Regattas happen every month, and locally often every week of the year, in the Caribbean. Yet, it’s the winter and spring, when it’s cold in northern climates on both sides of the Atlantic, that this tropical region peaks in its offering of keen sailing competitions. This month kicks off with Barbados Sailing Week and Grenada Sailing Week, and you’ll find the latest news on these events in this issue’s Calendar of Events. For regattas that take place from February through May, here are some of the hot-off-the-press updates as of press time on December 1.
February 3 – 5: Caribbean Multihull Challenge.
The speed machine Bieker 53 speed machine, Fujin, and Schionning 51, 2-2 Tango, will be back, along with a pair of newcomer trimarans, the Neel 45 Panda Rosso and Outremer 51 Oceans Tribute. New is a cool performance prize, tells Steve Burzon, volunteer director of marketing. “On each of the three days of the CMC, CSA 1 boats will be offered three longer distance courses that combine into what we are calling a Trifecta. The winner of the Trifecta will receive an Oris Aquis Diving Watch worth $2000.” The Trifecta consists of the Caribbean 60 Mile Multihull Sprint, the 52 Mile Around Saba Dash, and a newly named 27 Mile SXM Circle Race. There is no set schedule for these three races as the Race Officer will set them based on the expected winds and weather for that day. caribbeanmultihullchallenge.com
February 13 – 24: RORC Caribbean 600 & Series.
Pyewacket, the Volvo 70 Modified, owned by Roy P. Disney, grandnephew of Disneyland founder, Walt Disney, is one of the 2023 entrants of the RORC Caribbean 600 as of November. New is the RORC Nelson’s Cup Series. Six races are scheduled for the Series, which takes place February 14, 15 and ends on the 17th with the Antigua 360-Round the Island Race, according to press officer, Trish James. Early Series entries include global offshore racers, including RORC Vice Commodore Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD54 Teasing Machine (FRA), Niklas Zennström’s CF-520 Rán 8 (SWE), Ker 46 Daguet 3 – Corum (FRA), skippered by Frederic Puzin, and RORC Commodore James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX (GBR). The traditional RORC Caribbean 600 kicks off from Antigua on February 20. A full social program happens ashore all 11 days. caribbean600.rorc.org
March 2 – 5: St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.
Focus is on four key values: women in sailing, youth or the next generation of sailing, talent, and sustainability, says Michele Korteweg, regatta director. “We have confirmed 2 all-female teams already, one coming from Europe sailing in the RORC Transatlantic double-handed, and the other will be racing a Cape 31, hopefully attracting more of this exciting class to join her. We are also looking at hosting 5 Caribbean teams from sailing programs with students between 13 to 18 years old. They will sail against each other and showcase the best that the region has to offer to promote our Caribbean Sailing Programs.”
Several Ocean Racers, an outstanding class in 2022, will be back, and so will an expanded sailing village and activities ashore. heinekenregatta.com
March 6 – 12: Superyacht Challenge Antigua.
Early entries include the 121’ Dyksra sloop, Action; Swan 90, Freya; and Oyster 82, Zig Zag. “The only real change to racing is the continued intention to run, as in 2022, a Round Antigua Race as part of the program,” says Louay Habib, press director. “The 52-mile race gives a huge range of conditions to the superyachts. This iconic race also gives superyacht owners, guests, and crew superb views of Antigua.” superyachtchallengeantigua.com
March 16 – 19: St. Barths Bucket Regatta.
The biggest entries as of November include the 203’ Hoek Schooner, Athos; the 170’ Alloy-built fast cruising sloop, Red Dragon; and the 164’ Vitters-constructed sailing yacht, Meraki. “New is the excitement of getting back to the iconic social activities that are key ingredients in the Bucket Experience,” says Jeanne Kleene, event manager. “The 2023 edition features the return of the popular ‘Yacht Hop’ and ‘Bucket Bash’ with the regatta village.” The traditional pursuit racing format will be in play March 17-19, with the Corinthian Spirit and 90’ Classes growing in popularity. bucketregatta.com
March 24 – 26: St. Thomas International Regatta.
First-time entries from the Dominican Republic include Christian Cabral’s Beneteau First 44.7, Desorden, and Joan Rodriguez’s Beneteau First 40.7, Lady M. A first too, organizers anticipate welcoming two Cape 31s. “For nearly a half-century, we have offered sailors professionally set courses by some of the best race management in the world matched with the friendliness, hospitality, and ‘can do’ spirit of a club-run event ashore,” says Pat Bailey, regatta director. stthomasinternationalregatta.com
March 27 – April 2: BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival.
This will be the ‘Be All and Best’ celebration of the regatta’s 50th anniversary, says Judy Petz, regatta director. “Boats already registered from around the world will race two days in the Sailing Festival, followed by a lay day, before the start of three full days of spectacular racing for the 50th celebration.” A commemorative coffee table book is being published to celebrate both the event and the Royal BVI Yacht Club’s half-century anniversary as well. The book will be gifted to all those who enter the regatta. In addition, special awards are being ordered and plans for a spectacular finale to honor the occasion are in the works, Petz adds. www.bvispringregatta.org
April 16 – 22: Les Voiles de St Barth Richard Mille.
A first-time entry is Sails of Change, a 121’ competitive maxi trimaran that was launched in 2008 and was the record holder of the Jules Verne Trophy between 2012 and 2017. She was purchased by the Spindrift team in 2013 and continued setting records in the Route de la Découverte (between Cadiz, Spain and San Salvador, Bahamas), as well as competing twice in the Rolex Fastnet Race and the 2016 Transat Québec–Saint-Malo. New too, says Alexandra Lemarchand Guibout, press officer, “We will be the last regatta of the Caribbean Maxi Challenge in 2023, therefore the prize will be awarded during our prize-giving ceremony.” lesvoilesdestbarthrichardmille.com
April 19-24: Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.
A new team is running this event intending to restore the regatta’s spirit as it was created by the late founder, Kenny Coombs. Thus the 2023 edition will take place entirely in Nelson’s Dockyard, says Gilly Gobinet, sponsor liaison, program editor, and advertising manager. “It will include the traditional Parade of the Classics in English Harbour and the traditional Gig Racing & Cream Teas served by ladies in flowery hats and frocks, although there will be beer as an option!” In addition to the Vintage, Classic & Traditional Classes, a new class entitled ‘Modern Classics’ will replace the former ‘Historic Class’, defined as monohulls built of any material, with a modern underwater profile such as fin and skeg, and designed over 35 years ago. antiguaclassics.com
April 29 – May 5: Antigua Sailing Week.
Still under details finalization as of November are a new wing foil circuit, with its own starts and finishes. It features inshore racing in Falmouth Harbour on May 1 and 2, followed by a downwinder from Falmouth Harbour to the West Coast and back for a prize-giving as part of a Lay Day on May 3. New too, says Rana Jamila-Lewis, events and marketing manager, the Peters & May Round Antigua Race will now officially include a shorter 26-mile course, the ‘almost round Antigua’ option, geared towards cruising boats with spinnaker.” sailingweek.com
Royal Ocean Racing Club and AYC Launch New Offshore Race in the Caribbean