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Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta

Antigua Classic Regatta

The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta was due to take place from the 1st to the 7th April 2020 and promised to be a fantastic event, celebrating the magical combination of serious racing, laid-back Antiguan hospitality, plenty of rum and sunshine. Unfortunately, due to the current global climate and the unprecedented changes to travel, the regatta has been postponed until 31st March to the 6th April 2021.

Despite these changes however, we still want to shine the light on this important racing event that we know many of our customers look forward to each year.

The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta traditionally kicks off with registration and welcome party.

The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta is one of the premier classic sailing events that takes place every year and attracts a large number of classic yachts from all over the world. The four days of racing is a fantastic spectacle, with a feeling of a true bygone era.

It is now in its 33rd year and the regatta attracts a wide variety of competitors including traditional craft from the islands, vintage, classic and historic ketches, sloops, schooners and yawls making the bulk of the fleet. It even attracts a number of Tall Ships and more newly built Spirit of Tradition yachts and Dragon class. Whilst there is usually a friendly atmosphere between crews, all boats will be racing hard and there will be close attention paid to individual times and performances using racing chronograph watches.

Regatta History

The origins of the Regatta date back to the 60’s when a number of classic yachts that were chartering on the island in English Harbour started challenging each other to race down to Guadeloupe. This informal race morphed into the first Antigua Sailing Week in 1967.

Over the next 24 years, more yachts joined the race, but the classic yachts were slowly becoming outnumbered by faster, sleeker modern racing yachts. Having been pushed into a separate cruising Class, the classic skippers (obviously over several rums) decided to break away and set up their own race series and the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta was born.

The Antigua Classic Regatta today

The Regatta is one of the most renowned in the world and has evolved into an annual event that draws a lot of attention from the classic yacht community. The fleet is typically split into six racing divisions; Traditional, Vintage, Classic, Classic GPR, Spirit of the Tradition and Tall Ships.

To be eligible for the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, entries need to have a full keel, be of moderate to heavy displacement, built of wood or steel, and be of traditional rig and appearance. Old sailing craft restored using modern materials such as epoxy or glass sheathing, or new craft built along the lines of an old design, are also acceptable. Vessels built of ferrocement 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 descendent of a wooden hull design.

The 2020 event was set to attract a number of entrants including the magnificent 137′ Herreshoff gaff schooner Elena of London, the beautiful 86′ 1939 Henry Gruber yawl Nordwind and the stunning 203′ Andre Hoek designed Athos.

Schooner Elena
Schooner Elena


Henry Gruber yawl Nordwind
86’ Henry Gruber yawl NORDWIND, built in 1939 and pictured here participating in the 2012 Antigua Classics. Image by Tim Wright www.photoaction.com

Concours d’Elégance

A Concours d’Elégance usually takes place on the second day, providing an opportunity for owners and crew to show off the care and attention they give to their yacht, with prizes for both privately and professionally maintained yachts. Judging takes place in the morning, where over 50 stunning classic yachts are paraded in the Antigua Yacht Club Marina.

The Regatta also includes a classic car show, open mic music nights and plenty of partying – and of course plenty of rum.

Fingers crossed the regatta will go ahead in 2021 – click here to see a list of the anticipated entries for next year’s race.

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