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October 01, 2013

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Johnson / Chelsea Olson
Cheryl Andrews Marketing Communications
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The island's national sport offers locals and visitors alike a truly authentic Anguilla experience

ANGUILLA, B.W.I. – October 1, 2013 – While the Caribbean island of Anguilla is best known for its 33 beautiful beaches, culinary flair and appeal to celebrity vacationers, most are unaware of the island's longest seafaring tradition and exhilarating national sport: boatracing. (In Anguilla, boatracing is indeed one word). This fun-filled oceanic pastime combines the island's rich history with the excitement of present-day competition and lively celebrations filled with music, great food and dancing on some of the Caribbean's most spectacular beaches.

The essence of Anguillian tradition, this maritime custom was born out of a necessity to trade goods throughout the Eastern Caribbean in the early 1900s. As schooner fleets from Nova Scotia came to Anguilla to buy salt harvested from the island's salt ponds, locals learned and quickly mastered the craft of ship building and sailing. Anguilla then acquired a reputation throughout the Caribbean for producing excellent works of marine craftsmanship, with the transportation of goods from island to island carried out in schooners and small ships crafted by hand in Anguilla.

As economic conditions became increasingly severe, the men of Anguilla took to the sea in search of employment on neighboring islands.  At the end of crop season, they would return home to their families in Anguilla. To pass the time on the long voyage back home, they would race each other to see which boat would arrive first into the harbor at Forest Bay or Road Bay.  Great excitement surrounded the long-anticipated return, as women and children lined the beach fronts, cheering the men on as they raced into the harbor, and thus boatracing as a spectator sport was born.

Today, this lively sport continues to attract daring local sailors, trained in the unique Anguillian art of boatracing, as well as myriads of passionate and dedicated spectators, now called landracers. The boats themselves have evolved into sleek, yacht-like craft with oversized masts and broad white sails that look like giant wings against the backdrop of Anguilla's incredibly blue crystalline waters. Keeping the tradition alive is Anguilla's best-known boat builder, David Carty, who authored "Nuttin Bafflin: The Story of the Anguilla Racing Boat" and introduced the WEST technique, a wood epoxy saturated technique that is used for hand-crafting sturdier, more efficient race boats today.

Boatracing season begins in April. The biggest races are island-wide celebrations that take place on Easter Monday and Anguilla Day Regatta on May 30. Boatracing season climaxes during the first week of August for the Anguilla Summer Festival, a unique island festival combining traditional boatracing by day, and carnival activities by night, with a series of races held every day at different bays throughout the week. It culminates the last day of Summer Festival with the "Champion of Champions" race at Sandy Ground, Road Bay. The best boats go bow-to-bow, and the winning schooner is crowned king, earning bragging rights as defending champion until the next spring brings new challengers.
Boatracing is accompanied by barbecues, music and dancing, and is a "don't miss" island event for visitors that is authentic, exciting, beautiful and cultural all at once.

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About Anguilla
Anguilla is a British overseas territory located in the north eastern region of the Caribbean, just miles from St. Maarten. The island is best known for its 33 pristine powder-white sand beaches, all with crystal-clear turquoise waters matched by few places in the world. With an inviting and welcoming approach to tourism, Anguilla's beaches are what draw most visitors to the island, while its warm friendly people keep visitors coming back. The island's culture is infused with a love of the land and dependence on the sea, which is reflected in its history and many of the cultural festivals and events that celebrate Anguillan traditions of fishing, boat racing and cuisine. Anguilla is easily accessible via daily flights that connect directly to Anguilla from San Juan or St. Maarten. For those coming from St. Maarten, Anguilla is just a short seven-minute flight or 20 minute ferry boat ride away. For more information on Anguilla visit




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