Antigua Sailing Week has had a rough time over the last couple of years. The popular event that draws participants from around the world was hit harder than most by the global financial crisis, but organisers have a plan to change the format slightly to keep the regatta appealing to its target market.
Like many sailing events, that target market is sailors, and with a strong charter element, Antigua Sailing Week can afford to concentrate on those taking part and not have to worry too much about spectators.
The 44th Antigua Sailing Week will include some changes. A newly formed Regatta Organising Committee (ROC) will be responsible solely for racing and race organisation and they have looked at formats used at different regattas around the world to finalise a new racing programme. These include varying course lengths to suit the large variety of yachts that enter the Regatta each year.
Kathy Lammers, Chairman of the ROC commented:
“The new Regatta Organising Committee is very aware of how important it is to provide competitive, exciting and fair racing with excellent courses and management. Times are changing and so are the expectations of sailors for world-class sailing events. We have therefore had extensive consultations in recent weeks with past participants of Antigua Sailing Week which have contributed significantly to our event planning for Sailing Week 2011. We think the sailors will be very pleased come April with the many changes we have planned for the Regatta.”
The Ocean Series will also have some changes on offer for 2011. The Guadeloupe Race will remain as a feeder race to Antigua Sailing Week but will not be part of the Ocean Series. The Redonda Race will not be returning but the Series will see the addition of courses suitable for the ocean going and high performance yachts that are expected to participate in the event.
The main focus for 2011 is on providing a variety of race courses suitable for all competitors whilst maintaining a high standard of race management. New in the 2011 Notice of Race is provision for entry using CSA and/or IRC rating systems.
Efforts are also being concentrated on ensuring that there is a good fleet of cruising and charter boats and, subject to demand, Antigua Sailing Week may lay on courses and events for the IMOCA 60s and Class 40s that will be in the Caribbean following the finish of the Route de Rhum earlier in the season in neighbouring Guadeloupe.
The new Chairman of Sailing Week, Ian Fraser, commented,
“Feedback has been enormous and positive, and we are gratified by the goodwill that exists for Antigua Sailing Week and the desire of yachtsmen worldwide to come to Antigua to enjoy all that we have to offer. What is clear is that the racing has to be challenging but also that Antigua Sailing Week is about having fun both on and off the water.”