Even before the first Antigua Sailing Week in 1968, yachts from overseas were sailing across the Atlantic to a winter paradise in the Caribbean. Back in the 70s and 80s crossing the Atlantic was a very different experience from today – navigators followed the stars using a sextant to pinpoint landfall in the Caribbean. Today most have hi-tech satellite navigation systems but the sailing conditions haven’t changed.
The annual migration to the Caribbean started in earnest last month with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. The inaugural Christmas Caribbean Rally left Lanzarote headed for Antigua on Monday, December 16 and early in 2014 the Oyster World Rally will finally come to rest back in Antigua after leaving in January 2013. Many other yachts will be making the crossing by other means – it is estimated that over 2,000 yachts sail across the Atlantic every year and many come to the Caribbean from much further afield.
Antigua Sailing Week is still famous for big breeze and tropical swell, providing exhilarating racing in blissfully warm waters under the hot sun. With fabulous parties ashore, who wouldn’t want to participate?
This year Performance Yacht Charters has several yachts crossing the Atlantic and at least four of them will be competing at Antigua Sailing Week. “Southern Child and El Ocaso already have established teams in place for the regatta and there are still a few individual places available to race on Northern Child. EH01 is Performance Yacht Charters’ fourth entry and we may even enter one more,” confirmed Christian Reynolds, skipper of Swan 51, Northern Child.
“Northern Child’s crew for the crossing are a variety of ages and nationalities but they all want that once in a lifetime experience of crossing an ocean and in the past many have become inspired to return for Antigua Sailing Week. Antigua has a fantastic racing area off the south coast and can usually rely on strong trade winds for the event and at least one day with big seas, so it’s a great ‘action-shot’ regatta. It is also the last big hurrah, which means everybody there is very excited after a great season of racing. Sailors tend to go their own separate ways after Antigua Sailing Week, so the Prize Giving Party is legendary.”
Of the early 36 entries Robert Dates’ Reichel Pugh 52, Scarlet Runner will be one of the boats who will have travelled the furthest. In January, the Australian yacht will race nearly 4,000 miles in the Cape to Rio Race before sailing another 3,000 miles to the Caribbean to take part in Antigua Sailing Week. Caribbean yachts are also well represented. Antiguan sailing legend Sir Hugh Bailey has competed at every Antigua Sailing Week since 1968 and Peter Morris’ Frers 43, Jaguar will be sailing up-island from Trinidad, as will Alex Johnstone’s Blue Water Sailing from Grenada.
Sailors from all over the world relish the prospect of competing at Antigua Sailing Week and there are a myriad of ways in which to take part. Sunsail offers tailor-made bareboat packages and German charter company KH+P yachtcharter offers a bespoke cruising and racing package revolving around Antigua Sailing Week. There are also a number of independent race charter firms offering both full boat and single crew positions. More information about chartering a boat can be found on our website.
If you have never been to Antigua Sailing Week then you have not experienced the most famous sailing regatta in the Caribbean. Whether you’re new to the event in 2014 or returning again, the organisers are working hard to ensure the 46th edition will be the best you have ever experienced.
To find out more about Antigua Sailing Week 2014 and enter visit www.sailingweek.com or join us on Facebook.