Editor David Glenn offers his thoughts on this year's Antigua Sailing Week
I’ve just been interviewed by the local radio station here in Antigua whose listeners are keen to know what we think of the changes to Sailing Week. Now in it’s 45th year Antigua Sailing Week is an iconic event on the Caribbean calendar – it’s the Cowes Week of the Caribbean – but it has to work hard against new events like Les Voiles de St Barths, Heineken and even its own RORC Caribbean 600. And with the world economy still on its knees there are other good reasons for yachtsmen not to turn up.
But with about 120 yachts racing the numbers are 10 per cent up on last year and a re-focusing of the event on land has given it a better community spirit. The regatta is based largely in the historic English Harbour Dockyard complex, a superb venue which really buzzes at night and gives the event real focus.
The organising committee listened to the sailors and adapted, shortening the regatta slightly and concentrating the racing on one side of the island.The days of traipsing across the to Jolly Harbour for a day’s windward leeward racing (as good as that was) have gone which has eased the logistical nightmare that part of the regatta once created.
This is not a grand prix event but an everyman’s regatta and on top of that there is a real international feel to it with entries from Brazil, Hong Kong, across Europe and America. The emphasis is on safety and fun sailing in the sun and yesterday that combination kicked in big time barring a few blown out sails and a man overboard which I described in an early blog.
This event, certainly in my experience, has successfully re-positioned itself and bodes well for the future.
I’m taking a look at the fleet from the Press boat today and I’ll report back later.