April 2017

Less than 2 weeks now remains to the start of that most quintessential of Caribbean sailing events, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, which also happens to be the first stage on the 2017 Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the world’s leading racing circuit for these lovely sailing yachts.

The next edition of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta gets underway on April 19 but will differ slightly from those of previous years as the event celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017.  Sparked almost by chance in 1967 as the result of various spontaneous challenges between a group of classic yacht skippers sailing the Caribbean Islands, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta has since grown into the sailing event everyone wants to be involved in. 

Antigua is a magical place that has made a pivotal contribution to modern and classic sailing culture. In fact, it was the birthplace in 1996 of the Spirit of Tradition class, which allows modern yachts built to classic designs to compete in classic sailing races and regattas.  Antigua has been the cradle of a whole slew of history-making events: it there that, in 1999, the legendary J Classes competed against each other for the first time in 60 years. Simply put, Antigua is one of the world capitals of sailing!

Officine Panerai has very close ties to the Caribbean island. The 1936 William Fife Bermudan ketch, Eilean, was spotted languishing in an Antiguan mangrove swamp during the 2006 edition of the Classic Yacht Regatta, in fact, spurring Officine Panerai, which relishes both the sea and a challenge, to tackle the daunting task of returning the yacht to her original splendour. As a result, Eilean was relaunched in pristine condition on October 22 2009, and is now an ambassador for Officine Panerai values worldwide.

There will be plenty of new features to the 30th edition of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta in addition to a busy calendar of events. For the first time too, the fleet will moor in English Harbour, an open-air maritime museum. Two spectacular schooners, the 137’ Mariette of 1915 and the 136’ Elena of London, will be amongst the attractions. So far, two yachts will be making their maiden appearance in the Antigua regatta this year: Spirit of Bermuda, a 112’ three-master, and Eros, another 115’ that won’t go unnoticed amid the fleet.


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