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Regatta season in the Caribbean: SeaHelp names the ten hottest races in the spring

Regatta Caribbean: Grenada Sailing Week
© Matt. Müncheberg

When temperatures are still cold in Europe, the regatta season has long since begun in the Caribbean. Barbados traditionally opened the round with the Sailing Week in January; at the end of April is Kehraus at the big Caribbean races in Antigua. Some yachts are looking for crew members “hand against berth”, often participation with your own charter boat is possible. On other yachts, you can also at short notice still book a berth for various sailing events..

Wintertime is mostly sailing-free time, at least this is true in our European latitudes. But that must not always be so, because somewhere in the world is finally always just summer. Those who want to escape the winter blues will find great sailing events in the Caribbean from January to April, which are suitable for beginners and ambitious regatta sailors alike. Sea Help names the ten hottest winter and spring racing events.

1 Barbados Sailing Week with the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race

The highlight of the Caribbean regatta calendar in January is traditionally Barbados Sailing Week, which this year ran from Jan. 18-23. Barbados is the easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles island chain and is located in the Atlantic Ocean. Barbados Sailing Week begins on Friday with the opening ceremony, followed by various dinghy competitions.

Then, on the following weekend, offshore sailing races traditionally run along the south and west coasts of Barbados. The highlight is the legendary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race on Saturday, followed by the final offshore race and awards ceremony on Sunday. In addition to the sailing events, the Kite and Wing Festival will take place in Oistins Bay and Long Beach on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

2 Spice Island Sail: Grenada Sailing Week and Workboat Regatta in late February

Grenada Sailing Week is actually split into two parts: this year, from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, the Grenada Sailing Festival, followed by the Grenada Workboat Regatta on Feb. 25 and 26. Grenada, an island state and the name of an island belonging to it in the Lesser Antilles, which belongs geographically to the islands over the wind in the Caribbean Sea, is attainable since short again with a direct flight from Frankfurt.


Regatta Caribbean: Grenada Sailing Week
© Matt. Muencheberg


The Sailing Festival, which featured several attractive racing courses and a 38-nautical-mile long course from Carriacou to Grenada, saw a total of 33 yachts participate this year, including On Deck-Racing’s training yacht Spirit of Juno, a Millennium Farr 65 that offered individual berths for fellow sailors at the event. Make a note: 2024 Sailing Festval runs from Sunday, January 28 to Friday, February 2.



3 RORC Caribbean 600 Race in Antigua – 80 yachts competed in the 600 nautical mile race

Deep into the Northern Hemisphere winter months, Antigua is blessed with warm trade winds and ocean swells. The RORC Caribbean 600, a special class offshore event for many sailors worldwide, started this year on February 20 from Antigua. Organized in collaboration with the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the 11-day program is designed to provide “unforgettable social events” for everyone.

Between February 13 and 24, 2023, the RORC, with the support of the Antigua Yacht Club, organized the first RORC Nelson’s Cup Series, followed by the 14th RORC Caribbean 600, with six races scheduled and an attractive shore program. Racing under IRC, MOCRA and one-design rules, competitors can participate in all-or just part-of the series, or just the inshore races. For the 600-mile offshore race, from which the event takes its name, 80 boats competed this year. The Spirit of Juno was again on hand to offer berth charters.

4 Largest regatta in the entire Caribbean: the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta celebrated its 43rd edition in 2023, March 2-5. It is the largest regatta in the Caribbean and probably the largest “warm water regatta” in the world anywhere. Every year, more than 20,000 visitors attend the four-day event with attractive regatta formats, parties and of course – well-chilled beer.

5 Big, Bigger Biggest: Superyachts at St. Barths Bucket Regatta

After three long years, the Bucket made its comeback with superyacht owners, crews and guests bringing the event back to life with exciting racing and fun on the shore. The 2022 edition featured 30 entries divided into seven classes of competition (Class Breaks), with the spectacular J Class, a 5-yacht Corinthian Spirit and the debut of the 90-foot Class. There was a similarly spectacular fleet at this year’s 2023 Bucket edition, which set sail March 15-19.

