Racing Charters in the Caribbean

David Schmidt had an exciting time at the Culebra Heineken International Regatta ("El Dragón," page 54), but Caribbean regattas aren't the sole province of locals and sailing journalists. Three big ones—the St. Martin Heineken Regatta (early March), BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival (early April), and Antigua Sailing Week (late April)—have charter (no-spinnaker)
Author:
Publish date:
SM0208CHARTEREDIT

David Schmidt had an exciting time at the Culebra Heineken International Regatta ("El Dragón," page 54), but Caribbean regattas aren't the sole province of locals and sailing journalists. Three big ones—the St. Martin Heineken Regatta (early March), BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival (early April), and Antigua Sailing Week (late April)—have charter (no-spinnaker) divisions, and several charter companies allow their boats to enter. (Note that many charter companies do not; others do, but don't have this information on their Web sites, so it will pay to call around.) The Moorings and Sunsail both offer racing packages that include entry fees, boat prep and measurement, and race support. Sunsail will also arrange charters for smaller regattas, such as Angostura Tobago Sailweek, that take place near one of its bases. Neither guarantees a private meeting with the "dragon."

The über Web site for Caribbean racing events is www.caribbean
racing.com; start here to find an annual calendar of events. Your basic choices are to charter a bareboat or to take a slot (or slots, if your friends want to join you), on a privately owned boat that comes with a captain and, usually, one crew. You'll find lists of charter companies (presumably all willing to do race charters) and private boats on the St. Martin Heineken site, www.heineken
regatta.com; the Antigua Sailing Week site, www.sailingweek.com; and the BVI Spring Regatta site, www. bvispringregatta.org. The BVI event has the additional option of chartering an IC24 (a converted J/24) from Racing in Paradise (www.racinginparadise.com) for a reasonable $1,700/week; you'll have to arrange shoreside accommodations, of course (and make your charter arrangements early; this is an active, locally owned fleet). I saw on these Web sites a potential third option—namely, crew slots on boats available through various European organizers.

If your objective is racing in Caribbean conditions rather than participating in a specific regatta, the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda has two big events, the Pro Am (early November) and the Midwinter Regatta (small boats, early January). Both are open to resort guests, as are the Sunday-morning Laser races and Wednesday-afternoon beer-can races, and you won't have to do any cooking.

Florida Yacht Charters (www.floridayacht.com) does allow charterers to participate in regattas and suggests a couple of "fun" races in South Florida—the Columbus Day Regatta (Rickenbacker Causeway to Elliot Key) and the Miami–Key Largo Regatta (mid-April)—as well as Abaco Race Week, Bahamas (early July).

Even if you don't consider racing to be a spectator sport, some races are—especially the colorful regattas that involve native boats. Here are some that can be watched while on a charter, and there's no yelling (on your boat): Exuma Family Island Regatta, George Town, Exuma, Bahamas (native sloops, April); Annual Grand Bahama Island Sailing Regatta (native sloops, June); Port Louis Grenada Sailing Festival and Workboat Regatta (late January); Foxy's Wooden Boat Regatta, Jost Van Dyke, BVI (late May).

Related

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more

190314-viddy

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A Source of Hope

The tagline for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is "serious sailing, serious fun." However, for the inhabitants of St. Maarten, the event is more than just a festival of great music and some of the best sailing around. Local blogger Angie Soeffker explains the impact the race ...read more

SPOTX-1500x1500_front

Gear: SPOT-X Satellite

Hits the SPOT The SPOT-X two-way satellite messenger is an economical way of staying connected to the outside world via text or e-mail when you’re at sea. As well as the messaging service, it has a distress function that not only alerts authorities if you’re in trouble, but lets ...read more

_8105684

A Kid’s Take on the Northwest Passage

Going North—and West Crack! Crunch! I woke with a start to the sound of ice scraping the hull of our 60ft sailboat, Dogbark. In a drowsy daze, I hobbled out of the small cabin I was sharing with my little sister. As I emerged into the cockpit, I swiveled my head, searching for ...read more

Nathan-Bates-San-Diego,-CA

SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.com And don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter. Check back for updates! We set sail from Chicago on a crossing to Saugatuck, ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Let her breathe When the wind’s so light your cigar smoke goes straight up (or it used to, before having fun was banned) any well-designed yacht with a clean bottom will somehow keep on sailing if you ...read more