Thrilling Start to Antigua Wingfoil Championship, part of Antigua Sailing Week, at Cades Reef

Pictures made by Roddy Grimes-Greame

Against the lush green mountains of Antigua, colourful Wingfoil sails adorned the horizon, marking the commencement of Antigua Wingfoil Championship Race Day 1 during Antigua Sailing Week. 

Young, old(er), professional or adventureseeker

From seasoned professionals to adventurous souls, Wingfoiling embraces participants of all ages and backgrounds. With categories for professionals and leisure enthusiasts, competitors are evaluated by the Race Committee based on their expertise. 

Sacha van der Wouden, organiser of Caribbean Foiling Championships, explains, ” The Leisure Class provides a stepping stone for newcomers to racing or those prioritizing the experience over competition. We’ve established two classes to ensure inclusivity and foster a vibrant Caribbean Foiling community. Whether seeking competitive racing or camaraderie, our aim is to make foiling accessible and enjoyable for all.”

Familiar Faces and Gender Diversity

Among the competitors, familiar faces like 15 year old Mark Mains from New Zealand have transitioned from the Leisure Class in 2023 to the Professional Class this year, showcasing remarkable progress. Meanwhile, Antiguan Wingfoiler Sammy Martin, known for his participation at the 2021 Caribbean Foiling Championships in St. Martin, returns with renewed determination.

Breaking gender barriers is Antiguan Wingfoiler Arianna Casagrande, making history as the first female competitor in the Antigua Wingfoil Championship.

Race Day 1 Highlights

Today witnessed a total of 6 thrilling races at the breezy Cades Reef. Following the fourth race, competitors took a well-deserved lunch break, with spirits soaring high. Current leader, 17 year old Idani Edwards exclaimed, “That was epic!” while others, like Seumas Meharg expressed exhaustion from the intensity of the races, stating, “I am wiped out!”

Tomorrow, Race Day 2

Due to light wind conditions anticipated on Saturday, the downwinder will be held on Friday, April 26 instead. Maxim van den Pol, event organizer, explains, “To ensure the best and safest racing experience for all, we’ve decided to reschedule the downwinder to tomorrow. Adequate wind is crucial for this race, considering the risks involved.” The downwinder spans an 8 Nautical Miles stretch from Pigeon Point to Turners Beach, with last year’s record set by Anthony Smith (Martinique) at 35 minutes and 49 seconds. Will this year see a new record?

As the event progresses into its second day, anticipation mounts for another day of thrilling competition and camaraderie.

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