Sailing in the Caribbean, a dream for some, a yearly sojourn for many and an experience anyone who loves to race should not miss doing.  With over a hundred different regattas from small dinghies races to professionally crewed world championships, the Caribbean race circuit has something for all sailors.  The Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) maintains the CSA rule which the majority of boats that race in the Caribbean are rated by and for the last 10 years has coordinated with the organizers of regattas from Grenada to Puerto Rico, 23 islands who host different events to create a full Caribbean Race Calendar.   This cooperation of all event organizers has lead CSA to become the sanctioning authority for all new and existing regattas.

“The concept of having the CSA assume the role of regatta coordination and sanctioning in the Caribbean grew out of the continued growth of international events in our region.  There was no central body coordinating when new events were scheduled, so overlaps and crowding was becoming a growing issue.  Our plan now is to work with the major events and try to make some date adjustments and slot them in to a total race calendar that works for everyone.  The goal is for each island, each event, to get maximum participation and exposure, which will help the region, and sailing in general.” comments Peter Holmberg, the newly electected president of the CSA.

For over 40 years regattas have been attracting people from across the Caribbean and around the world, with warm water and constant winds. Regatta’s like Antigua Sailing Week, St. Martin Heineken Regatta, the Rolex International in St. Thomas and the BVI Spring Regatta host 100+ boat racing fleets.  Joining the race circuit are new regatta’s like the Virgin Gorda Superyacht and the Voiles de St. Barths in the last few years.

Holmberg, a resident of St. Thomas, travels the world racing and knows better than anyone the incredible racing conditions the Caribbean waters have to offer.  Constant winds, flat seas, a variety of islands, coves, idyllic scenery, and yes, it 360 days a year is like that.

“From all the international sailing that I do, I know for a fact that the Caribbean offers the best sailing in the world.  My goal in my tenure as President will be to improve our position on the international racing circuit, and strengthen our core sport of sailing on each island at the same time.”

He adds, “The Caribbean infrastructure, logistics, and regatta management are all improving to a world-class level.  And the CSA, as the one body encompassing all the islands in the Caribbean, has the opportunity to help us grow into one of the top destinations for big boat sailing in the world.  With this success and the growing attention sailing gets on each island, we need to expand our entry-level programs to the sport.  Parallel to this is the continued development of our dinghy racing and international competition and the pathway into Olympic participation.”

The Caribbean is the new hot spot for big boat racing.  Now that our regattas are being run on a truly professional level, sailors know that they are virtually guaranteed quality racing when they come here.  So for the dollars they spend, they will get the maximum amount of good sailing in. The CSA believes this is our opportunity to deliver, show the world what our region can offer, and secure our position on the world stage of sailing.

Written by Judy Petz

VP North CSA

 

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