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By Neto Baptiste

Interest in Antigua’s Sailing Week 2021 remains high despite a continued rise in coronavirus cases here and across the globe.

This is according to President of the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) and Commercial Director for the Antigua Sailing Week, Alison Sly-Adams, who said that over 60 boats already have entries for the April 24 to April 30 event.

“We have 68 entries at this point, and obviously at any point they could pull their entries, but we have significant entries from Germany who want to be able to get here. There are 20 entries from Germany, Austria and then, we have a lot of local boats and also a lot of the charter boats which are always part of the fleet; we have and most of them are in the Caribbean already, so that’s the interesting thing. The boats, or most of them, are actually here so there will be very few boats that will make the actual journey in April,” she said.

Sly-Adams was however quick to remind that this year’s hosting of Sailing Week is heavily dependent on the approval of protocols they have already been submitted to the country’s health authorities. Those protocols, she said, focus only on the sailing aspect of the event.

“Obviously, for all of us locally, Sailing Week is a big entertainment event, but that can’t happen and it is really as simple as that. However, for the sailors and for the economy, it is actually the sailing that brings the people, and they still spend the money, and they could do that without actually mingling within themselves,” the organiser said.

“If we get permission to do this, then we will effectively have a race committee who has a start line and a finish line. The boats would go out each day, race and come back, and when they are back at the marina to anchor for the day, the protocols are as we are all following right now, and as all the boats anchored right now at the marina are following,” she added.

Should permission be granted for the hosting of this year’s event, Sly-Adams said all involved must play their part in minimising any chance of possible spread of the virus.

“I quite understand at this point that there is a huge question mark over that, because we have to have businesses and individuals adhering to the protocols in terms of monitoring numbers in businesses, mask-wearing, social distancing and all the rest of it, and I can see that with what’s been going on over the last couple of weeks, and we are waiting with the rest of the country today [Wednesday] to hear what’s going to be said in Cabinet,” she said.

In her last interview, Sly-Adams hinted at the creation of a bubble for sailors at one marina alongside the cancelling of social events as part of the planning committee’s proposed protocols for this year’s event.