Katrina Kelshall reports from Tobago on the eve of this year's Angostura Tobago Sail Week
After four years of absence from the Angostura Tobago Regatta, I feared the worst. Had Tobago retained its high level of competitiveness on the racecourse or had the charter fleets diluted the competitive edge?
Initially, this little regatta was a sail meet organised by a group of enthusiasts from TTSA (Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association). It was a family event, run voluntarily by a group of racers who took their sailing seriously.
As its reputation developed, the regatta grew and attracted sponsors; naturally the charter fleets arose and brought boatloads of visiting sailors to the event. Four years ago, the charter fleet numbered 25, today it is at most 12. But what is remarkable is that the regatta is growing.
There are 48 entries this year – seven more than in 2004, and all the new entries are in the Racing Class. At 16 yachts (including winners from Antigua Race Week – Storm, Enzyme, and Wayward) it is the largest racing class in the 23-year history of the event and this during a year where attendance in Caribbean regattas has been generally reduced due to the draw of other global competitions.
These figures are comforting because perhaps there was a risk that over the past four years the jostle of charter boats might now dominate the start line, but in fact, the Angostura regatta has expanded in just the right direction, bringing more skilled sailors to the event and steadily raising standard of competition.
Bigger is not always necessarily better, and it is good to see that it is quality not quantity that matters in Tobago.