Angostura Sail Week 2003

The 2003 Angostura Tobago Sail Week takes place in Tobago from May 11-16.

High jinks on the high seas at the 2002 Angostura Tobago sail week. Photograph by David Wears

Peter is a mild-mannered management consultant, and while I’ve never witnessed the transformation, I suspect that once he sets foot on the deck of Les Remous he turns into a bit of a wild man. He’d have to. For Peter, like the rest of the men and women who come to Tobago each year for Angostura Tobago Sail Week, it’s about firing up old rivalries, creating new ones, matching might and wits against each other, and against the mightiest of them all: “great Neptune’s ocean”, Davy Jones’s locker, the Big Blue, sometimes known as the sea. It’s about scrambling back and forth on a slippery deck, pulling ropes, trimming sails, being shouted at by your skipper.

Sail Week, the culmination of the Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association’s yearly racing calendar, attracts 100-plus vessels in four classes: racing, cruising, charter and comfort cruising. Trinis predominate, of course, but you’ll also run into sailors who drop their consonants (Barbadians) and others from elsewhere up the archipelago. The preternaturally sunburned are most likely Brits manning charter boats. But if the racing is serious, the post-race action is anything but. The Regatta Village on the grounds of the Crown Point Hotel is always abuzz with activity, some of it organised — volleyball tournaments, booths, parties, steelband music — but much of it the spontaneous hustle and bustle of a friendly community camped out for the week with nothing to do but sail, play and party their hearts out.

The Wednesday rest day is traditionally devoted to Lay Day activities — games (some of them quite outrageous), an outdoor picnic, music and dancing. The requisite analysis and strategising takes place, of course, at Angostura’s cocktail bar and rum shop.

The Angostura Sail Week turns 21 this year — yes, the “friendliest regatta in the Caribbean” has been around that long.