Even before the very first Antigua Sailing Week in 1968, yachts from overseas were sailing across the Atlantic to a winter paradise in the Caribbean.
Back in the 70s and 80s crossing the Atlantic was a very different experience from today – navigators followed the stars using a sextant to pinpoint landfall in the Caribbean.
Today most have hi-tech satellite navigation systems but the sailing conditions haven’t changed.
The annual migration to the Caribbean started in earnest last month with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. The inaugural Christmas Caribbean Rally left Lanzarote headed for Antigua on Monday, December 16 and early in 2014 the Oyster World Rally will finally come to rest back in Antigua after leaving in January 2013.
Many other yachts will be making the crossing by other means – it is estimated that over 2,000 yachts sail across the Atlantic every year and many come to the Caribbean from much further afield.
Antigua Sailing Week is still famous for big breeze and tropical swell, providing exhilarating racing in blissfully warm waters under the hot sun. With fabulous parties ashore, who wouldn’t want to participate?
Performance Yacht Charters has several yachts crossing the Atlantic and at least four of them will be competing at Antigua Sailing Week including Southern Child, El Ocaso and Northern Child.
Of the early 36 entries Robert Dates’ Reichel Pugh 52, Scarlet Runner will be one of the boats who will have travelled the furthest. In January, the Australian yacht will race nearly 4,000 miles in the Cape to Rio Race before sailing another 3,000 miles to the Caribbean to take part in Antigua Sailing Week.
Caribbean yachts are also well represented with the Antiguan sailing legend Sir Hugh Bailey from Antigua is sure to be there having competed at every Antigua Sailing Week since 1968.
Peter Morris’ Frers 43, Jaguar will be sailing up-island from Trinidad, as will Alex Johnstone’s Blue Water Sailing from Grenada.
Sunsail offers tailor-made bareboat packages and German charter company KH+P yachtcharter offers a package revolving around Antigua Sailing Week.