Some old favourites arrive for the all-new format

With a ground-breaking format and schedule, a brand-new race-management team, and a strong, diverse fleet ranging from the one-design Dragons to state-of-the-art Grand Prix racers, the 42nd edition of Antigua Sailing Week is clearly going to be another memorable series.

The format and the race committee may be new, as are many of the entrants making their debut at Antigua Sailing Week, but there are also many familiar boats and sailors who have descended on the Caribbean isle.

Among them are Mike Slade’s 100ft super maxi – ICAP Leopard; the Grand Soleil 50 – Mad IV; and the Rogers 46 – Yeoman XXXII. The TP 52, Rio and the renamed Ireland-flagged Cookson 50 – Lee Overlay Partners, which raced in Antigua two years ago as Chieftain, will test all of them.

As always, the Swan class is well represented. Among the long list of Swans that will set tomorrow are the Swan 651, Seaside; the Swan 53, Dragon Fly Plus; the Swan 51s Star Chaser and Northern Child; the Swan 44, Crescendo; the Swan 43, Pavlova II; and the Club Swan 42s, Long Echo and Interlodge.

The event opens tomorrow with an opening contest for the racing fleets. Along with the prologue Guadeloupe to Antigua Race today (24 April), the reinstated, traditional Round the Island Race for the Yachting World Trophy – once again a one-day affair, instead of a two-part cumulative race – and the Corum Round Redonda Island Race, will be scored as a separate competition, the new Antigua Ocean Series.

The formidable bareboat charter fleets will begin their regatta this Sunday (26 April) and carry on their series through the week, wrapping up next Friday. As with the 2008 event, the top three boats in the respective bareboat divisions will once again be separated into a Bareboat Gold fleet for a Grand Finale on the last day of racing, with the winner recognised as the Overall Champion in the bareboat fleets.

Good luck to all.