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Chase the race: why you have to charter at The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta

By Oliver Pearson   Last Updated: 19 May 2023

Setting out from English Harbour each April, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta presents the ideal opportunity to experience the Caribbean island in style.

Established in the casual spirit of the 1960s, what is now known as the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta was at first just a few captains participating in an informal competition when heading to Guadeloupe at the end of the winter charter season.

Becoming an officially recognised regatta in 1967, this friendly contest became known as the Antigua Sailing Week. Bringing out the finest traditional sailing yachts, the event spanned four days and featured a number of races and social.

As the years went on, however, more and more modern racing yachts began to outnumber the classic vessels, and so it was decided in 1987 that an entirely new event needed to be created in order to honour true classic sailing yachts.

It was at this point that the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta was born, providing sailing enthusiasts and charter guests alike the opportunity to experience the golden age of yachting amidst beautiful surroundings.

A particularly exciting prospect, it’s possible to arrange a private yacht charter vacation to take place on board one of the yachts competing in the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Getting to know the various courses first-hand, those on board are guaranteed to be delivered right to the very heart of the action.

Of course, for those after something a little less adventurous and a little more relaxed, there’s the option to ‘chase the race’ by chartering a separate sailing yacht or motor yacht, enjoying the races from a distance, with a cocktail rather than some rigging in hand.

A hugely unique experience, chartering a yacht at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta promises to create unforgettable memories

Complemented by a range of social events, the regatta is also a good time for visitors to let their hair down and get immersed in the Caribbean spirit, taking in the sights which stretch along the coastline from Rendezvous Bay to the English Harbour.

Typically attracting over 60 of the finest sailing yachts, the event is particularly attractive to those with vintage tastebuds. Indeed, with historic icons regularly entering the competition, the regatta provides a unique chance to see some of the world’s greatest craftsmanship in one place.

Hosted in April, the sailing conditions for the regatta couldn’t be better. Indeed, the trade winds of the Caribbean around this time allow all of the ketches, schooners and yawls to perform at the very peak of their abilities.

As well as classes for traditional and vintage sailing yachts, there’s also a special ‘Spirit of Tradition’ race and a category for tall ships. With strict rules for each vessel entering these classes, visitors can be assured that they are seeing only the most refined classics.

With rum sundowners typically bringing the proceedings of each day to a memorable close, both those competing and those observing the spectacle of the racing can look forward to plenty of rest and relaxation whilst in Antigua.

What’s more, the programme regularly involves a range of activities which allow everyone to get into the spirit of Antigua. Receptions and prize giving ceremonies, for example, give visitors a chance to spend some time on the Caribbean mainland.

Classic sailing yacht heeling over at the Antigua Classic Sailing Regatta
Classic sailing yacht heeling over in rough seas at the Antigua Classic Sailing Regatta
Classic sailing yacht competing at the Antigua Classic Sailing Regatta

The main attractions of being onshore include the Admirial’s Inn located around Nelson’s Dockyard and the various colourful activities which take place on the dock itself.

One of the standout events which takes place on the dockyard is the Concours d’Elegance. A competition which awards prizes to vessels which most closely resemble their original form, this event provides visitors with a true taste of history.

Coming in April, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta is the perfect way to extend the winter charter season

Ultimately, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta is the perfect event to attend for charter guests who are looking for something unique in the Caribbean over winter.

Transporting visitors back to a golden age, and exuding the coolest Caribbean vibes, there can be no doubt that it is a truly unique prospect.

Classic sailing yachts competing at the Antigua Classic Sailing Regatta

In order to find out more regarding a yacht charter vacation at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, feel free to get in touch with your preferred charter broker.

Alternatively, take a look at all of the superyachts available for charter in the Leeward Islands.

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