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With a coastline of deep bays and crystal coves that sit between the serene Caribbean and windswept Atlantic, Antigua is a sailor's paradise.And every year from late April through early May, the island plays host to Antigua Sailing Week, one of the world's premier regattas for ocean-going yachts.The roots of this jubilant celebration go back to the abolition of slavery in 1834, when locals took to the streets to celebrate their freedom.Now, the jubilant kaleidoscope of steel bands, elaborate costumes and beauty pageants culminates on Emancipation Day or Wherever you turn, echoes of Antigua's British heritage are everywhere, from colonial architecture to afternoon tea.


A hotbed for the sport since the 1890s, Antigua has produced some of the great cricket players of the 20th century, including Viv Richards, whose name graces the state-of-the-art ground that is now the home of the West Indies cricket team: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.Since its humble beginnings in 1967 with a tiny fleet of wooden fishing boats, the six-day extravaganza is now the longest-running regatta in the Caribbean and a huge international event that draws around 200 world-class yachts.Expect to see English Harbour, in the south of the island, speckled with sailboats of every kind, as spectators from around the world come to follow the races and soak up the party spirit.Cricket season runs from January to July, though beyond the big international and regional matches played at the stadium, there's plenty of local action to be found.

Stop by any village green or beach on a weekend afternoon — you'll likely catch a game going on.Insider tip: come a week early to catch the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, which each year kicks off the sailing season with a spectacle of tall, elegant sail ships from a bygone era, many of them from the early 1900s.



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