Story and photos by Heather Hild-Atwater

We were very lucky to be in Antigua the week of April 21-28, 2022! Our flotilla was sandwiched between the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and Antigua Race Week. So that means Yachts! Glorious Yachts! We began our adventures at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbor, a UNESECO World Heritage site, and so picturesque. There was a lot to see and do here as we set off for a week of what turned out to be excellent sailing and weather, lucky us.


Day 1: Boarding, then Meet & Greet

The boarding time was technically 6 p.m. but thankfully all of our boats were ready early. This trip we had three monohulls: Bright Idea skippered by Nate (lead boat), with Linda, Bill, Beth, Joe, and me aboard. Next, a Moorings 48.4, Asterias, skippered by Rob Bell with Tom, Larry, and Christy aboard. Then a Sunsail 46.2, Squeakbrat II, skippered by Offshore Sailing School Captiva Island Branch Manager and instructor Cheyenne Warner, with Steve, Rochelle, and James aboard. The benefit of this size group is we all got to know one another and that is nice.

After water, provisions and gear were stored, we wandered over to Trappas Restaurant for the Meet & Greet dinner. Rum drinks were served followed by shared appetizers, calamari with garlic dip, vegetable spring rolls, deep fried brie, and Cajun shrimp with dipping sauce. The food was good, and after dessert we all ambled back to our boats at Nelson’s Dockyard. Nate and I walked around and admired the yachts lit at night: several J Class boats, the famous Ticonderoga, fast Comanche, and many other amazing yachts. We were certainly in good company!


This Colgate Sailing Adventures® flotilla took place between the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and Antigua Race Week, and the yachts in English Harbor were amazing.

Day 2: Sail from English Harbor to Green Island

After the boat checkouts, Navigation meeting, and usual boat fixes, such as last-minute towel grabs, etc., we cast off the dock around 11a.m. to sail to Green Island. We left the harbor and put up the sails in a lively 15-20 knots of breeze with a 1.5-2-meter swell. We were now heading counterclockwise around Antigua to a natural anchorage off Green Island. We tacked up the shore and out to sea. Luckily, I had made a pasta salad while in port so we could easily eat while sailing.

It was a little bit of trial by fire as some on our boat had come from lake sailing and we were definitely not lake sailing. The shore of Antigua has a very rugged beauty and is dotted with large homes and resorts. We arrived and dropped sails in a sheltered area and proceeded to weave our way through the coral reefs to our pre-arranged spot. We saw that the moorings were not looking great, so we found the best of them and checked them out by backing down and diving on them. Shortly after arriving, we all gathered for ‘Nate-a-Coladas’ aboard the lead boat…. time to tell our sea stories and relax after a busy day. We ate aboard that night and took in the gorgeous surroundings.

Counterclockwise around Antigua

Day 3: Green Island to Jolly Harbor

After the morning Navigation meeting, breakfast, and yoga, we retraced our path out and set sail for a nice long sail clockwise past English and Falmouth Harbor to Jolly Harbor. The weather conditions were the same as the day before but of course we were on a run today and did some jibing at first, then rounding up to a broad reach, then turning to beam reach through Goat Head Channel.

Linda and Bill on our crew got their first experience with ocean rollers and practiced surfing. But I believe it was Joe who hit 9.5 knots surfing down a wave. It was a sunny, great sailing day. We arrived at Jolly Harbor and grabbed moorings close to the Government Dock. Mind you, we did not had a working dinghy engine as yet, so it was at the Government Dock that we were to drop our dinghy to get a replacement engine.

This worked out pretty smoothly as Cheyenne towed our dinghy to shore and Sunsail base personnel arrived to swap our engine. We were back in business in time to head to shore to have a look around and get to our dinner reservations for 6 p.m. at Al Porto’s Restaurant. Larry and Christy ate aboard that night and bragged about the salmon salad they created, and our food at Al Porto’s was very good too.

One of the very best things about a Colgate Sailing Adventures® flotilla is the camaraderie.


Day 4: Jolly Harbor to Great Bird Island

Today we were sailing upwind, clockwise around the northwest side of Antigua, which is dotted with reefs so we tacked many times up Boon Channel inside Salt Fish Tail Reef. Asterias has a self-tacking jib…we all agree this was unfair.  We got our workout and plenty of releases and grinding in. Winds were 13-17 knots and we sailed at 5-7.5 knots.  The sky was clear and the wind was steady and it was another great sailing day. I can see why Antigua Race Week is so popular!  We furled genoa around 2 p.m. and powered through the dredged channel between Long Island and Antigua into North Sound across the shallows to our anchorage at Great Bird Island in plenty of time to enjoy. Immediately some swam, snorkeled, or explored.  It is beautiful and there is great snorkeling here. Dinner aboard was steak on the barbie, with potatoes and broccoli. Perfecto!

Day 5: Great Bird to Dickenson Bay

Sunrise off Great Bird was accompanied by a cacophony of gulls. Nate cooked up a frittata with bacon and cheese, which we all fortify ourselves with before pulling up anchor and enjoying the relatively short sail for the day. Now we were sailing counterclockwise, back in the direction we had come. We arrived early at Dickenson Bay and made lunch aboard before exploring the beach and Sandals Resort. The floating Tiki Bar called to Beth and I, and later Tom, Linda, and Bill joined us to move to the music and enjoy a relaxing afternoon before heading to our lobster dinner at Anna’s.

Day 6 :Dickenson to Deep Bay for a lunch stop and on to Carlisle Bay

After Navigation, breakfast and yoga, we picked up anchor and motored the short distance to Deep Bay where there is a large wreck submerged in the center of the entrance to the bay. It was a good snorkel for those that did it. Lots of jet skis were circling the area so we picked up anchor after lunch and sailed downwind to Carlisle Bay. Another good sail and sparkling day. When we arrived in Carlisle Bay some went ashore to the resort in search of blender drinks while others relaxed on the boats. That night, we cooked our last meal aboard. We had softened brie and crackers followed by vegetable pasta.


Day 7: Carlisle Bay to English Harbor

Every Colgate Sailing Adventures flotilla must come to an end, and we enjoyed our last day on the water with 15-20 knots breeze, clear skies with signs of rain in the afternoon. Aboard Bright Idea, we took turns heaving to…a good practice. We discussed man overboard rescue techniques, and sailed upwind until we started to feel a rain shower, so we decided to head in to fuel before The Moorings base personal came aboard to Med-moor our boat, which concluded our sailing adventures.

That night, we gathered one last time at Pillars restaurant for the Farewell dinner. We sat waterside at a long table in more beautiful surroundings. After a toast given by Tom Rankin and some roasting by Larry, we enjoyed a delicious meal of seared tuna or rum-flavored ribs, followed by fancy bread pudding. All in all, we had great weather, excellent sailing conditions and an interesting, varied itinerary. Most importantly, we had good folks aboard. ■

This article is excerpted from the author’s Offshore Sailing School Flotilla Blog and reprinted with permission. To view future Colgate Sailing Adventures® trip destinations, visit and

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