RORC ANTIGUA 360Monday 20th February 2023
It’s that time again! 70 teams from 16 nations set off on a 600 nautical mile circumnavigation of 11 Caribbean islands in one of the most Challenging sailing events in the world. If you thought it was all about the boats, time to think again. As a lead up to the main event on Monday, February 20th, a new series of races culminated in an Antigua 360. Over 20 boats set of to race around the island - and two boards!
Tiger Tyson is Antigua’s Olympian kiteboarder and joined the boats in an attempt to break the record - and he did! Previously held by the high speed trimaran Phaedo at 2 hours 44 minutes, Tiger showed everyone how it’s done and flew in at 2 hours 38 minutes! He was joined at the start by a US boarder, who had to retire with a ripped sail.
With strong winds, seas and a record amount of sargassum, this was a challenge for the boats, let alone the kiteboard. If that’s what Tiger can do in those conditions, imagine what he can achieve in the Pan Am games in Chile later this year and the next Olympics.
The main event starts on Monday with starter gun at Fort Charlotte in English Harbour, whither the course heads north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth's, tackling every point-of-sail. Boats from Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, France, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States. Antigua, of course holds her own among these prestigious teams.
The multi-hills are the monsters that expect to be back and partying in English Harbour by Tuesday afternoon, while some of the smaller boats will be happy to be back in time for the closing party on Friday! Around 80 volunteers make this all happen and every event a success. And of course the Antigua Coastguard and ABSAR volunteers are on hand to make sure everyone is safe. ABSAR meets every boat as they return. Without these volunteers, Antigua as a Centre of Excellence in sailing would not be.
2023 takes the sailing season right into July with the return of the North American optimist Championships who loved Antigua so much in 2015 and 2016 - of course - they wanted to return. Cue more exhausted volunteers needed! We were host to 64 nations in the World Championships in 2019 too! More hundreds of visitors, sailors, their families, organisers, hangers-on will descend on the island bringing Antigua sailing once more to the world stage. Antigua will be well- represented by our now-well-travelled young optimist champions, trained by Antiguan Olympian Karl James.
Antigua is THE International sailing hot-spot. GO ANTIGUA!
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