6 Warm Water & Hot Racing: 50th Edition of the BVI Spring Regatta, Tortola

In 1972, local sailors felt it was the right time to organize a major regatta. By this time bareboat charter had become established in the BVI, with small Squib and Sunfish fleets and other privately owned yachts. Now running from 3/27 (and continuing through 4/2) is the 50th edition of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, Tortola.

“Warm Water & Hot Racing”, is traditionally the motto of this attractive racing series, which features short and long distance races (Round the Island). The BVI is made up of 64 islands and has long been known as a top sailing destination, from the sheltered waters of the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the outer islands with numerous natural markers offering multiple opportunities to add variety to the racing.

7 Maxis, Supermaxis and a party every day: the Les Voiles de St. Barth

From 4/16 to 4/22, just over two weeks from now, the Les Voiles des St. Barth will run. The beauty of Saint Barth and its exceptional sailing conditions provide the ideal setting for a high-profile regatta; the Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille welcomes guests for five days of racing on various coastal courses with many highlights ashore.

Concerts run every evening, organized crew parties on a beautiful island beach and a “Day Off” to celebrate or enjoy the island’s charms. Several classes compete each year, led by the Maxis and Super Maxis, now racing under IRC. More than just a regatta, the Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille invites you to enjoy the best of the French art of living…

8 The Classics: Antigua Sailing Week & Classics in April and early May

Classics fans take note: the traditional Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta runs again from April 19-24. Classic yachts had begun chartering in English Harbour as early as the 1960s, and skippers and crews challenged each other to a race to Guadeloupe at the end of the charter season. From this informal race, Antigua Sailing Week was born in 1967. At that time, all yachts were “classic”; today, races are held in a variety of boat classes.

Just a week later, the modern yachts will be racing: from 4/30 to 5/5 at the Antigua Sailing Week. A Racing Rules of Racing seminar opens the legendary sailing week on April 28, followed by Round Antigua and a Welcome Party on April 29. April 30 is English Harbour Rum Race Day, May 1 runs the Axxess Marine Y2K Race, followed by another Ragatta Day. May 3 is Layday, and May 4 is Locman Woman`s Race Day. Day five starts the final races – and the closing party.

9 Together Across the Atlantic: Start of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, St. Maarten

This year, the ARC Europe Rally will start in St. Maarten on May 6, traveling via Bermuda to Portugal. Yet the ARC Europe aims to be more than just a passage across the ocean; for the creators of the community regatta, it’s a “social way to start a European adventure or end a Caribbean season.” The rally has two starts; From St. Maarten or the US East Coast with online support; with the two fleets meeting in Bermuda.

10 Fun Regatta for Hlzboat Lovers: Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta, BVI

Foxy’s in the British Virgin Islands is legendary; members refer to themselves as the Fun Yacht Club of the BVI, whose mission is to promote safe and fun sailing. To achieve this, at least six regattas are held each year. One of the most interesting of these is Fox’s Wooden Boat Regatta on Jost Van Dyke.

In the past, almost exclusively wooden boats participated in this friendly fun regatta. Last year, the only “real” wooden boat that participated was the Youth Instructor, a Tortola slup. However, Foxy, the initiator of the event is quoted as saying that the legendary Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta will still exist in 2023; generally, he will organize the races as long as there are at least two wooden boats left in the Caribbean. One thing is certain: fun and good humor are always guaranteed at Foxy’s!

All in all, there are more than 100 sailing events throughout the year in the Caribbean, so there should be something for everyone, but the months of December to April have the fewest thunderstorms, and the dry season in the Caribbean, when little rain falls, is from January to June. It should also be noted that the official hurricane season for the tropical Atlantic is given by the Hurricane Center in Florida from June 1 to November 30.


Regatta Caribbean: Grenada Sailing Week
© Matt. Muencheberg
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