Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta

We returned to Falmouth Harbour from Green Island/Nonsuch Bay in time for the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Here is a little about the regatta.

To borrow with minor modification from the website: The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, hosts between 50 and 60 yachts every year and enjoys a wonderful variety of competitors including traditional craft from the islands, classic ketches, sloops, schooners, and yawls making the bulk of the fleet, together with the stunningly beautiful Spirit of Tradition yachts, J Class yachts, and Tall Ships….


“To be eligible for the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, all entries should have a full keel, be of moderate to heavy displacement, built of wood or steel, and be of traditional rig and appearance. Old craft restored using modern materials such as epoxy or glass sheathing, or new craft built along the lines of an old design, are acceptable. Vessels built of ferro-cement may be accepted if they have a gaff or traditional schooner rig. Fibreglass yachts must have a long keel with a keel-hung rudder and be a descendant of a wooden hull design.”

The yachts begin arriving well before the event.  To get a good spot in the marina?  No, so they have time to polish and varnish and put on a spectacular show.  A substantial part of the event is the Concours d’Elegance judging.  Even Old Bob, a ferrocement cruising boat that is a favorite with the crowd gets scrubbed, polished, and painted.

Some of the boats lined up in Antigua Yacht Club Marina

Carriacou sloops – fast, classic workboats

We watched the five days of racing from the cliffs above the mouth of Falmouth Harbour and from a couple of friends’ boats.  The view from above was hard to believe because there were so many beautiful classic yachts sailing Antigua’s south coast.  The view from spectator boats let us get up close and personal with these amazing yachts as they passed by.

Check out the guys on the bow sprit. Setting the headsails is not for the faint of heart.

This appeared to be standard practice for setting this sail

View from the hilltop of the start of one of the classic classes

Just how many sails can you fly on two masts?

Spirit of Tradition class – a modern yacht built to look like a classic – except of the hi-tech sails

Elena, a 136 foot Herreschoff design

Old Bob, a 40 ft ferro-cement boat (left) may be one of the slowest boats, but she and her fun loving crew are crowd favorites. Jambayla (right) is a 73 ft wooden Windward Schooner recently built with traditional materials

Watching a race from Nirvana 64. L to R Capn. Morgan, Steve (Sailacious), and Laurel (Here Today)

Watching the race from the Santa Cruz 70, Hotel California Too


It may surprise you, but yes, there are parties associated with the regatta – pretty much every day.  In addition, Mount Gay Rum sponsers happy hours at many of the local establishments.  You purchase three Mount Gay Rum drinks and you get your choice of either a Mount Gay Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta T-shirt or a voucher that can be turned in for a Mount Gay Antigua Sailing Week red hat.  In other words, you can drink yourself a wardrobe.

Jackie and Janice (Sailacious) show off their new Mount Gay Rum t-shirts

Our friend Peter (Jabiru) stands in on saxaphone with a local band

Shirley Heights

No trip to the English Harbour/Falmouth Harbour area would be complete without a visit to Shirley Heights.  This is an array of gun emplacements and military buildings overlooking English and Falmouth Harbours which is a great vantage point for spectacular sunsets.  You can munch on local food and get cool drinks from the bar while listening to a pan band.

Sunset from Shirley Heights

Cream Tea Party

There are many parties and events associated with the regatta, but there are none like the Cream Tea.  Held at the Admiral’s Inn in Nelson’s Dockyard, the Cream Tea boasts wonderful food served by ladies dressed in high style for afternoon tea.  The entertainment is gig racing held in English Harbour off the back lawn of the Inn.  A grand time was had by all.

Jackie selects some tidbits to go with her tea

Julia (left) and her photographer friend.

The gig racing was fun and entertaining

Next: Antigua Sailing Week

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