Sailors and maritime mavens, rejoice. The second annual Antigua Barbuda Hamptons Challenge is almost here, which means the East End is closer to a Caribbean party than it’s been at any time since, well…since the celebration following the inaugural Challenge regatta last August. When the competitors who set sail from the Breakwater Yacht Club in Sag Harbor this August 17 return to shore for the post-race party at Havens Beach, the reggae music will be playing, the drinks will be flowing, and the celebration will be decidedly lower-latitude.
“This year we’re going to bring a little bit more of the Caribbean festival feeling to the after party, bring a little Antigua and Barbuda up here,” promises Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism John Maginley, who has been instrumental in bringing this event to the East End since the beginning. “This is going to be even more of a party.”
But first things first—and the first thing is the race. Last year’s regatta was a striking success, both in terms of the competition and in the merging of Maginley’s Caribbean home with the East End, and as all eyes look toward an even larger success this year, from the money raised for local groups to the cultural crossover Maginley is building—“Hamptons in the summer, Antigua and Barbuda the rest of the year,” he says in something of a mantra—we raise a nautical, numerical toast to the Antigua Barbuda Hamptons Challenge.
1—Defending champion, and that’s Captain Jim Ryan and the crew of the boat Wasn’t Me.
2—East End Youth organizations that will benefit from monies raised by the event—the Breakwater Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program and i-tri Transformation Through Triathlon.
3—Years since Maginley and Captains Guide magazine publisher Rob Roden initially discussed the idea of bringing a regatta to the Hamptons as a way of linking the sailing passion and lifestyle cultures of Antigua and Barbuda with the East End.
6—Crew members who can join the winning captain—an all-expenses-paid trip to Antigua Sailing Week 2014, one of the largest sailing events in the world. That’s airfare, accommodations, entry fees and a yacht to sail in competition.
12—Yacht clubs on the East End, plus the Peconic Sailing Association, whose members can win the grand prize this year
15 to 20—Miles the race course will cover, depending on particular conditions on race day
45—Dollars to attend the post-regatta celebration at 5 p.m on August 17, if you get your tickets ahead of time ($55 will get you in at the door). That’s right, even if you don’t sail, you can join the party!
200—Maximum PHRF rating for competing boats. Translation: That’s Performance Handicap Racing Fleet, a handicapping system that allows boats of different classes to compete against one another
1100—As in hours, as in the start time of the race (that’s 11 a.m. to most of us)
1967—Year that Antigua Sailing Week was created, starting with 10 boats and evolving into a gathering of not just top sailors but revelers enjoying the parties taking place ashore throughout the sailing extravaganza—and now that includes champions from the East End.