Home » Caribbean » Regatta Preview – June to December: Race On!

Regatta Preview – June to December: Race On!

Traditional boats in the Carriacou Regatta get ready to race
Traditional boats in the Carriacou Regatta get ready to race

The winter and early spring are known as ‘regatta season’ in the Caribbean. Yet there are competitive sailing events in the summer and fall too. Here is a sampling of what’s happening, where and how to join in the fun.

June 30th – July 1st:
Around 100 Spanish Virgins Race
This inaugural event features a 100-nautical mile race around Culebra and Vieques. Classes invited are PHRF and CSA Cruisers and Racers 30-feet or longer. “We intend this new event to be an annual one and hope to attract all Caribbean sailors. Every year, many boats from our fleets participate in neighboring island regattas, however, seldom do boats from these islands participate in our events. By offering an offshore race and a great festive environment at Puerto del Rey Marina in Fajardo we hope to entice many top-notch sailors to visit our waters,” says Graham Castillo, president of the Borinquen Islands Sailing Association (BRISA). www.facebook.com/BrisaSailing 

August 3rd – 6th:
Carriacou Regatta
Sea-lovers and land-lubbers alike will enjoy this 53rd annual regatta. More than 40 boats were registered as of April with a resurgence in Antiguan sloops. Other classes include Tobago large open deck sloops, Carriacou double enders, and large open boats from the Grenadines. New, some courses will be nearer to shore and more spectator-friendly. Traditional shore side cultural activities include: the maypole dance, donkey races and the famous greasy pole. “A diverse offering of activities and rich history is what makes this event special,” says Nikoyan Roberts, nautical development manager for the Grenada Tourism Authority. www.facebook.com/carriacou.regatta

 

A large number of classes race during the Aruba Regatta
A large number of classes race during the Aruba Regatta

August 17th-19th:
Aruba Regatta
Inclusiveness is what makes this regatta special, with something for everyone from traditional microboats, Optimists and self-built boats to Sunfish, Beach Cat and Yacht classes. Lately there’s been a shift towards racing yachts like J/105s, J/35s, Swan 441Rs and several Beneteaus that assure the competition is tight. “This year, the regatta will put extra emphasis on coral protection,” says organizer Eric Mijts. “We have obtained the screening rights for the documentary ‘Chasing Coral’. The screening will take place on August 16th and the Captain’s Meeting and Registration will be on Surfside Beach, on Oranjestad Harbour, on August 17th. https://aruba-regatta.com/

 

Microboats are a colorful part of the Bonaire Regatta. Photo: Gabriel Mercera
Microboats are a colorful part of the Bonaire Regatta. Photo: Gabriel Mercera

October 10th-13th:
Bonaire Regatta
This 51st annual national celebration features four days of sailing competition by day and a festival at night. Several classes are offered and the courses run between Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. The festival, which features live entertainment, food and craft vendors, takes place on the streets of Kralendijk. www.regattabonaire.com

October 27th:
Foxy’s Cat Fight Regatta & Masquerade Ball, Jost Van Dyke
Race and party at Foxy’s Tamarind Bay on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. “This regatta draws everyone from serious sailors from the VI to visitors who have never sailed in a regatta and just want to join the fun,” says organizer Susan Zaluski. The Cat Fight, one of the Caribbean’s fastest growing multihull regattas with some 30 entries expected, is open to ‘one legged cats’ (monohulls) as well. Afterwards, the famous Beach BBQ and Masquerade Ball is the hottest Halloween party in the territory. www.foxysbar.com

 

Discover the Caribbean Dinghy Regatta. Photo: Carlos Lee
Discover the Caribbean Dinghy Regatta. Photo: Carlos Lee

November 2nd – 4th & November 17th – 18th:
Discover the Caribbean Regatta, and Discover the Caribbean Dinghy Regatta, Puerto Rico
Big boats race on the first of this two-weekend event, hosted out of the Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club in Puerto Rico, with some 40 entries expected. Dinghies, Optimists, Lasers and Sunfish, race the second weekend. “The social event we like best is the sunset beach party. It’s really nice to have music, food and drinks and enjoy the beautiful sunsets in Ponce Bay,” says David Kerr, who often officiates. www.ponce
yachtandfishingclub.com

 

Carlos Aguilar and the Women’s International Match Racing Series. Photo: Dean Barnes
Carlos Aguilar and the Women’s International Match Racing Series. Photo: Dean Barnes

November 29th – December 2nd:
Carlos Aguilar Match Race, St. Thomas
St. Thomas’ Charlotte Amalie harbor is the venue for this finale of the Women’s International Match Racing Series. “It is a pleasure for the Carlos Aguilar Match Race to again host the female sailors competing on the WIMRA tour for a second year,” says organizer Bill Canfield. www.carlos matchrace.com 

 

The Mango Bowl is hosted out of the St. Lucia Yacht Club on Reduit Beach
The Mango Bowl is hosted out of the St. Lucia Yacht Club on Reduit Beach

November 30th – December 2nd:
Mango Bowl, St. Lucia
Some 40 boats are expected to race in one of four classes at this regatta hosted out of the St. Lucia Yacht Club on Reduit Beach. “Last year we had a mini Mango Bowl Dinghy Series of races for our young sailors to get them involved and we will do that again,” says regatta director Lily Bergasse. Onshore, there will be a Saturday Night Social with live music and a prize-giving BBQ on Sunday. The regatta will collaborate again with Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regatta program. http://stluciayachtclub.com

December 1st – 2nd:
Firecracker 500 Pursuit Race and Great Chili Cook-Off, BVI
The BVI’s Royal West End Yacht Club hosts this fun regatta that also features a culinary competition. It’s one of the only events the Club plans to host in 2018 due to hurricane damage. However, commodore Louis Schwartz says, “The 2019 season should commence with our participation in defense of The Manhattan Yacht Club Trophy, followed by the Sweethearts; Dark & Stormy; Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta and the Gustav Wilmerding.” www.facebook.com/groups/weycbvi

December 31st:
Nelson’s Pursuit Race, Antigua

Ring in the New Year with an old-time re-enactment of Lord Nelson’s famous pursuit of the French fleet two centuries ago. Hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club, this is an all-comers event that welcomes boats of all sizes, racers and cruisers alike. Later, enjoy the annual fireworks display at Nelson’s Dockyard. www.antiguayachtclub.com

 

Editor’s Note: If you have a sailing event you would like us to include in future regatta previews, then please email details to: [email protected]

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