Young Antiguan crews join race veterans
English Harbour, Thursday 16th February, 2012.
2012 marks the 45th Antigua Sailing Week, the Caribbean’s longest running and most prestigious regatta. The first edition of the regatta was run in 1967, the year that the symbolic national flag of Antigua and Barbuda was adopted. The black is for the African ancestry of the people, the blue for
hope, the red is for energy of the people and the successive bands of yellow, blue, and white stand for the sun, sea, and sand.
Undoubtedly, the most famous Antiguan competing at this year’s event will be Sir Hugh R.M. Bailey, KGN MBE GCM. Falmouth’s native son was a young man competing at the first Antigua Sailing Week and his contribution to sailing in Antigua since that time has been immeasurable. Her Majesty the Queen of England recognised his contribution by awarding him both The Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and later an MBE in 1982. His yacht, Hugo B, will be competing at Antigua Sailing Week this year, as it does every year. Hugo B’s spinnaker bears the colours of the Antiguan flag and there can be no more fitting a yacht to fly them than that of Sir Hugh Bailey.
“Antigua Sailing Week is the highlight of sailing in the Caribbean and is well known worldwide for the great sailing conditions in our waters. It lures many sailors from around the world and it is an important promotion for Antigua,” commented Sir Hugh.
“There were 17 boats at the first Antigua Sailing Week, which was born out of the Guadeloupe Race, which started three years before with Ken Malone, Desmond Nicholson, Joylon Byerley, John Glegg and I. Some of the old timers have moved on, some can only look on. As the youngest of the old timers, I am the only one left on the race course. Many thanks of course, to my young keen Antiguan crew and others on yacht Hugo.
“One of the most marvellous sights at Antigua Sailing Week is when all of the boats are out on the race course with their spinnakers flying – it is a spectacular view. But the shoreside parties can be just as fabulous when they are in full swing. If this will be your first time at Antigua Sailing Week, I have some good advice for you – come with your sailing gloves, suntan lotion and a good rum stomach!”
Peter Holmberg hails from the Virgin Islands and is a big fan and veteran competitor of Antigua Sailing Week. He is the Caribbean’s most accomplished sailor, having won the America’s Cup, a Silver medal in the Olympic Games and is ranked Number One on the World Match Racing Tour. Peter is often at the helm of Peter Harrison’s Sojana, holder of the Lord Nelson Trophy and record holder for the Yachting World Round Antigua Race.
“Antigua Sailing Week is still the most well known Caribbean sailing event around the world,” commented Peter Holmberg. “Combined with other main events in the Caribbean, Antigua Sailing Week helps promote the region as a great winter circuit for sailors. Antigua Sailing Week has traditionally been the final event of the Caribbean racing circuit, when all the boats from the various islands meet to settle the score, alongside the big international visiting boats.
“Probably one of the main attractions of the regatta is that it provides the best ocean sailing conditions of all the Caribbean events, where you can expect big breeze and big seas, for some exhilarating rides. Sailors can really enjoy the great West Indian culture of Antigua, visit some of the spectacular beaches, and hang on for some true trade wind racing.”
The 45th Antigua Sailing Week will take place 29 April – 4 May. Visit the official website for more information or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Tim Wright/photoaction.com