INVESTMENT IN YACHT SECTOR PAYS OFFSunday 20th February 2011
The presence of 34 ocean racing yachts in English Harbour this weekend, preparing for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Caribbean 600, has given a very welcome boost to the local economy. All the local bars and restaurants are reporting brisk business, and there is not one hotel room currently available in the area. Neil Forrester, General Manager of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association, said that he was particularly delighted that the smaller family hotels were doing well at this time.
The RORC Caribbean 600 is a 600-mile race starting and finishing in Antigua rounding no less than 14 islands. The race leaves English Harbour on Monday morning, with the fastest boats expected to arrive back on Wednesday. This is the Antigua Yacht Club’s third time hosting the race.
The Minister of Tourism, John Maginley. Yacht Club Commodore Elizabeth Jordan and the Antigua Sailing Week team met with the RORC Caribbean 600 executives Eddie Warden Owen, Ian Loffhagen and Andrew McIrvine on Thursday evening to welcome them back to Antigua, explore synergies between the two events and discuss ways of supporting and growing the regatta in the coming years.
Following on the heels of record entries in the Antigua Charter Yacht Show in December and with current entries in Antigua Sailing Week exceeding all expectations at 70 compared to 19 at the same time last year, the signs are good that the Antiguan yachting sector will deliver a bumper year. Alison Sly-Adams head of marketing at Antigua Sailing Week said, ‘The increased investment of the AHTA and the closer co-operation with the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Authority is beginning to pay dividends. In difficult times the Ministry has shown a real understanding of the yachting industry and the benefits it provides to the Antiguan economy and has played a vital role in injecting renewed confidence into the Antiguan Yachting Experience to our overseas guests.”
Each of the boats taking part in the RORC Caribbean 600 is equipped with fleet tracking software and regularly transmits its position back to the race tracker which is sending live updates to the event website www.caribbean600.rorc.org .
The prize giving party takes place this coming Friday 25th February at the Antigua Yacht Club and all are welcome. Local band ‘Itchyfeet’ provide the music, and the party starts at 8 pm.
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