Since 1968, the Antiguan Sailing Week has become a yearly event held in the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda. It is a weeklong regatta, with sailors and spectators coming from different parts of the world. In 2020 and 2021, the event was canceled for the first time in its 53 years of history. Interestingly, the Antiguan Sailing week is back in 2022. Dr. Dario Item, who serves ad Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the UNWTO, was on our show, and he answered some questions on the history and development of the event, and what to expect in the 2022 sailing week.
What is Antiguan sailing week, and when did it start?
Ambassador Dario Item: “The Antiguan sailing week is an annual yacht regatta. It is a weeklong event with an average of 1,500 participants, and over 5,000 spectators. The sailing week is one of the most notable events in our country. It started in 1968 as a small event. Today, it has grown to become one of the best regattas in the world.”
Who came up with the idea to have a sailing week in Antigua and Barbuda?
Ambassador Dario Item: “It is difficult to attribute the origin of this event to one person. It was a collective idea by a group of friends. They wanted to organize something that will make visitors stay for a longer period on the Island or something that will attract people from different parts of the world to Antigua and Barbuda. The idea worked, and the first sailing week was sponsored by the Antigua Hotels association. It was held from June 8th to 15th, 1968.”
What exactly happens on the sailing week?
Ambassador Dario Item: “As the name implies, it is a regatta. There are racing competitions between different boats. The sizes of these boats can be as small as 20 feet, or as large as 100 feet. Races in the competition include Guadeloupe to Antigua Race, the Lord Nelson’s Ball, and so much more.”
How do spectators enjoy these wonderful activities, when they cannot enter the yachts or even get close to them?
Ambassador Dario Item: “These activities were designed with spectators in mind. We ensure that all spectators get unforgettable views of the events. From a vantage point, they can have a clear view of the huge boats that range from 20 feet to over 100 feet. There are also spectator boats. These boats carry the spectators alongside the races. Honestly, I cannot tell you which is better, but I prefer watching from the vantage points, while my brother will go for the spectator boats. Both views are priceless.”
How did the Covid-19 affect the 2020 and 2021 sailing weeks?
Ambassador Dario Item: “We have never imagined an interruption in our yearly sailing week until it happened in 2020. In 2020 and 2021, the event was canceled. I think that is one reason the 2022 sailing week will be an interesting one. We missed it for two years, and we can’t wait for it to come back.”
What is the expectation for this year’s Antiguan sailing week, and how prepared are you?
Ambassador Dario Item: “Honestly, expectations are high. This year, the event will be held from Saturday, 30th April to Friday, 6th May 2022. We are expecting almost 100 teams to compete in the regatta. We are also expecting visitors and sailors from almost 20 countries. Hopefully, this will be one of the best, if not the best Antiguan Sailing week.”
Seeing how important the sailing week is to your people, will you say it is the best time to visit your country?
Ambassador Dario Item: “Absolutely. It is a time of the year when you will not only see the beautiful nature of our country but you will also be entertained by some of the largest boats in the world. Without a doubt, it will be a week well spent. ”
We wish you and your country the best.
Perfect timing is indispensable for a perfect vacation. What could be a better time to visit Antigua and Barbuda, other than Antiguan Sailing Week? It is a time of the year when you will meet thousands of people who have come from all walks of life, not just to see the beautiful country of Antigua and Barbuda, but to also watch one of the most beautiful regattas in the world.