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April's Antigua Sailing Week is Cancelled

18th February 2021
Yachts race downwind during the 2019 edition of Antigua Sailing Week
Yachts race downwind during the 2019 edition of Antigua Sailing Week Credit: Paul Wyeth

The 2021 edition of Antigua Sailing Week (ASW), including the Round Antigua Race, scheduled for April 24 – 30 has been due to COVID-19.

The timing of this decision for the cancellation was taken after in-depth consideration of the obligations participants have to charter companies, hotels and villa companies, shipping companies, and also taking into account international travel restrictions and an inability to organise an impenetrable bubble for the safety of all participants, volunteers and the wider community.

With its position as the anchor event of an already uneventful Caribbean racing season, interest in the event was strong. “With entries still coming in we were grappling with finding the right formula to accommodate those interests, but with the increased restrictions being put in place to manage the further spread of COVID-19, cancellation is the only possible outcome at this time,” stated ASW commercial director, Alison Sly-Adams.

She went on to say, "For over 50 years we have looked forward to hosting the return of new and old friends to ASW as much as the sailors look forward to the epic racing conditions. This cancellation, while being the right thing to do, hurts our sailing soul. We are truly excited to get back to what we love, the business of yacht racing, next year."

The cancellation of the 2021 event further compounds the financial blow to the non-profit entity which organises this internationally respected event, as well as to the greater local community. The staging of the event results in a positive economic impact for the destination to the tune of EC$6 million each year.

This is a giant loss to the economy of Antigua and to the yachting sector in particular.

Minister of Tourism and Investment, Charles Fernandez said of the cancellation: “We are disappointed to have to cancel the event for a second year. Not only is it very important to us as an economy, but for many of us, it is our favourite time of year when we come together as a community with our visitors to celebrate the wonderful yachting season. This year, however, as a destination we are prioritizing managing the health care system and the vaccination programme for the good of the community, which in the long term will allow us to welcome back our visitors safely. In fact, we have started planning for 2022 and intend to make it bigger and better than ever.”

Participants on the 2021 entry list can opt to have entry fees transferred to 2022.

Despite the cancellation, however, the Antigua and Barbuda Marine Association (ABMA) has moved to reassure visiting yachtsmen and women that despite the cancellation of iconic Antigua Sailing Week the yachting industry in Antigua and Barbuda continues to be open for business.

President of the ABMA Franklyn Braithwaite states, "Our marinas and supporting marine service businesses remain open and with our many anchorages around both islands it's possible to enjoy charters between both islands and there still be enough space to socially distance. The refit business, sail training operations including RYA keelboat and dinghy courses, MCA and STCW all continue year round."

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Irish Sailing & Boating

Since restrictions began in March 2020, the Government is preparing for a 'controlled and gradual return to sport' and the 2020 sailing fixtures are being tentatively redrafted by yacht clubs, rowing clubs angling and diving clubs across Ireland as the country enters a new phase in dealing with the Coronavirus. The hope is that a COVID-19 restrictions might be eased by May 5th as Sport Ireland has asked national governing bodies for information on the challenges they face. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) everyone has been asked to stay at home. But some people may need to do more than this.

You may need to either:

You do these things to stop other people from getting coronavirus.

Read advice for people in at-risk groups

Read advice about cocooning.

Restricted movements

Everybody in Ireland has been asked to stay at home. You should only go out for a few reasons, such as shopping for food.

But you need to restrict your movements further if you: 

  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, but you feel well
  • are a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus
  • have returned to Ireland from another country

You need to restrict your movements for at least 14 days.

But if the person you live with has had a test and it is negative, you don't need to wait 14 days. You should still follow the advice for everyone - stay at home as much as possible.

Close contact

This is only a guide but close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person

How to restrict your movements 

Follow the advice for everybody - stay at home.

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