Racing Warms Up in the Caribbean
January 9, 2017
– Islands of the Eastern Caribbean
If you don't have your own boat in the Caribbean or don't want to crew on someone else's boat, you can always charter one. May we suggest Elenora, the 135-ft schooner that was built in 2002 in the spirit of the great Herreshoff schooner Westward. While she sleeps 12, she usually races with a crew of 64, meaning there will be plenty of room for all your friends.
Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Now that the holidays are over, the racing season is starting in earnest in the Eastern Caribbean. It doesn’t matter if you’re cruising or chartering in the area, regattas bring a lot of sailing spirit to wherever they happen. Sometimes it’s fun just to watch, other times it might be even more fun if you enter your boat or become one of the crew on another boat.
While there are countless regattas in the Caribbean, here is a list of some of the biggest and most fun-focused events:
• Jan 31-Feb 4 — Grenada Sailing Week. Semi-serious but lots of fun. Decent chance to get a berth on a boat.
• Feb 9-12 — Jolly Harbour Antigua Valentine's Regatta. Mellow fun sailing in some of the best pleasure-sailing waters of the world, the lee of Antigua.
• Sometime In Feb at Soper’s Hole, Tortola, British Virgins — The Sweethearts of the Caribbean Regatta. Schooners, classic yachts, and others make this low-key fun. Good chance to catch a ride on a boat.
• Feb 20-24 — Caribbean 600, starts and ends in Antigua. This is hardcore racing for hardcore sailors, and is often sailed in full-on Caribbean tradewind conditions. This is not an event for casual sailors, but watching the start from Antigua's Shirley Heights is fantastic.
• Feb 28 Mardi Gras — This is about partying, not sailing, and while Feb 28 is the main date, different islands in the Caribbean celebrate it at different times of year.
• March 2-4 — The Heineken St Maarten Regatta is one of the great regattas of the Eastern Caribbean. It attracts hard-core racing boats and racers, but also has a very large bareboat fleet. Good opportunity to be crew.
• March 17-20 — St. Barth's Bucket. The Bucket is for 100- to 200-ft-plus boats. If you act if you're a longtime sailor, you may get a ride. Personally, we think it’s more fun to watch.
• March 27-Apr 2 — The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. Good times for everyone in all kinds of boats. Good chance to get a berth.
• April 11-14 — Les Voiles de St Barth. The Wanderer’s favorite regatta. Hard-core racing with equally hard-core partying as only the French know how. Decent chance to get on a boat.
• April 19-25 — Antigua Classic Regatta. Truly a one-of-a-kind regatta, so it’s lucky that the Voiles de St. Barth and ‘Classic’ no longer overlap. You can do them both, as you get four days to make it 80 miles between islands.
• April 28-May 4 — Antigua Sailing Week. This is the 50th anniversary of the Caribbean Regatta that took the sailing world by storm in the 1980s. It’s not what it once was, but it’s still great, with lots of terrific boats and lots of charter boats sailing in ideal conditions.
• May 1 — The racing season is over. Done. Finished. Everyone’s gone to the Med, the Northeast or Panama.
For additional Caribbean races click here and, for the Caribbean and all your Northern California racing opportunities, pick up a copy of Latitude 38's Northern California Sailing Calendar at your Bay Area marine outlet or check it out online here.
- latitude / richard