As yacht racing resumes in some form or other around the world, the Caribbean Region is cautiously optimistic about the 2021 season. Local club racing has begun on many islands. St. Thomas hosted an international regatta in June and the Royal B.V.I. Yacht Club has just announced the postponed edition of the Spring Regatta will take place in October 2020.
The regions organisers are excited to be planning modified events to ensure sailors who have been unable to enjoy a full summer racing programme in North America, the UK and Europe can start planning attendance at their favourite Caribbean Regattas.
The 5 Year International Calendar has been updated and confirms dates for Caribbean Regattas from 2021 to 2025. Regatta organisers have been in close contact through the last 4 months, working together to review protocols for re-opening sailing and discussing challenges for the upcoming year. With many expressions of interest and entries starting to come in each regatta team is working to determine how events can take place safely for participants, service providers, hospitality businesses and volunteers.
With that said it is clear that potential participants around the region and the world are all equally affected by Covid: whether personally; in their business; or ability and desire to travel. To understand the challenges and interest, Caribbean Regatta Directors have collaborated on a survey designed to assess the level of interest of participants worldwide and regionally to race in Caribbean Regattas in the 2021 season.
President of the Caribbean Sailing Association, Alison Sly-Adams says, ‘As plans gain ground for rallys and races bringing boats to the region: the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers; the RORC Transatlantic Race; the Caribbean 1500 and the Sawlty Dawg Rally, it is a good time to get a better understanding of our International participants plans. We are cognizant that the situation remains dynamic and that plans for competitors and events may need to change as the dates close nearer. We would like to get individual feedback from boat owners, managers, charterers and crews now to assist in event development and understand their challenges’.
Despite the regional co-ordination of the calendar and the strong working relationship between regattas Sly-Adams stresses that potential participants interested in attending events, or wanting information about what to expect, should get in touch with the individual regatta organisers. “Each island is working with Health and Tourism Officials on their respective islands who will need to guide the process locally. There should be an expectation that there will be changes to the usual formats. Race formats, courses and of course the social side are all under review and depending on the island and the local situation the events may be adjusted compared to usual. One thing we can however guarantee is exciting racing in near perfect conditions and lots of sunshine!”