Some of the world's top racers including many from the VOR and America's Cup scene will be on the start line for this year's Antigua Sailing Week

As Antigua Sailing Week (ASW) draws closer, old rivals and drinking buddies from the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race continue to appear on the crew lists. Robert Miller’s Mari Cha IV, the fastest monohull in world, arrived on 11 March after a trans-Atlantic crossing from Cherbourg, France.

Miller will be at the helm of Mari Cha IV in Antigua together with Mike Sanderson, racing skipper on the 140ft schooner. Mari Cha IV took the world of sailing by storm in October last year when, on its maiden ocean voyage, it crossed the Atlantic in only six days. Mike was mainsheet trimmer on Larry Ellison’s Oracle BMW Racing America’s Cup challenge in 2003. Jef d’Etiveaud, project manager, co-skipper will also be racing together with Mike Quilter, Team New Zealand’s weather boat observer and navigator on Club Med in The Race 2001.

Mari Cha IV will be packed to the gunwales with America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race/Whitbread sailing talent most of whom were onboard for the record-breaking trans-Atlantic crossing. The bulk of the crew are Oracle BMW Racing and Team New Zealand veterans, with One World and AmericaOne teams also represented together with Volvo Ocean Race syndicates illbruck Pinta and Team Tyco.

Peter Harrison, the supremo behind the GBR Challenge for the America’s Cup, has now entered his 115ft Farr-designed Sojana and a few faces from his challenge team can probably be expected to appear onboard.

Swan 70 returns this year with a new name, new owner and some key players. Flying Dragon’s new owner Erck Rickmers will be sharing the helm with Bertrand Pace from Team New Zealand’s 2003 America’s Cup challenge. New Zealander Rod Davis, tactician for Prada’s 2003 challenge, will be calling the shots. They’ll be joined by “a few other guys from the last Cup” and looking to knock last year’s class winner, Starr Trail, from her perch.

The start lines for the Big Boat Racing and Racer Cruiser I are shaping up to be a hum dinger of a spectacle with double the number of racing big boats than last year. So far the following will be jockeying for position:

Big Boat Racing

Mari Cha V – Custom 140

Sojana – Farr 115

Pyewacket – maxZ86

Morning Glory – maxZ86

Titan 12 – Reichel/Pugh 75

Equation – Santa Cruz 70

Chippewa – Swan 68

Spirit – VOR 60

Venom – VOR 60

Racer/Cruiser I

Aspiration – Swan 86

Extra Dry – Javelin 75

Starr Trail – Farr 72

Flying Dragon – Swan 70

Atalanta II – Farr 70

Liara – Dixon 65

Spirit of Isis – Farr 65

Spirit of Mertice – Farr 65

Spirit of Minerva – Farr 65

Serengeti – Tripp 60

ASW04 opens its doors with on-site registration on 12 April. Thursday, 23 April is the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race followed by the Cavalier Rum Beach Party at Pigeon Beach, Falmouth Harbour. On 24 April, the winners of the Schools Art Competition will be on display at Admiral’s Inn. 25 April at 1700h is the skippers’ briefing and then the real fun begins.

Sunday, 25 April is the Dickenson Bay Race followed by the Great Dickenson Bay Beach Bash. Monday, Division A yachts will race Olympic courses off Dickenson Bay and Division B will race to Jolly Harbour which is also the site of the Captain’s Cocktail Party. Tuesday is the Falmouth Harbour Race, which is followed by lay-day fun on Wednesday at Antigua Yacht Club. Thursday, the yachts are back on the ocean with Division A racing windward/leeward courses and Division B sailing the South Coast Race. Friday marks the last official day of racing with the Ocean Race. Saturday’s prizegiving is preceded by the Second Annual Bareboat Challenge Championship Race.

The Lord Nelson’s Ball and prize giving wraps the event on Saturday evening.

To register and for more information on Antigua Sailing Week visit: