Walk the dock at Antigua Yacht Club during ‘Classics and you will behold an astounding collection of beautiful yachts, ranging from pretty childhood fantasies to the almighty J-Class of the Golden Era. Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai, is a unique event, where an eclectic mix of traditionally built yachts crewed by passionate sailors gather in Antigua to enjoy spectacular sailing and playful parties ashore.
The objective for Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta is the same as it has always been; to encourage sailing in the Caribbean in a safe, fun regatta with the emphasis on sailing together rather than on racing but ‘Classics brings out the competitive spirit in many of the players.
About sixty yachts are expected, a rare rendezvous of breathtaking yachts, which are categorised in six different classes. Traditional, Vintage, Classic, Classic GRP, Spirit of Tradition and Tall Ships. Not all of the yachts are wooden, some date back to the 1900′s, others are modern-day reproductions.
However, all of the yachts are descendent or examples of traditionally rigged displacement sailboats. The yachts come from all over the world, crewed by a wide variety of passionate enthusiasts, some have astounding knowledge of the craftsmanship and skill of traditional yacht racing, others are inexperienced sailors that just want to enjoy the famous atmosphere of Antigua Classic Regatta. Each yacht has its own fascinating story; this individuality is part of the magic of ‘Classics and the dockside tales continue well into the night-time festivities.
The social programme kicks off with the Welcome Party at the Antigua Yacht Club on Wednesday 16th April. Every evening, the fun continues ashore with musical nights and social occasions for hundreds of competitors, friends and family. Racing in the magnificent sailing grounds, on the south coast of Antigua, starts on the 17th April with the Classic Single-Handed Race, followed by four days of racing for the full fleet.
The courses are romantically named; Old Road, Butterfly, Cannon and Windward are designed to take the best advantages of wind, sea, scenery and skill. The Antigua Classic Regatta concludes on the 22nd April with Afternoon Gig Racing and Cream Tea Party at the Admiral’s Inn, Nelson’s Dockyard and the Prize Giving Ceremony on the lawn of the Copper and Lumber Store.
The 27th edition of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta will be a very special occasion. After a short illness, Kenny Coombs, ‘Father of Antigua Classics’ passed away in October 2013. In 1988, Kenny formed a race committee for a classic yacht event that has grown in size and stature and attracts worldwide recognition for its beauty and down-right good fun. This April, those values will be celebrated whole-heartedly by the entire yachting community in Antigua and by absent friends the world over.
For more information on Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta: www.antiguaclassics.com
*Photos kindly provided by the Antigua Classic Regatta press office