Fears that the fraud investigation into Antigua Sailing Week's headline sponsor would harm the event have been allayed by the organisers
Racing at Antigua Sailing Week this year will “go on as planned and not be compromised in any way,” according to Neil Forrester of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association as he responded to the news that the regatta’s headline sponsor Sir Allen Stanford has been charged with an US$8 billion fraud.
Backing from Antigua based Stanford Bank has helped the regatta develop recently but when America’s Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Stanford has orchestrated a “fraudulent multi-million dollar investment scheme” fears were immediately raised for the famous regatta’s sponsorship.
But Neil Forrester, whose hotels association is responsible for running the regatta and securing sponsorship, told Yachting World today: “As of now we still do not know the full implications of what this will mean for the regatta. I have been talking to my contact at Stanford International Bank and even internally they do not know.
“However, what I can say is that the regatta will go on as planned. The racing
side of the regatta will not be compromised in any way. This is a pivotal
year for Antigua Sailing Week as we are introducing a new format and also the Antigua mini
Ocean Series. So this year sees the introduction of the new vision for the
event for the coming years.
“We will no doubt be financially challenged if the balance of the sponsorship does not materialise, but we can adjust our budgets accordingly. However, on a positive side we do have a new Gold
Sponsor in the form of Corum Watches who have become our official timekeeper and this will help offset any shortfall.
Emphasising that the show will go on, Neil Forrester said: “I would like to reassure all potential participants that this (Stanford’s alleged fraud) will not effect the regatta and we will strive in every way to maintain the high standards of racing that we have been known for.”
Neil Forrester confirmed that GWM Racing, who have been employed for the first time to further improve standards of race management, will be running the on-water side of the
regatta. “They will still be coming,” he said. “Fortunately, over the years, Sailing Week has built up much of its own resources and is able to continue in adverse circumstances such as these.
“We may be missing some of the frills this year but we will still be providing the thrills,” he added.