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Regatta season gears up in Caribbean

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Caribbbean islands still struggling with post-hurricane recovery may see a much-needed economic boost soon as the regatta season gets underway.

Much of the activity at St. Martin’s annual Heineken Regatta, which was March 1-4, was offshore this year, but there was still a race village at Princess Port de Plaisance Resort on Simpson Bay lagoon. A portion of all race proceeds — from concert tickets to art, food and beverage sales — will be donated to hurricane relief funds, according to race organizers.

The 24th annual St. Barths Bucket Regatta will take place March 15-18, with 26 yachts participating in three classes. The Bucket, as it is generally known, is open to cruising yachts 100 feet or bigger.

Les Voiles de Saint Barth Regatta will be April 16-22, with 60 yachts participating in eight classes. Organizers reportedly plan to set up a race village on the dock in Gustavia harbor, with live concerts nightly. Jimmy Buffett is ambassador of the event.

While 90 percent of hotel rooms are under repair and unavailable in St. Barths, private villas from agencies such as WIMCO will house crews, spectators and sponsors, according to a statement from a villa manager.

The BVI Spring Regatta will run from March 26 to April 1. The Regatta Village this year will be at the Outer Marina at Nanny Cay on Tortola. The village will feature a long bar, a pop-up restaurant and live music each night. The annual Antigua Sailing Week will run this year from April 28 through May 4.

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