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The Best Sailing in the World

The Best Sailing in the World

by Kevin Patterson

Whether you're looking to hoist a sail on your own or prefer just to watch the yachts go by, a visit to the Caribbean Islands will let you take in some of the best sailing and regattas in the world. You'll find calm trade winds, smooth, crystal clear waters and a little bit of friendly competition.

One of the best known events in the Caribbean, Antigua's Sailing Week is a great place to start. During the last week of April, yachts from all over the world arrive in Falmouth Harbour to participate. Over 100 yachts compete for five days in a variety of coastal races. In a picture perfect setting of clear waters and Caribbean trade winds, yacht crews and their spectator boats gather for a week's worth of races and nightly celebrations, all to the delight of onlookers from the shore. The week comes to a close with an awards presentation in historic Nelson's Dockyard.

Early in March, St. Martin hosts another notable Caribbean sailing event. Its motto is "serious fun," and there's no doubt about it - competitors, islanders and spectators enjoy not only the races, but also the after-racing parties. Some celebrations are held on the island's Dutch-side beaches while others are held in the French-side port of Marigot. Whichever one you choose to attend, you're sure to find drinks, music and plenty of boats sailing the trade-winds.

The calm cruising waters of the British Virgin Islands have been the favorite of sailors for years. The islands are literally a nautical paradise, especially during the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. This event begins at Nanny Cay Resort on the island of Tortola. The races last for four days with several crews racing to Virgin Gorda. Upon arriving at Bitter End Yacht Club, awards ceremonies, dinghy racing, cookouts, windsurfing and more take place. This regatta is something everyone can enjoy, including families and newbies to the art of sailing.

However, if you're looking for a more traditional yacht regatta, head to Grenada for the Grenada Classic Yacht Regatta. This is a particularly elegant yachting event where meticulously maintained ships compete on a grand, traditional scale. Held every March, this is a classic regatta that attracts a passionate group of sailing fans. Onlookers can enjoy onshore vantage points, spectacular parties and live music!

So choose your crew members carefully and get ready to sail away in the Caribbean. Or just grab your camera and watch the experts do it. Sailing in the Caribbean isn't just for yachties or experienced sailors anymore.