Antigua Sailing Week is back in 2023 for a week of thrilling competition afloat and fun partying ashore, all set against the backdrop of the warm seas, big winds and the spectacular scenery of this historic Caribbean island. The Notice of Race is out now and entries are coming in from all over the world and expected to exceed 100 yachts.
ASW kicks off with the stand-alone 52-mile Peters & May Round Antigua Race on Saturday 29th April. ASW racing starts the next day with the English Harbour Rum Race Day. Daily racing continues until 5th May, not forgetting Wednesday’s Lay Day, a legendary highlight of the packed onshore agenda known for its unforgettable beach entertainment. CSA racing, CSA double-handed, CSA multihull, classic, sportsboat and cruising classes are all invited and for the first time the event will coincide with the three-day Antigua Wingfoil Championships.
Entries are quickly shaping up. Peter Corr and his US team on King 40 Blitz will be returning to defend their 2022 overall victory, achieved with an undefeated run of first places in CSA Division 4. “We won the overall Lord Nelson Trophy which was frankly a surprise,” says Peter. “I so enjoyed our time at Antigua Sailing Week and the crew made it happen. We had worked so closely together during four previous regattas and we were truly a complete team. Antigua is a great venue, with beautiful seas, high winds most of the time, and, of course, great parties!” He adds “I look forward to returning in 2023, hoping to defend our title.”
Meanwhile Andrea Merani’s Solaris 72 Black Pearl returns after a four-year absence to face off the competition in the big boat class. At the same time the more relaxed pace of the cruising divisions is attracting competitors like Gary O’Grady from the UK, who is taking part on his 29ft Westerly Konsort Katy. Gary is heading to Antigua Sailing Week for the first time, sailing double-handed across the Atlantic on the ARC rally. “I am really looking forward to getting involved,” he reports. “Antigua Sailing Week is an event I’ve always dreamed about attending. Once we’ve finished, Peters & May will then ship Katy straight back to the UK so that we can take part in the Round the Island (Isle of Wight) Race in June.”
Several race-proven entries are already leading the way for the good number of expected charter entries. Chartered boats traditionally account for a significant proportion of the entry line-up, providing an easy solution for yacht crews who sail together in their home waters to fly in from the corners of the globe to participate. Bénéteau First 47.7 EH01 is being skippered by Andy Middleton, a veteran competitor of Antigua Sailing Week, the first boat entered from his Global Yacht Racing charter fleet. Individual places are still available to book on board EH01.
Antigua Sailing Week’s Official bareboat sponsor Dream Yacht Charter is offering charter packages on a range of yachts, all race-prepared for the event’s bareboat classes. A range of other race boats are also listed on the event website, many courtesy of LV Yachting, for charter with a boat captain in the CSA classes, from a Volvo 65/70 right through to a J122. Individual crew options are available on Salona 45 Panacea. Charter entries are already confirmed from First 53 Yagiza and Swan 68 Defiance.
The multihulls are also gearing up for some hot competition. Entries received from Anthony McVeigh’s home-based Dragonfly 28 Bobby Dazzler and, all the way from Australia, Guy Chester’s Crowther Tri 46 Oceans Tribute, are paving the way for a good spectrum of boats and crews in this class.
While many participants are Caribbean-based, and even more have crossed oceans to arrive in Antigua, there is still time for would-be competitors to get their boats to Antigua courtesy of yacht shipping specialists Peters & May. Antigua Sailing Week also welcomes the support of discounted rates from Virgin Atlantic, which links competitors from Europe to the island by flying direct from the UK to Antigua.
Antigua Sailing Week uses the CSA rating system. Owners who don’t already have a CSA certificate for their yacht or need to revalidate an existing one can contact the Caribbean Sailing Association.
“We can’t wait for April to come around and to be able to welcome the yachts into Falmouth Harbour for the start of another fantastic Antigua Sailing Week,” comments Race Manager Jaime Torres. “It will be bigger and better than our back-from-COVID event last year with more classes and tighter racing in beautiful Antigua.”
Antigua Sailing Week first took place in 1968 and more than 50 years later is firmly established as one of the ‘greats’ of the world sailing calendar. The high standard of racing is matched only by the spectacular party scene. Music, food fresh from the barbecue and Antigua’s own plentiful supplies of rum are the highlights of the après-racing, including the prizegivings after each day of racing, and all the beach fun and entertainment of the Lay Day.
Enter the 2023 editions of Peters & May Round Antigua Race or Antigua Sailing Week, by visiting https://sailingweek.com/enter-2023/.
– Marina Johnson