44th Sailing Week kicks off with an Easter gift forecasting increasing tradewinds

Entries have closed at 95 as the 44th Antigua Sailing Week kicks off. And while that number may seem a little low, it is being held over the Easter weekend, when flight prices are extortionate and other Caribbean regattas are being held. The result is the bareboat classes are deflated compared to yesteryear and there’s no Ocean Series, but on the positive side, the Racing classes are looking very buoyant – ‘the biggest since 2004′ according to results man Paul Miller.

Competition, particularly in Classes 3-5 looks well matched and tight. Despite a highly uncharacteristic windless last week the forecast is for the trades to kick-in in time for the first race on Easter Sunday, and pick up throughout the week.

The onshore side of things looks to have improved to, thanks to a big-top style beer tent outside the beautifully kept Georgian Copper and Lumber store which will act as the social heart of the regatta along with the event village also on the lawn in Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour.

The big boats are also down in numbers this year, and really only comprises Hugo Stenbeck’s canting keel Dubois 90 Genuine Risk, with Olympic medalist Andy Beadsworth aboard, which will no doubt be dueling with the powerful Reichel Pugh 75 Titan XV branded Powerplay. And looking to improve on his Heineken Regatta result is Richard Matthews with his new Humphries 54, Oystercatcher XVIII, who again has Andy Green calling tactics.

Otherwise however, as mentioned, the tight racing looks to be within the J-boats, Beneteaus, Swans and local boats in classes 3-5, (which this roving Yachting World reporter intends to get into the midst of over the next few days), plus the welcome return of four Gunboats to bolster the Multihull racing fleet.