Scarlett Oyster at last year’s Antigua Sailing Week – she scored eight straight wins with a charter crew on board. Credit: Paul Wyeth / pwpictures.com
Antigua Sailing Week, one of the most prestigious and long established events in the region, remains a mainstay of the Caribbean regatta season, attracting entries from across the globe. While it’s on the bucket list of many who voyage to the West Indies in their own boats, there are also plenty of opportunities for those with ties that mean they are not able to take their own boat.
Sunsail sponsors the event and demand for its cruising oriented yachts in the bareboat division has once again been a sell out locally, although there’s still availability of yachts that can be drawn in from other islands. In addition, there are now also many opportunities to compete on a full-on racing yacht. These range from single berths for individuals to high-tech machines for top racing crew.
For instance, Ross Applebey’s 48ft Scarlet Oyster was the winner of the CSA 5 class and best racing charter yacht last year, with eight straight wins. This year members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club have chartered his boat. “It is the longest run and most well-known of all the Caribbean regattas, and Antigua is a great island to visit with easy flights from UK, Canada and USA,” he says. “The regatta’s new format in recent years works better with most crews staying ashore these days and there is a good social and party scene.”
Partying the night away at Antigua Sailing Week after a hard day of racing. Credit: Ted Martin / photofantasy.zenfolio.com
Miramar Sailing based in Antigua has places available on a large variety of yachts, including the Volvo Ocean 70 Green Dragon, the Stimson 42 Palpatine and Reflex 38 Sirens Tigress.
Also based in Antigua, Ondeck has places available on Farr 65 Spirit of Juno, which was third in class last year, and has a Beneteau First 40.7 available for a whole boat charter. If you don’t want to race every day, there are also options for people to hop on board a boat for just a day or two.
Antigua Sailing Week is now 49 years old and continues to attract sailors from more than 20 countries and yachts varying from long-distance cruisers through bareboats to the very latest racing machines. This year’s event starts on Sunday April 24 and concludes on Friday April 29.