The Caribbean's favourite regatta is still going ahead despite the Allen Stanford fraud charges
The Caribbean’s best known regatta still attracts yachtsmen from all over the world and for the forty second edition of the event the organisers have injected some welcome spice into the sailing programme. Not least is an inventive and what for many will be an appealing mini-offshore series intended to attract those interested in more than just a fun event.
Antigua Sailing Week is normally blessed with sublime sailing conditions with steady trade winds and day long sunshine. This year the organisers have pepped up the quality of the racing not only through a new programme but also by employing GWM Racing (www.gwmracing.com) from the UK to run the on-water element.
Despite concerns over the fate of the regatta’s headline sponsor Stanford International Bank the organisers have made it clear that this year’s event will go ahead regardless of the outcome of the bank’s involvement. Neil Forrester of Antigua’s Hotels and Tourism Association, which runs the regatta said at the time of writing that until legal issues regarding the use of Stanford’s name had been settled it remains in the title. This is how Neil Forrester described the changes to this year’s event:
“This year we have changed the format of Sailing Week to make the sailing more serious. Instead of starting on the Sunday with the Dickenson Bay/Fort James Round the Island race we will hold a skippers briefing early on Saturday morning, head straight out to the boats and start racing at midday with a short afternoon race. The bareboat fleets will miss this having opted out because their charters normally start on Saturday. All boats will then race everyday through until Thursday, except for the bareboats who will continue until Friday morning.
“The courses have changed somewhat in that the racing Division A spends the whole week at Falmouth with only Division B (performance cruisers, cruisers and bareboats) heading out to Fort James for Sunday night and Jolly Harbour on Wednesday night. The major change to Division A is that the Yachting World round the island race now really is a round the island race and is completed in one day on the Sunday instead of comprising two separate legs as in the past.
“On Wednesday the boats head out to race round the Redonda Rock which is nearly 40-miles south-west of Antigua. Corum will now sponsor this race. The other races are a mixture of windward/leeward or short inshore races. With three relatively long offshore races, if we include the Guadeloupe feeder race, we decided to group them as a mini-series and call it the Ocean Series. This was put in place to attract larger boats who may not want to take part in the inshore races, so they can enter these three races separately from Sailing Week.
“There will also be separate trophies for the Ocean Series. There is a possibility that we will include an IRC classification in the Ocean Series depending on discussions with the Royal Ocean Racing Club who were running the Caribbean 600 offshore race prior to our regatta.”
We will update readers at www.yachtingworld.com with further developments.
For a full programme, notice of race, sailing instructions and a full list of sponsors, plus latest news and entries go to www.sailingweek.com