Anguilla Regatta 2008 Promises to be the Best

By: Dave Elliott

Anguilla, the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, has long been closely associated with the ancient sport of competitive sailing. Indeed, the history of Anguillian sailing is effectively indistinguishable from the history of the island itself. It is said that aquatic activities like boat racing comprise the island's national sport, and is in the blood of all Anguillians.

Sponsored by the Anguilla Sailing Association and the Anguilla Tourist Board, the island is getting ready for its Sixth Annual Regatta, which will be held on May 9-11, 2008. The event supports the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club, a non-profit organization that instructs local young people how to sail after school and during breaks.

The 2008 Regatta is anticipated to be the largest and best attended to date. Most activities will take place in the sheltered harbor of Road Bay, including the many parties at bars and restaurants on the beach. A number of the races will take place close to shore so spectators can easily enjoy the spectacle of ardently competing racing boats under full sail.

The 2007 Regatta showcased 28 boats competing in eleven races over the event weekend. Five classes of boats competed every day -- two spinnaker classes, non-spinnaker, open and multi-hull. In addition to competitions involving yachts and local boats, the Regatta also included three 12-meter challenges where local organizations chartered designated boats and raced against each other for bragging rights and prizes.

There will be enjoyable free entertainment every evening of the event on the beach and in some of the Sandy Ground eateries. Many of the local vendors will provide attendees with all kinds of barbecued delicacies and local dishes, and some hotels will offer discount rates for the occasion.

Anguilla is an internally self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. The capital city is The Valley. The territory has a total residency of approximately 13,500, according to a 2006 estimate. The name of the island comes from the word for 'eel' in any of several Romance languages (ex: Spanish, French and Italian), probably because of its eel-like contours.

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