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:
Updated:
Original:

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

02-'17-Trans-Atlantic_Downwind-Schralpin

At The Helm: Man Overboard!

Imagine this simple scenario: the boat’s powered up, sailing close-hauled in a building breeze under full sail. I come on deck as the skipper during the watch change to make sure the new crew is comfortable and the boat is properly set up for both the current conditions and ...read more

Promo-01-LEAD-MGR00321

Contrasting X-Yachts & Moody Cruisers

One of the most fascinating things about sailboats is the different ways that sailors, naval architects and builders will approach a single design problem. The result has been a bewildering array of rigs and hull forms over the years, and in the case of the two boats we’ll be ...read more

04-Yacht-anchored-in-front-of-one-of-Lastovo's-gunboat-tunnels-(3)

Cruising Charter to Croatia

As is the case with so much of the Mediterranean, to sail in Croatia is to take a journey through time. Centuries before the birth of Christ, Greeks traded amphoras of oil, wine and grain across these waters. During the first millennium, the Romans built lavish palaces and ...read more

m123728_13_01_171012_PMA_02901_9999

Alicante Announced as an Ocean Race Europe Stop

The Ocean Race Europe, a new event in offshore sailing, will include Alicante as one of four stopover cities. This European offshoot of the former Volvo Ocean Race will include the biggest change to the racing rules under the new title—fully crewed IMOCA 60s will join the ...read more

01-LEAD-doublehanded2

Preparing for a Doublehanded Race

A few months ago we took a look at the development and attraction of doublehanded racing (Two to Tango, June/July 2020). Hopefully, that served to whet your appetite. If so, the question becomes: “How do I get started? The good news, as we explained in Part 1, is that if you are ...read more

01-LEAD-Day-three---dolphins.-300-dpi

A Key Approach to Passagemaking

How you approach offshore sailing is key to the success of each passage. In addition, some of the most valuable, even crucial attitudes and skills may not be either learned or valued in everyday life on shore and may even fly in the face of talents that are greatly admired and ...read more

OceanVoyagesInstitute-2048

Point of SAIL: Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Institute

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a not-for-profit based in California that has been both educating sailors and working to preserve the health of the world’s ocean ...read more

01-Ocean-Voyages-Institute_PHOTO-READY_1_pg

Tracking and Catching Plastic Waste

Plastic waste—in the form of everything from plastic soda bottles to abandoned fishing nets—constitutes a major threat to the health of the world’s oceans. Giving the immense size of an ocean, though, actually finding all the plastic floating around out there in a time-efficient ...read more