In 2017, Antigua is celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of its most famous annual events. Known as Antigua Sailing Week on the island, and throughout the sailing world, this week-long event is held at historic and scenic Nelson’s Dockyard on St. John’s on Antigua. As one of the island’s most famous and popular annual events it is also one of the most popular regattas throughout the entire world. Typically, more than five thousand visitors descend on the island by air or sea to watch roughly 200 yachts compete. More than twenty different countries have yachts competing, and an enormous range of sailors arrive, too.
With more than one thousand sailors in the competition, and five different races, it is a fantastic event for fans of sailing, yachts or the sea. It is, of course, also a great time for anyone to visit the island and meet a unique and dynamic group of people. After all, the week-long event is also packed with onshore activities, mostly in the form of enormous parties and special events. As Sailing Week reports, “All of the action will be located in and around Nelson’s Dockyard and the adjoining Falmouth Harbour… there will be daily prizes at which skippers and crews from all over the world meet for a post-race debate over a cold one in the Beer Garden at Antigua Yacht Club. The now legendary ‘Reggae in the Park’, is the Big Party Night in Nelson’s Dockyard with live music from local artists and the main international act, yet to be announced! Following the Big Party Night is the Lay Day Beach Party, featuring the invitational Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge.”
Noted for the remarkable trade winds and the gorgeous scenery, Antigua consistently proves itself to be a perfect choice for sailing competitions. Few other yacht racing venues can offer what is necessary for attracting such exclusive and discerning competitors. In fact, the Antigua Regattas have only grown in esteem over the decades with many skilled sailors viewing it as the last great sea battle of the annual sailing season.
The Antigua Regattas of 2017
The Antigua Regattas for 2017 are slated to run from April 29 through May 5th. The winner will take home the Lord Nelson Trophy, and because this is the golden anniversary of the event, there are also special trophies for the Best Caribbean and the Best Antiguan yachts. This is important because the 2016 winner was an Antiguan vessel, and that makes it crucial to the team that they win the Lord Nelson and their island’s best yacht distinction.
The schedule for the Antigua Regattas is as follows:
April 28 – Race from Guadeloupe to Antigua
April 29 – Peters and May Round Antigua Race along the south coast of the island.
April 30 – Official Race Day 1 with courses confirmed each morning. There will also be a Shirley Heights Lookout breakfast and a spectator boat that chases the race departing from Falmouth Harbour
May 1 – Day 2 is around the south coast with courses confirmed each morning.
May 2 – Day 3 is around the south coast with courses confirmed each morning. This is also the Big Party night at Nelsons Dockyard.
May 3 – Enjoy the famous Lay Day Beach Party at Nonsuch Bay along with the RS Elite Challenge at Pigeon Point
May 4 – Day 4 is around the south coast with courses confirmed each morning.
May 5 – Day 5 is around the south coast with courses confirmed each morning. That evening is the Antigua Sailing Week Awards and the famous After Party at Nelson’s Dockyard.
May 6 – Dockyard Day is a wonderful event with a children’s procession, different island prize giving events and a huge array of parties that mark the end of another fun year of Antigua Regattas.
If you are considering a visit to Antigua, you will certainly want to consider visiting during this wonderful event. Not only do you get to witness world champion sailors competing in some of the finest yachts in the world, but the entire week is full of unique events and activities that only occur during the Antigua Regattas each year.