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Antigua's English Harbour

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5 September 2012 by Luke McCormick

Antigua's position in the West Indies makes it the gateway to the Caribbean. Although passed by the majority of shipping routes, it remains quiet, in part due to the enormous number of beaches to enjoy here; enough that you can spend each day of a year on a different one.

Away from the beach, explore colonial-era sugar mills, Nelson's Dockyard and Fort James, watch cricket, the national obsession, drink local rum and enjoy the deliciously slow pace of life.

Neighbouring Barbuda is essentially just a single, vast beach. Little more than a sand bar surrounded by coral reef and populated by frigate birds.

Antigua's English Harbour was developed as a base for the British Navy in the great age of sail, and served as the headquarters of the fleet of the Leeward Islands during the turbulent years of the late 18th century.

Although the dockyard was greatly expanded at that time of Horatio Nelson, it was gradually abandoned in the nineteenth century and was closed in 1889. Today Nelson's Dockyard has been completely restored, and is now the only Georgian dockyard in the world.

Antigua Sailing week

Antigua Sailing Week takes place annually at the end of April. In 45 years the event has developed into one of the world's premier yacht racing events. Its international status ensures a steady stream of participants, usually more than a hundred every year, who race anything from high-tech racing yachts to performance cruisers that range in size from 24 to more than 100 feet.

Plenty of visitors get in on the act to gain prime viewing positions, party well into the evening and take the opportunity to enjoy their own holiday.

Over the five days of competition crews are challenged with a variety of coastal race courses that encourage the best in seamanship and every year the event features a race from Guadeloupe to Antigua.

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