Showtime for Antigua Sailing Week

By Anna Solomon

Antigua Sailing Week, one of the world’s most prestigious regattas, will kick off this Saturday. The event will commence with the Peters & May Round Antigua Race, marking the first of five adrenaline-fuelled days of competitive racing off the rugged south coast of Antigua.

The 52nd edition of the race will see yachts flying the flags of 21 different nations compete. The J122 Inka crew, captained by Diego Aguirre, have come all the way from Lima Peru, whilst Phillippe Charet’s Melbourne-based A40 team are representing Australia. Afanasy Isaev’s team, racing the 24m Grand Mistral One Design Weddell, have flown in all the way from Siberia!

The largest yachts on the course will be past winner Peter Harrison’s British Farr 115 Sojana, and the 100ft canting keel racing sled, SHK Scallywag, which is making its Antigua Sailing Week debut.

As for the lower end of the size spectrum, the Antiguan National Sailing Academy’s Cork 1720s is the smallest competitor at 24ft. Others to watch are NSA Spirit skippered by Jules Mitchell, considered a rising star of the Antiguan National Sailing and the Antigua Yacht Club, and NSA Valiant, which will be skippered by Joshua Daniels and manned by a crew comprising of Antiguan sailors from 14-20 years old. The Youth to Keelboat Programme (Y2K) has more than 40 young sailors racing on competing yachts during the week.

The show will also feature some seasoned participators. Some of the crew of Harvey’s KHS&S Contractors have been sailing together for 40 years, and will be looking to score a hattrick In the Bareboat Class Cannon having won the top spot for two years running. Meanwhile, organizer Harmut Holtman’s KH+P Yacht Charter from Germany includes octogenarian Herbert Münzel, who has participated more than 30 times at Antigua Sailing Week!

Antigua Sailing Week is also known for the fantastic social events surrounding the racing. Daily Prize Givings are held on the lawn at Antigua Yacht Club, and Tuesday April 30 is the legendary Reggae in the Park. The following day, visitors recover with barbeques and rum cocktails at Lay Day, Pigeon Beach.

Teams from all over Europe, North America and the rest of the world will also be racing on the incredible sailing grounds of Antigua and enjoying fun-filled parties in Falmouth Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard. If you are lucky enough to be in the region make sure not to miss this legendary event!

By Anna Solomon