By Gavin Menu
The Antigua & Barbuda Hamptons Challenge Regatta will be held in Sag Harbor and at the Breakwater Yacht Club for the second consecutive year this Saturday, August 17 and at stake is one sweet sailing trip for the winning captain and crew.
Participation in the race is up 40 percent this year, according to Rob Roden, who helps organize the event for the Antigua & Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and its minister, John Maginley.
Two local organizations, the Breakwater Yacht Club’s Junior Sailing program and I-Tri, a Hamptons-based program that helps young at-risk girls through participating in triathlons, will benefit from the race.
Thirty-five boats will compete for the grand prize of an all-expenses paid trip for seven to Antigua including airfare through American Airlines, seven nights lodging at a four-star hotel and an elite charter boat to compete in the 2014 Antigua Sailing Week, one of the premier sailing events in the world, which will take place from April 26 through May 2 of next year.
Last year’s Sailing Week featured crews from 26 different countries, sailing what people in the industry believe to be some of the best tracks anywhere in the world.
“It’s the largest amateur sailing prize on the east coast of the United States,” Roden said, adding that people can visit www.VisitAntiguBarbuda.co.uk to learn more about the destination and what will await the winner.
The winner of last year’s event was Jim Ryan aboard Wasn’t Me, and as a result he and some members of his crew and family traveled to the islands last spring and competed in Antigua Sailing Week.
“We had a blast,” he said earlier this year, adding that one rule of the event prohibits the same person from winning the grand prize for a second time. “It’s an exceptional prize. We had a great boat and there were races every day for a week.”
In addition to the sailing on Saturday, there will be a post-race gala and awards ceremony at Havens Beach, which will include a steel drum band, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Tickets are $45 in advance, or $50 at the door. Advanced tickets can be purchased by visiting www.AntiguaBarbudaHamptonsChallenge.com.