How To Make Antigua Sailing Week Better

Photo by Kevin Johnson,
Known throughout the world for its splendid beaches and top hotels Antigua and Barbuda can rightfully claim to be the Caribbean’s Capital of Sailing.
No one event demonstrates this more than its world famous race week.
The organisers of Antigua Race Week the Caribbean’s number one come-one come-all sail boat regatta know that they produce a good event.  Like most organisers however, they strive constantly to make it better.
Antigua Sailing Week’s tag line clearly states ‘where sailing comes first’ and therefore by extension, it suggests: ‘where sailors come first’.  Receiving feedback from participants on a regular basis is therefore crucial to the future success of the event.

Gaining feedback, using surveys, is a useful and frequently productive means of understanding how participants enjoyed the event and how they would like to see things change in the future.  So, hoping they would not open up a can of worms, the organisers decided to conduct their own survey and have been pleasantly surprised with what they found out.
Kathy Lammers, Chairman of the Regatta Organising Committee said:  “We were very pleased with the positive feedback particularly in light of the many changes that were made.” 
Antigua Sailing Week has had online surveys in place for a number of years.  It welcomes feedback via social networks, email and the old style of meeting and talking to each other face to face, all of which have become increasingly useful in providing insight into what worked and what didn’t.
Photo: Tim Wright

Feedback received since last years regatta has been overwhelmingly positive, although it is recognised that there is always room for improvement.
What worked well the organisers found was, the dividing boats into classes.  Not always popular with everyone but overall the concept works well.  Race courses used were found to have worked well but start times and course overlaps may be altered in time for next year’s event to make for safer racing.
The vast majority of competitors were happy with the number of races and the time spent on the water.  There were a few exceptions coming mainly from sailors anxious to get to the golf course in the afternoon.  As the majority of participants come to Race Week for the sailing, the concerns of golfers are going to be somewhat difficult to address.
The optional Yachting World Round Antigua Race, open to all boats whether or not entered in Antigua Sailing Week, was exceptionally well received, although there were very few entrants who didn’t also participate in the full week of racing.  As awareness of it spreads, considerable growth in participation is anticipated, including from boats not entered in Antigua Sailing Week.
Antigua Race Week provides as much fun ashore as it dies on the water and this years parties centred on English Harbour and Falmouth were in general favoured over the multi destination events of previous years
Almost all respondents to the online survey said that they would recommend it to their friends.  When asked what they would do to improve the event, most said it needed nothing more than a few tweaks.
The more humorous respondents suggested ‘free rum’ and ‘more dancing girls’.   Others said simply ‘just can’t make it better really’, ‘nothing comes to mind’ and ‘just keep doing what you’re doing’.
Overall, the resounding message that has been received from all feedback is that it is once again the regatta on the Caribbean circuit and one not to be missed.

With that message comes the expectation that entry numbers will continue to grow in 2013 and future years.  Online entries are open at www.sailingweek.comnow


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