by Louay Habib
The 45th Antigua Sailing Week, hosted by Antigua Yacht Club in Falmouth Harbour, is taking place from 29th April to 4th May 2012 off the south coast of Antigua. Plans are well under way to make the longest running Caribbean regatta an event not to be missed. The notice of race has been published and is available online.
Antigua Sailing Week 2012
The Regatta Organising Committee has been hard at work planning next year’s regatta and following an overwhelmingly positive response from competitors regarding the new courses and classes, Antigua Sailing Week 2012 will once again strive to deliver challenging and exciting racing.
Antigua Sailing Week has always been popular with visitors from overseas and Gold Sponsor Sunsail, has reported high levels of demand for chartered bareboats. During the month of December, 220 yachts will have arrived in the Caribbean via the 2012 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). Strong participation in Antigua Sailing Week is expected from the ARC fleet with some yachts already entered. They include a past winner, Spanish Swan 57 Charisma, skippered by three-time Olympian and Soling World Champion, Manuel Doreste Blanco.
A number of other ARC boats have already entered including Diamonds are Forever (Girls for Sale), Great Escape of Southampton and Lancelot. There are many others on the ARC entry list who have participated in Antigua Sailing Week in previous years and so the organisers are hopeful they will be back again in 2012. With the ARC now behind them, boats such as Coyote 2, EH01 and Northern Child, for example, will begin to look forward to their Caribbean events calendar so it is anticipated that more entries will soon be received.
Antigua Sailing Week attracts a huge variety of yachts and people from the four corners of the world. One of the largest is Billy Budd. At 112-feet, this magnificent yacht is owned by Mariacristina Rapisardi who has been on an epic adventure with her Oyster 72 by the same name. Over the past six years, Mariacristina and her partner Giovanni Cristofori have explored the Arctic and Antarctic, sailing thousands of miles between the two Polar Regions.
Tanner Jones and his Antiguan crew on J/30 Blue Peter will be back and looking to go one better than last year when they came a close second in Class 7. Blue Peter is one of the smallest entries in the regatta.
For 2012, there will be a fantastic spectacle prior to the regatta. Antigua Sailing Week is delighted to announce the return of the Yachting World Round Antigua Race, which will take place on Saturday, April 28, the day before Antigua Sailing Week officially begins. It will be open to all yachts, whether or not entered in Antigua Sailing Week. The Farr-designed 115 foot, Sojana, which completed the race in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 43 seconds in 2009, holds the existing Round Antigua Race record.
Antiguan Olympic sailor, Karl James, was on board for the blast around his homeland. 'I think it will be a hard record to beat.' James continued: 'It was a fantastic time back then, the weather was really helpful and we pushed Sojana very hard. However, Sojana has some new hi-tech sails and the crew has been together a while now and we have done a lot of race miles. If the wind gods smile on us who knows, we might break our own record. But I have no doubt there will be other yachts competing with the same goal in mind. I am really pleased to see the race coming back; the Yachting World Round Antigua Race is a celebration of our island and what it has to offer.'
Antigua Sailing Week website