Antigua Bermuda Race To Be Held In 2017

December 17, 2015

The inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race will take place in May 2017, with an international fleet of yachts expected to take part in the 935 nautical mile race.

The announcement said, “Organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week, the inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race will commence after the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week in early May 2017. The Antigua Bermuda Race is designed to offer an exciting passage race to Bermuda, the home of the 2017 America’s Cup.

“The Antigua Bermuda Race is open to yachts and multihulls with a minimum length of 40ft [12m] holding a valid IRC and/or CSA Rating Certificate or Superyacht rating. Dual scoring will be provided. A provision of a Motor Sailing Handicap will be overlaid for Cruiser Racers.

“The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is already taking pre-registration of yachts interested in racing. SchoonerAmerica, the replica of the original winner of the America’s Cup and the 112ft [34m] sail training ship Spirit of Bermuda are confirmed entries. An international fleet of yachts is expected for the race, with exclusive social events organised in Antigua and Bermuda.

Schooner America, a replica of the original winner of the America’s Cup will compete in the inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race in May 2017 © ACEA/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget 

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“Bermuda is excited to be hosting the 2017 America’s Cup and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club sees the Antigua Bermuda Race as an opportunity to have some fun getting to Bermuda in time for the month-long America’s Cup celebrations,” comments Les Crane, Chairman, Antigua Bermuda Race.

“Bermuda is one of the prettiest sailing grounds in the Atlantic. There are only 21 square miles of land, but it’s spread among 181 islands, creating countless pink sand beaches, coves and anchorages. Along with the vibrant town life, it’s a great place to be.

“Add in the America’s Cup and it is the place to be in May 2017. Each spring many yachts pass through on their way to New England or Europe, stopping for only a day or two. We want to encourage them to stay a while and enjoy all that Bermuda has to offer,” continues Crane.

The Antigua Bermuda Race course is straightforward: Start off Fort Charlotte Antigua, Antigua to port, Bermuda to port, finish off St David’s Light Bermuda, with an approximate distance of 935 nautical miles. In early May the northern limits of the tradewinds can be as much as 28 degrees north.

Easterly or south-easterly winds are common for the first half of the passage, giving exhilarating reaching or downwind conditions. Light southerly winds are common in the Horse Latitudes that traverse the Sargasso Sea and the finish in Bermuda is likely to be a tactically different change to the fast-surfing conditions of the tradewinds.

The magnificent schooner America © ACEA/Photo: Giles Martin-Raget

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The reproduction schooner America is a modern replica of the 139ft [42m] yacht that won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Guinea Cup in 1851. The winners, members of the New York Yacht Club, donated the trophy to the Club, to be held as a ‘challenge’ trophy and the America’s Cup was born. The scale replica of the America has been owned by Troy Sears’ company, Next Level Sailing, since 2006.

“The Antigua Bermuda Race is a natural, and I was surprised that the race didn’t already exist,” said Troy Sears, owner and skipper of the schooner America. “It was an honor to introduce Antigua Sailing Week to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and be a key part of the development of the race. I am sure their leadership will produce a fantastic regatta.

“For us, racing against our friends, the Spirit of Bermuda, will be a fantastic way to enter Bermuda before The 35th Defence of The America’s Cup. The race will also be the final leg for the schooner America and The America’s Cup Tour after visiting more than 100 ports on both coasts of the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.”

The 112ft [34m] sloop, Spirit of Bermuda was designed for the Bermuda Sloop Foundation as a sail training ship and as the flagship for Bermuda. Her design takes inspiration from a Royal Navy Sloop of War from the 1830′s.

Diana Martin, CEO, Bermuda Sloop Foundation/Spirit of Bermuda, said: ”The Bermuda Sloop Foundation and Spirit of Bermuda are proud and pleased to have played a role in the planning of a 2017 Antigua Bermuda Yacht Race.

“We look forward to participating as flagship of the race, along with schooner America and an enthusiastic response from the wider yachting community is anticipated. We will be pleased to lead [hopefully] the fleet of yachts and their sailors to Bermuda, just in time for the 2017 America’s Cup events.

