Sailors come to this weeklong event for competitive racing, and the race starts here are very serious efforts. No one wants to give a meter or favored slot. One could get hurt or at least suffer a damaged boat if one was not sufficiently skilled at lining up on the starting line (or not paying enough attention). These starts are not the club racing starts many sailors are used to.

Northern Child sail change

Northern Child's bow team gets ready for a headsail change. Photo: Paul Wyeth

The Antigua Sailing Week race committee also understands that its constituents like recognition for successful efforts. Hence the daily awards, which go to the boats that finish first, second, and third in their class for each race. They are being given out now as I write, accompanied by loud cheers and laughter.

What are the prizes? If you guessed “rum” you would be in first place yourself. A major sponsor of ASW is English Harbour Rum, hence the relevance of the rewards. And what more useful prize could be given to a bunch of sailors anyway?

The other battle here is the battle of the colored hats. Mount Gay Rum and their ubiquitous red hats are on the heads of most sailors in North America. English Harbour Rum’s nautical swag is a yellow hat. It’s seems silly, but to the AWS management the red hats are out and the yellow ones in. Just a bit of local “color”, dear reader.

Today featured the kind of wind you just absorb, both on your skin and in your soul. Real wind blowing all day. Everything was in motion: sails, boats, waves. It was just spectacular to see the boats flying in the breeze.

Northern Child had a challenging day with a few mistakes made, including one by yours truly, who let go a spinnaker halyard as a result of a misunderstood command. There are several more races and we remain hopeful.

Captain Christian asked us to remain hopeful, since he wants one of those bottles of rum.

—Jonathan Russo

Read Jonathan’s previous posts about his experience at Antigua Sailing Week:

Antigua Sailing Week: The Gloves Come Off

Antigua Sailing Week: Fun Ashore and Around the Island

Antigua Sailing Week: Becoming a Team

Antigua Sailing Week: Practice Day