30th Antigua Classics Regatta to be Held in UNESCO World Heritage Site – Nelson’s Dockyard
23 Feb 2017
As a special celebration for 2017, the Antigua Yacht Club is proud to partner with the National Parks Authority to host the 30th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta in Nelson’s Dockyard, recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 18th century forts surrounding English Harbor and the exquisitely restored buildings and structures within, create the perfect stage for this world-class sailing event sponsored by Panerai.
This is the first time the regatta has been hosted in the Dockyard, bringing traditional yachting full circle, back to the historic spot where Caribbean chartering and the showcasing of time-honored vessels began in the 1950‘s under the guidance of the Nicholson family. Restoration of the Dockyard began in the same era so bringing this year’s stunning fleet to English Harbor is both an honor and a salute to preserving history and tradition.
The regatta was launched in 1988, with only seven vessels and a lengthy course between Antigua and Guadeloupe. International officialdom and fluky winds necessitated moving the contest to the waters off Antigua. It is a testament to timeless values that the race now annually hosts upwards of fifty stunning vessels for a week of racing, celebrations, camaraderie and pride.
Antigua’s Classic Regatta gained notoriety in 1996 with the introduction of the “Spirit of Tradition” class, giving new classics – built along the lines of predecessors, an opportunity to race with those built generations before. This remarkable class is now accepted and growing throughout the world.
The 2017 list of entrants is growing long, last year’s overall winner, the 46’ Kettenburg sloop Janley is returning to defend her title along with Columbia, the 141’ replica of the 1923 Gloucester Fishing Schooner. Samara T, a 43’ gaff cutter is sailing 1700 miles from Canada; Faiaoahe, a 66’ Spirit of tradition boat, recently crossed the Atlantic; and Stiletto, a 33’ Kim Holman sloop, will arrive by ship from the US. Herreshoff designs causing a stir include the 137’ gaff-rigged schooner Mariette of 1915; the 136’ schooner Elena of London and the venerable 1926 built Mary Rose. Numerous beauties debuting include Spirit of Bermuda, a 112’ three masted schooner, the 115’ schooner Eros, the 46’ yawl Musketeer of Stutton and the popular fleet of Carriacou sloops…
Shoreside activities, enhanced for this momentous year, kick off with a dockside marina mingle. The schedule features numerous stage performances, the Concours d’Elégance, some fun contests, owner’s party and popular gig racing and cream tea party. Highlighting the week is the vintage ball, an evening of costumes and fine dining set amidst the extraordinary ambience of the Copper and Lumber Store Hotel.
The regatta owes it’s success to all of its generous sponsors, including Panerai, National Parks, Mount Gay Rum, Presidente,Chippy, Woodstock, OnDeck and all the others, as well as a strong committee, teams of volunteers and one man who gave it his heart and soul. Kenny Coombs was at the helm for 25 years until his untimely death in 2013. It is fitting that for the 30th anniversary, his wife, Jane Coombs, is co-chair along with traditional yacht enthusiast, Alexis Andrews.
The 30th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai, April 19 – 25 2017 will be a once in a lifetime celebration.
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