and the World,” says Commodore Gustavo Hermida. www.nauticodesanjuan.com

February 1st – 3rd:
Grenada Sailing Festival/Work Boat Regatta
Competitive racing in wooden, bamboo-rigged, traditional work boats between sailors from the island’s traditional fishing communities is the sole focus of this event. Everyone can join the party of thousands on Grand Anse Beach for food, fun and live music. www.grenadasailingfestival.com

February 7th – 10th:
Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta, Antigua
Now a major international sailing festival, the 20th anniversary will see significant changes such as three days of professionally-managed fun racing for boats with a maximum 10ft draft. Other classes include dinghies, one-design, a pursuit series for casual racers and poker run. Spectacular for spectators and nightly parties make it fun for everyone. www.jollyharbourregatta.com

February 18th:
RORC Caribbean 600
Some 40 yachts will compete in five IRC classes. “Guaranteed wind, sunshine, warm water, eleven islands that form the challenging course plus marine wildlife in abundance is what makes this special,” says Royal Ocean Racing Club CEO, Eddie Warden. “It is a modern version of the Fastnet or Hobart races being 600 miles long, but no other race comes close to offering what the RORC Caribbean 600 has.” The 114ft ketch, Sojana; Swan 44, Triple Lindy; and the Mumm 36, High Tension, are among entries. caribbean600.rorc.org

February 20th – 24th:
South Grenada Regatta
“All sailors from near and far are welcome to race,” invites organizer Lynn Fletcher. New: match racing has been moved to February 23rd so more spectators can join the floating regatta village. A dinghy concert will celebrate the regatta’s start on February 20th, plus there will be activities for the whole family to enjoy.

February 22nd – 24th:
Around St. Maarten Multihull Regatta
Ten to 12 multihulls, 12 regional beach cats and a container full of beach cats from Europe are ready to race. New, says organizer, Mirian Ebbers, “is an extra racing day with short courses. Both are scored individually and entry into each is not mandatory.” www.StMaartenMultiHullRegatta.com

February 28th – March 3rd:
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
“We are working hard to accommodate One Design Classes, like the Melges 24s and Melges 32s and Gunboats this year,” says regatta director, Michele Korteweg. “Our only requirement is to have at least five entries in order to make a separate class.” Also new is an Inshore Class made up of Sunfast Jenneau 20s that are available for charter. www.heinekenregatta.com

March 11-15:
Rolex Swan Cup – Caribbean
This inaugural regatta, held out of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in Virgin Gorda, will include four days of racing under IRC rules, a host of social events and is open to all Swan yachts built by the Finnish shipyard. “The YCCS is delighted to be teaming up once again with our friends from Rolex and Nautor’s Swan to bring the Swan Cup experience to the Caribbean,” said YCCS Commodore, Riccardo Bonadeo, in a release. “The formula has been providing a top-class regatta in Porto Cervo for 32-years and the new event fits perfectly into the racing calendar we are developing for our base in Virgin Gorda.” Many of the Swan owners that took part in the 17th edition of the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo have expressed their interest in participating in the Caribbean. www.yccs.com www.nautorswan.com

March 20th – 23rd:
Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous
Yacht owners from around the globe will converge on Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Virgin Gorda for three days of racing under the International Superyacht Rule rating system, competing in both Performance and Cruising divisions. New this year is a final night spectacular beach party. www.superyachtregattaandrendezvous.com

March 22nd – 24th:
International Rolex Regatta
A class of Melges 32s will race this year. “This is good recognition from a strong class,” says chairman Bill Canfield, in a release. “The fact that we are the only event that is not stand-alone in this class’ Caribbean series speaks volumes about our professional race management team.” Extra surprises and celebrations will mark the regatta’s 40th anniversary.

March 25th – 31st:
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival
Over 125 boats will compete including a fleet of Swans, Melges 32s and yachts chartered for the International Yacht Club Challenge. “New this year is the format for the three-day Sailing Festival prequel to the BVI Spring Regatta,” says regatta director Judy Petz. One day will feature a race around Tortola, the next a race to Norman Island, with a ‘wind, water and wander’ on day three. www.bvispringregatta.org

March 28th – 31st:
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
The racing format is being modified slightly with ‘racing oriented designs’ starting first with a conventional fleet start. The three cruising classes will race separately with a customary pursuit start. “There are five J-Class yachts entered for the first time ever and this is the first time since 1937 that five of these Js (Hanuman, Lionheart, Rainbow, Ranger and Velsheda) will race together,” explains spokesperson Jeanne Kleene. “They will sail in a special exhibition fleet race on March 28th making a breathtaking sight. www.bucketregattas.com/stbarths/index.html

March 28th – April 1st:
Bequia Heineken Easter Regatta
Famous the world over for its unique blend of top class yacht racing, traditional local ‘double-ender’ boat racing, and that special small-island hospitality that is Bequia’s trademark. “The biggest draw in recent years has been the J/24 One-Design Class whose six-race series in Bequia also decides the annual J24 Southern Caribbean Championship,” says organizer Nicola Redway. www.begos.com/easterregatta

March 29th – 31st:
St. Maarten – St. Martin Classic Yacht Regatta
Charter one of two of the world’s largest superyachts, 203ft Athos or 169ft Meteor. In addition, classes include Classics, Vintage, Spirit of Tradition, Tall Ships and Carriacou work boats. Parties take place at the Pasanggrahan Royal Guesthouse and Hotel. www.ClassicRegatta.com


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

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