The Caribbean is one of the top sailing destinations in the world and its Leeward islands offer many splendid locations for every nautical enthusiast. Among the many islands that comprise the Leeward chain, the country of Antigua and Barbuda stands out for its sheer beauty, distinguished history, and rich sailing tradition. Antigua and Barbuda normally host the famed Sailing Week which has sadly been cancelled in 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. Regardless of the cancellation, Antigua and Barbuda has the perfect sailing elements year-round: winds for both beginner and veteran captains, consistently beautiful weather, a spectacular coastline with hidden adventures for you to discover, and tons of charter options for the maximum amount of relaxation.
History of Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour
The picturesque coastline of Antigua and Barbuda is home to many caves, small bays, and spots to swim making it a scenically beautiful area to sail and explore. One of the most famous marinas in the Caribbean is Nelson’s Dockyard. Named after the British admiral Horatio Nelson, this historic cultural heritage site has played host to countless events of historical importance over its years of service. English Harbour was a strategic asset for the British Royal Navy, as it was positioned to monitor the activity of the French navy and the bordering French island of Guadeloupe. English Harbour is as beautiful as it is natural and has longfunctioned as a valued haven for ships seeking refuge from storms and hurricanes. Nelson’s Dockyard is part of Antigua and Barbuda’s National Parks, and together with Clarence House, Shirley Heights and the surrounding area form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The Dockyard Museum, located in the former Admiral’s house, is well worth the visit and is the main attraction in Antigua and Barbuda.
Antigua and Barbuda Anchorages
Antigua and Barbuda also have some of the best anchorages in the Caribbean, including natural bays and harbours like Nonsuch Bay, Carlisle Bay, Hermitage Bay, Dickenson Bay and Falmouth Harbour (located right next to English Harbour). Each bay offers its unique taste of Antigua and Barbuda. Nonsuch Bay allows easy access to the east part of the island where you can enjoy fine dining and high-end restaurants. There are multiple mooring opportunities including Ricketts Harbour and Brown’s Bay. Carlisle Bay is lined with beautiful palm trees and calm water making it a gorgeous spot to anchor overnight. Lastly, Dickenson Bay is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean making it a perfect place for watersports and sailing, and restaurants galore. In addition, Antigua’s offshore islands are favourite locations for quiet anchorages. Green Island, and Antigua’s sister island of Barbuda all offer practically deserted anchorages that are quiet even in high season. Sailing for a week or two around Antigua & Barbuda will offer a wonderful mixture of deserted anchorage and busy marinas/anchorages.
The Trade Winds
To have a memorable sailing experience, the proper type of wind is needed. The renowned trade winds in Antigua provide an impeccable breeze for sailors. The trade winds in Antigua come from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere due to the position of the Island on the equator. Between December and May, the winds coming from the east provide an immaculate sailing experience unique to the waters of Antigua and Barbuda. The beautiful turquoise waters to the north of Antigua are calmer and more stable, while the waters in the south are more thrilling and exciting for more veteran sailors. Overall, the wind and the water are diverse enough to support beginners and more advanced sailors, making Antigua and Barbuda the most popular and welcoming sailing destination in the world.
The Beautiful Sailing Climate
The Caribbean is known for having great weather throughout the year. Yet, one country gets more sun than the others. Antigua proudly holds the title of the sunniest destination in the region. Located roughly 17 degrees north of the equator, the weather and location show off its natural beauty. In the summer, the average low temperature in the summer is 25 Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) and the lowest average temperature in the winter is 21 Celsius (70 Fahrenheit). This attractive climate just provides yet another reason to escape to the Caribbean and sail the waters around Antigua and Barbuda.
Sailing and Yacht Charters
Sailing in Antigua and Barbuda is a world-class experience, but if you want to relax and enjoy the sun there are extensive sailing and yacht charters to choose from that will free you from the responsibility of taking the helm. Your crew will take care of all the details so you can just sit and breathe in the fresh ocean air at some of the best sightseeing spots Antigua has to offer. There are also new initiatives that can make it easier for anyone on a yacht to extend their stay in the country. Services such as OnDeck sailing company and Wadadli (for private charters) can help make your trip that much longer and better. The Captain in your charter will be your guide to the perfect destination as the locals know where to find the most exclusive and secluded beaches.