Our guide to sailing in Antigua

A world-renowned sailing hub, Antigua is steeped in maritime history. For all the sailing fans and novices out there, we wanted to give you a little round up on the island’s sailing history and what makes sailing in Antigua such a popular activity.

Once home to Horatio Nelson, Antigua became an important naval base for the English army and a safe harbour for ships retreating from treacherous seas and howling winds during the Caribbean’s hurricane season.

As a Leeward Island, Antigua offered the perfect blend of easy access to the trade winds whilst also offering protected coves and sandy beaches setting the path for it to become an important harbour and sailing hub.

With two harbours on each end of the island including Jolly Harbour on the west coast with sandy beaches, shops, restaurants and glitzy boats and the naturally formed English harbour to the south close to historical navy base, Nelson’s Dockyard, deep, sheltered waters make it the yachting centre of the Island and the base for many of the island’s regattas.

Spread across the peak season, Antigua offers a range of sailing events including the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta from 17th-22nd April 2024, the annual Antigua Sailing Week  from 27th April-3rd May, to the Antigua Yacht Show running from the 4th-9th December 2024.

You don’t have to be a yachting pro to enjoy the sailing season in Antigua. There are a plethora of charter companies on the island offering everything from classic sailing to cruises on a large gin palace, from day experiences to week-long sails. For a little luxury experience, visit Nicholson Yacht Charters. Having been in the business since 1949 when Commander VEB Nicholson sailed into English Harbour on his schooner, they now offer a range of sailing experiences from island hopping to finding the perfect dive site.

If you are visiting us and would like to book your own sailing experience, contact our House Director and Iris would be more than happy to find the most perfect experience for you and your guests.

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