“We extend our congratulations and thanks to Royal Bermuda Yacht Club; Antigua Sailing Week; Bermuda Tourism Authority; Gosling’s Rum, and other event sponsors.”

Participating as flagship of the race, The Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s sail training ship, Spirit of Bermuda © Captain Stuart Birnie

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An international and highly varied fleet of yachts will gather in Antigua for the start on 12 May 2017, following the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week. A welcome party and rousing send-off will be sponsored by Gosling’s Rum and organised by Antigua Sailing Week.

Upon arrival in Bermuda, the fleet will enjoy the hospitality of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club with Goslings presenting the official welcome party and prize giving on Saturday May 20th for all competitors.

Pat Phillip-Fairn, Chief Product and Experiences Development Officer, Bermuda Tourism Authority, said: “This race will be outstanding. Our Spirit of Bermuda and the schooner America sailing into Hamilton Harbour from Antigua is the perfect precursor to the America’s Cup in 2017.

“In fact, the Annapolis Bermuda Ocean Race, the Newport Bermuda Race and now the Antigua Bermuda Race are all coming to the island over the next 18 months, and we’re excited to roll out our famous Bermudian hospitality for all of them.

“Plus the M32 series and the RC44 regatta are both here for the first time in 2016. All of this pre-America’s Cup activity is part of what we call #RacetoBermuda and it is positioning Bermuda as the preeminent choice for the world’s most spectacular sailing events.”

The Antigua Bermuda Race is supported by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Goslings Rum.For more information,  including pre-registration of potential interest see:

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Comments (14)

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  1. Izzy says:

    How about something in 2016. Everything is 2017

    • Rada Gast says:

      These events take a lot of time to organize, and are planned/scheduled well in advance.

    • Terry says:

      Many events are happening in 2016.
      Don’t be so lame.

      • Onion Juice says:

        Hope these races benefit the 3000 unemployed Bermudians.

        • Not Likely says:

          Probably not, since any benefit will require taking initiative and personal responsibility.

        • Funion says:

          It is very obvious in your many, many negative about everything but PLP posts, that your are closely connected to the PLP. Let me ask you this, what have you and others in the party done to help the 3000 unemployed people. Lets not forget, the PLP, its bully politicians, negative policies and ignorant attitudes were directly related to the mass exodus of IB companies that CAUSED us to have 3000 people out of work.

          Funny how you are so negative about all initiatives that are designed around making Bermuda better but you have nothing bad to say about those that were part of the problem. Are you one of the politicians responsible? Is that why you always seem to have your panties in a bunch whenever there is good news? Or were you on the friends and family list?

    • Ahoy says:

      “Plus the M32 series and the RC44 regatta are both here for the first time in 2016. All of this pre-America’s Cup activity is part of what we call #RacetoBermuda and it is positioning Bermuda as the preeminent choice for the world’s most spectacular sailing events.”

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Organising a yacht race, especially the first one, is not like planning your next cruise on a Carnival ship. It takes time, contacts & organisation.

      Aside from that, to be sure it is in good hands, we are going to overdose in sailing in 2017. AC35, the J boats, the Marion Race, I think, who knows how many visiting big yachts & motoryachts. WOW! Just WOW!

      • James Rego says:

        Don’t forget the Tall Ships in 2017. The hey will be here also.

  2. mr speaker says:

    Carnival is in 2016

  3. SANDGROWNAN says:

    Annapolis to Bermuda Race is in 2016
    Viper North Americans are in 2016

    Then there’s the usual Newport-Bermuda in 2016.

    What are YOU doing to assist?

    • Sailor Jim says:

      Moths are back in 2016, Gold Cup too.

      That’s 8 events right there in the next 12 months. Awesome.

  4. Tony Brannon says:


    2017 is going to rock…..Let’s fill the harbour with boats….. we only have so many hotel rooms (which should be rammed) so to have so many folks on the water will be amazing !

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