The start line for Windward will be further offshore than in previous years by about 200 metres. As yachts tend to start on starboard and head inshore for lifting pressure, it will give the increasingly larger boats more sea room on their first beat. A new leeward mark, 0.60nm from Blacks Point (Lee), will allow the Race Committee to set a square run. A new windward mark, 0.15nm from Nanton Point (Nanton), will provide a third choice for a square beat. For coastal courses, a new mark 1.02nm from Friars Head (Friars), will allow courses of up to 16.50 nautical miles.
A new mark, 2nm from Ffryes Point (Jolly), will allow coastal courses of up to 26 nautical miles. There will be 24 course options so that the length of races can be chosen to suit different classes. Typically, races will be shorter legs than the Windward Courses, where boat handling will be key to performance. For faster yachts, legs of over five miles are possible, with shorter distances for smaller yachts. Some of the new courses have been designed with laps and gates so that they can be shortened if necessary.
All classes switch between the two course areas. The first warning signal for both courses will not be before 10:00 am, and it is intended that the majority of the classes will be out racing for 3-4 hours, and around 2 hours for Club Class. The new marks and courses will provide improved options to get everyone back to Antigua to enjoy the fun ashore.
Two-to-Tango and the Ocean Greyhounds
New classes for Antigua Sailing Week have been launched this year. 2019 is all about raising the awareness of the new elements to the regatta and establishing them for 2020. The new classes for this year are Double Handed and the High Performance Class, which will have courses combining coastal races with round the cans. There will be a maximum of two races a day.
Double Handed racing has become a very popular form of racing throughout the world, from couples who like to race together without the additional expense of a full crew, right through the high-performance classes such as Figaro and Class40. They will be doing a mix of coastal courses and round-the-cans courses. The High Performance Class courses are designed for ocean-going yachts that want longer courses. With a longer first beat, more tactics will come into play and with longer legs off the breeze the chance to set downwind sails and enjoy the thrill of racing at top speed will be exhilarating. This year a number of entries will suit these types of courses and with the new marks, Antigua Sailing Week will provide fantastic racing.
Safety is the most important concern for the organisers of Antigua Sailing Week. Boats must meet the ASW Minimum Safety Rules which are displayed on the official website. There will be spot equipment checks. These rules are intended as minimum standards and shall not supersede or modify any of the World Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing. One particular rule to highlight is having sufficient drinking water on board; ABSAR (Antigua Barbuda Search & Rescue) have reported that their biggest call for help is for crew suffering from dehydration.