ST JOHNS, Antigua – With just days to go before the start of the Optimist World Dinghy Championships, The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism, are excited about the opportunities the prestigious youth sailing event will hold for the destination.
From July 6 – July 16, the Championships hosted by the International Optimist Dinghy Association, will see young sailors between the ages of 10 – 15 years, displaying their prowess as they manoeuvre high waves on the waters, strong winds, and difficult courses in their small single-handed sailing dinghies.
A record-breaking 65 countries including Antigua and Barbuda are registered to participate, bringing throngs of young sailors, their families, officials and well-wishers to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour, where activities will be concentrated.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin C. James, speaking at a media launch for the event Monday, said:
“Antigua and Barbuda is truly the Mecca of Caribbean Sailing. Our spectacular sailing conditions, first-class facilities, ease of air access and a host of talented and skilled sailing professionals are all the ingredients needed for a successful competition. Everyone in our beautiful country is hyped and excited as we get closer to the 6th of July which will mark the beginning of 10 days of fun and exciting races that are part of one of the most prestigious youth sporting events in the world.”
For those eager to get in on the action, an amazing cultural opening ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. on July 7 starting with the parade of flags from Falmouth to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour followed by cultural performances complete with a firework display at the Dockyard.
Spectators can also watch the Fleet races Monday July 8, at 11 a.m. from various vantage points within the community to include Shirley Heights and Fort Berkley or can follow the race onboard Wadadli Cats, the official spectator boat.
This is the first time that Antigua and Barbuda will host the World Championships. The North American Optimist Dinghy Championships were held in Antigua and Barbuda in 2015 and in 2016.