News Americas, New York, NY, Weds. Jan. 19, 2022: Geologically, the island of Antigua is a young one and was born out of the sea by a volcano some 30 million years ago. Today, its warm waters host fans of the yachting and sailing lifestyle, with areas such as Carlisle Bay, on the southwest of the island, and Nonsuch Bay on the east, offering splendid places for fans of sailing to anchor and explore the waters of the island or step onto dry land and explore Antigua itself.
Below is a look at the popularity of yachting in Antigua, plus some of the main boating events on the island and the impact of COVID-19 on yachting and sailing on the island.
The Popularity Of Yachting In Antigua
When it comes to sailing in Antigua, yacht chartering in Antigua is the thing to do. The island plays to travellers’ passion for yachting and other action on the oceans. The favourable stable conditions, including an easterly wind, the island experiences between December and May make safe sailing extra easy.
Each year, Antigua Classics Week takes place, in which around 50 to 60 yachts participate. Fans of yachting can see a variety of boats during this feast of sailing, including schooners, yawls, ketches, traditional craft from the island and more.
Preparations had previously been running smoothly, even in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, but eventually, as the pandemic got worse, the organisers finally had to call off the event. They’ve now proudly announced that it will be going ahead in 2022, from March 30 to April 4 though. Fans of the Classic will be pleased to hear the Dragon class is making a return to the regatta this year.
Antigua Sailing Week
April is something of a big month in Antigua for sailing. Not long has the Antigua Classics regatta passed and it’s already time for Antigua Sailing Week, one of the most prestigious sailing events in the world. In fact, this event has been around for more than 50 years, to the point Antigua just wouldn’t be Antigua without it. Sailing fans from as far across the globe as Russia and South Africa all make their way to the island to be a part of the action.
This year is set to be especially exciting and hosts a variety of contests for boating fans. There will be a Club Class category, a Sportboat category and a Bareboat one, to name a few. The fact that the organisers are looking at splits based on boat type, rather than overall boat length has created additional excitement and anticipation. The presence of skippers who have attended sailing week for decades will also be welcomed.
Antigua And COVID-19
Of course, Antigua has fallen victim to the chaos of COVID-19 just like many other parts of the world have. The problem has been a little less severe than in some parts of the world. Throughout 2020, the population of 100,00 (of Antigua and Barbuda combined) experienced just 159 confirmed cases and five deaths, so it appears the nation had a handle on the problem.
As mentioned, the Antigua Classic was cancelled, and the island began to struggle a little more with the virus in 2021. Tourism from the US, from where US citizens from the east of the continent can fly directly to the island, increased and, along with it, COVID-19. In 2021, the island experienced 28 deaths and Antigua began to tighten up its controls.
Dealing With COVID-19
Whether you’re a national returning to the island, or a traveller visiting, you must be able to present proof of full vaccination. To enter the country, you should also present a negative test result within four days of travel from a PCR test or a lateral flow test. Full vaccination and a negative test result will allow you to say on biosafe/certified accommodation, which can include yachts.
When arriving to the country, the authorities may ask you to take a test, an expense which you must cover. If you present a negative lateral flow test, you will receive advice on activities you can do while waiting for the results of a PRC test.
Just like many other parts of the world, Antigua is encouraging the use of face coverings, which can be removed for eating and drinking. Gatherings can consist of no more than 10 people and, in general, social distancing is required.
COVID-19 And Sailing
When it comes to boat racing, registration, and payment to participate in any of the action must be performed online. Groups that charter together must stay together. Skippers won’t receive skippers’ bags, but they’ll be provided with any documentation they need digitally.
As much as race participants may appreciate the presence of the general public at the events, that won’t be possible. Due to COVID-19, the public aren’t permitted access to the marinas, so the sailors will have to dig deep to persevere in the race.
The stable conditions Antigua experiences make getting out onto the water in a yacht or other boat a pleasurable past-time for travelers and residents of Antigua alike. April is an especially exciting month on the island, due to all the sailing action, which attracts competitors from all over the world. Despite some of the damage COVID-19 has done to the island, sailing events are now beginning to go ahead again in 2022, thankfully, and Antigua looks ready to have another thrilling sailing season ahead of it.