Photo: Corey Silken / Panerai
Yachts of all kinds, from multi-masted schooners to smaller beach-built craft, eagerly await the Antigua Classic Regatta on April 18th – 24th. Now in its 30th edition, the event is known for spectacular racing powered by the perfect trade winds blowing through this time of year. However, the conditions are not the chief reason that teams flock to Antigua for the storied event. Recognized for its intimate atmosphere and exceptional camaraderie, the UNESCO heritage site provides the ideal setting for stunning yachts and their sailors to intermingle from all over the world.
Since its inception in 1967, the Antigua Classics regatta has been the premier classic sailing event of the spring. It started when founders Kenny Coombs and Uli Pruesse hosted a meeting with other classic skippers onboard the magnificent schooner Aschanti of Saba and, several rums later, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta was born.
ACYR was a pretty informal regatta, and Coombs worked tirelessly as the event’s ambassador by running the regatta and hosting the fleet. He was known for recruiting people to sail and highlighting the bonds formed between participants that make the week of classics sailing such a memorable event. Year after year, sailors return because the competition is fierce yet lighthearted. In the tradition of the founders, corinthian spirit governs the rules in the interest of safety and preservation.
Off the water, regatta participants enjoy a busy schedule of events unique to Antigua including opportunities to get dolled up in costume, a sea shanty competition, and The Concours d’Elégance sponsored by the Herreshoff Marine Museum. This special event celebrates the tradition of classic vessels with points awarded according to the condition of each yacht, including how close she is to her original form.
”While the appeal of classic yachts is caught up with aesthetics, sailing performance, a sense of history and timelessness, the most profound draw to classics is something intangible…perhaps it has to do with heart and soul…the way a yacht has a life of her own, transcending her owner,” reads the contest’s description.
On Saturday evening, CYOA and the Admiral’s Inn will co-host the annual owners’ reception at Boom!, and all CYOA members are invited to join. CYOA is also providing the trophy for the overall winner of the regatta.
With its combination of consistently spectacular sailing conditions and a terrific shoreside social program, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta offers more than just stand-out racing experience for classic yacht owners and their crews. ACYR participants form bonds through sailing that last a lifetime, and many yachts return year after year.