Racing Charters in the Caribbean - Sail Magazine

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

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more