Antigua Sailing Week 2015 – As winter sets in across most of the northern hemisphere, the lure of Antigua appeals to many overseas sailors. The tropical climate, trade winds and the famous ocean swell make Antigua’s south coast one the best places to sail anywhere in the world.
Antigua Sailing Week has always attracted an international fleet with many yachts sailing from the USA and across the Atlantic from Europe to take part. In recent years high quality race charter options and now the viability of shipping race boats across the Atlantic has significantly contributed to the number of overseas competitors at Antigua Sailing Week.
David Ballantyne, skipper of British J/133 Jings will be competing at Antigua Sailing Week for the first time. During 2015 Jings has been competing in Europe, taking part in the Royal Ocean Racing Club Season’s Point Championship which concludes with the Rolex Middle Sea Race this October. A good result for the Mediterranean classic will see Jings challenge for the 83-strong class win for the season. Jings will then be transported by cargo ship to the Caribbean. After the Middle Sea Race, Jings will be shipped to the USVI with Peters and May.
‘My fiancée Nikki and I fly out in the new year and will cruise with friends down to Antigua’, commented David Ballantyne. “We came to Antigua last year to sail with friends and celebrate Nikki’s birthday and we fell in love with the place so we promised ourselves that we would get Jings out there for the full season or even longer. I have been racing in the Solent and across the English Channel for around 10 years and I decided it was time for something different.
After our trip earlier this year, we could see Antigua is a paradise location and the ocean breeze makes it sailing heaven! Friends told me about Antigua Sailing Week but I have never experienced it. My pre-conception is something like racing at Cowes Week but in the sun and the social side seems to be like Cowes Week as well, but in a beach bar! We are a charter boat so we are currently looking for guests for many of the Caribbean regattas and Antigua Sailing Week is top of our list.’
Chris Body has not been to Antigua Sailing Week for over 25 years but will be competing this year in the J/122 El Ocaso which he has chartered for the regatta. Chris started sailing in high performance dinghies and one design classes including the Mumm 30 class, but took a break from sailing to raise a family and develop a highly successful London business with his wife Caroline. Recently Chris returned to racing with his J/111 Icarus, which was runner up in the 2015 J/111 UK National Championship. Chris and Caroline will be joined in Antigua by their two daughters as well as friends from home.
‘Caroline and I have got to a time of life where we think we should be enjoying it a bit more,” commented Chris. “Our daughters Jessica and Annabelle are 19 and 23 and will be coming out to Antigua so it will be a real family holiday. Many of our friends who have been out to Antigua Sailing Week have said what a fantastic regatta it is, so it is really personal recommendation that has made us choose to come.
About 25 years ago, Caroline and I came out to Antigua Sailing Week and in those days the regatta was held in various places around the island which didn’t really work for us. We had to get a taxi back each evening to our hotel and missed most of the partying. That has now changed which will be much better for us. Our main aim for Antigua Sailing Week is to have a really good time and we hope that the racing will be kind to us as well.
Jessica and Annabelle love sailing at regattas with our J/111 at home, so Antigua Sailing Week will be as enjoyable for them as well. The crew will be a mixture of old hands and serious racers and many of us will be coming out for a three week holiday.’
Antigua Sailing Week 2016 kicks off with two stand-alone long distance races the results of which don’t count as part of the regatta series. The Guadeloupe to Antigua Race is on Friday 22nd April and the Round Antigua Race will take place on Saturday 23rd April. The full week of racing at Antigua Sailing Week, on the spectacular south coast of Antigua, starts on Sunday 24th April and concludes Friday 29th April.