Last April, sailors from around the world came together for the 49th running of Antigua Sailing Week in what seems to be the Caribbean’s friendliest regatta. On certain days, the tradewinds gusted over 20 knots, while on others the heavier boats labored in light breezes under acres of sail. Racing rock stars also maneuvered among bareboat charter hopefuls a few minutes before each start. In many cases, they even rubbed shoulders with amateurs on the same boat, making it a world of equals.
Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator, for example, cleaned up in every race and included Ian Walker, winning skipper of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race as tactician. However, the crew also included 18-year old Antiguan, Rhone Kirby, providing an opportunity of a lifetime thanks to Langley’s interest in developing young talent.
Of course, Kirby is not just a kid off the street looking for a ride. He represented Antigua and Barbuda at the 2014 Youth Olympics and is looking forward to competing in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.
Walker noted that his own eyes would have popped out if given this kind of opportunity at such a young age and complimented Kirby on his contribution and raw talent. Clearly we should all be sure to keep an eye out for this young sailor in years to come!
For more on this year’s Antigua Sailing Week, which celebrates its first half century in 2017, visit sailingweek.com.