The 43rd edition of this Caribbean regatta starts successfully, despite the air-travel chaos, with Lee Overlay Partners winning the Guadeloupe Race. The Antigua Sailing Week organizers are not that lucky. Last year their title sponsor Allen Stanford dropped out weeks before the event. This year the Icelandic volcano chose to erupt, jeopardizing the ability of many crews to make it to the venue. The airspace mayhem was not enough to dent the crews’ enthusiasm for the 43rd running of an event considered the climax of Caribbean sailing calendar. Impressively, 120 boats have still showed up for registration.
The 24th of April was due to be the first day of all-class racing, but has been postponed to allow the remaining crews still delayed to arrive. Those competing in the Ocean Series started on this day though, with light easterlies accompanying the 40-mile race from Guadeloupe. This marks the first race of the Ocean Series – comprising three offshore events (including the 50nm Yachting World Round the Island Race) held during Sailing Week. Despite the 90ft Polish Multihull Gemini 3 and Peter Harrison’s Sojana finishing first, Adrian Lee’s Lee Overlay Partners won on corrected time. Cookson 50 favored the easy reaching conditions more than ketch Sojana. For the other classes split between two Divisions, racing will begin in unison with the Round the Island race, with Division B sailing to Dickenson Bay. The re-instated Dickenson Bay beach will put this year the fun back into Sailing Week, with the popular local on-shore activities and a carnival atmosphere. “Lay day” has also been reintroduced so crews can get to see and enjoy the island. That’s what Caribbean regattas are all about – good sailing and social conditions!
The regatta will take place between April 24-30 and to follow its evolution during each 6 days please go to the site: www.sailingweek.com