Barbados can proudly boast of having some of the World’s best sailing conditions. 
The easterly trade winds, known as the North East Trades, average between 10 and 15 knots, the skies are clear and blue, and the seas are calm for most of the year, all of which make for idyllic sailing conditions that are hard to better, especially on the West Coast. Conditions on the South and South East Coasts are a bit more varied, with seas that are generally rougher, making them ideal for windsurfing, kiteboarding and wing foiling. 
This year our racing programme got underway in the middle of January with Barbados Sailing Week 2023. Organised by the Barbados Cruising Club in association with the Barbados Yacht Club and the Barbados Sailing Association, and sponsored by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) and Mount Gay, the event saw more than a week of offshore, dinghy and radio controlled boat racing, together with kiteboarding and wing foiling competitions, all taking place in the waters in and around the island. Sailing in January almost guarantees that the sailors are treated to some of the best winds Barbados has to offer, known locally as ‘Christmas winds’. 
The week kicked off with the Youth Dinghy Series on Saturday, 14th and Sunday, 15th January in Carlisle Bay. Nineteen of the island’s most talented junior sailors competed in a total of ten races over the two day period. Racing took place in three different classes: ILCA 4, O’Pen Skiff and Taz, and each race was sailed around a trapezoid course in the pristine waters of the Bay. 
Over the same weekend that the youngsters were racing, some of the islands more experienced sailors were doing battle in the Radio Controlled Dragon Flite 95 Series at Golden Grove Pond in St Philip. A total of eighteen races were sailed in windy conditions, which made for a thrilling event. 
These events were then followed by the Coastal Racing Series which was sailed over three days along the South and West Coasts of the island. Winds varying between 15 and 25 knots and relatively flat seas made for excellent sailing conditions and, with all boats sailing in the CSA Racing Class, competition proved tobe exciting. The international flavour of the event was reflected by winner’s row, with the Barbadian boat, A-Salt Weapon, emerging overall winner, followed by Maison Satec from Martinique in second and Spirit of Juno from the UK coming third. 
Once again this year, Errol Barrow Day on Saturday, January 21st, saw a good mix of local and visiting yachts crossing the starting line to compete in the 60 nautical mile Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race and try to beat the record in their respective classes. Unfortunately, no records were broken. However, after taking 6 hours, 19 minutes, 11 seconds to complete the race, Whistler of Barbados missed out on beating the record she had set in 2018 in the CSA Monohull Class by a mere 1 minute, 4 seconds on corrected time. Hopefully next year will be a different story. 
At the same time as the boats were racing around the island, twenty-two kitesurfers representing seven different countries took to the seas off Long Beach in Christ Church to take part in the Kitesurfing Competition. With winds ranging from 16 to 20 knots and 1 to 1.5 metre waves providing ideal nearshore surf conditions, competition was tight and exhilarating, and proved to be hugely popular with the crowd of spectators that gathered on the beach. This was followed on the Sunday by the Wing Foiling Competition which was held in the calmer waters of Oistins Bay. Attracting a total of twenty- four competitors from eight countries, the event proved to be equally competitive and just as popular with spectators and supporters. 
The racing season then continued with dinghy and racer/cruiser regattas being held on weekends from late January until the middle of July. Racing took place in Carlisle Bay and along the South and West Coasts of the island thanks to the generous sponsorship provided by Harris Paints, Lucky Horseshoe, Massy Stores, the Parker Family, R L Seale and Company Ltd and Stansfeld Scott. 
During the summer holidays, the Barbados Sailing Association, operating out of the Yacht Club, and SetSail, operating out of the Cruising Club, offered one and two week sailing camps to teach the sport of sailing to youngsters from the age of 8. In addition to conducting courses for beginners, the camps offered courses that developed the skills of the island’s more advanced junior sailors. 
In late September and October, the Barbados Sailing Association ran its annual National Dinghy Championships in the waters of Carlisle Bay. This year the Association was excited to welcome SigniaGlobe Financial as the title sponsor of the event, which comprised a series of fifteen races sailed over three weekends in various different classes, including ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial), ILCA 4 (formerly Laser 4.7), O’Pen Skiff and Taz. These Championships are used by the Barbados Sailing Association as one of the qualifying events to choose dinghy sailors who will represent Barbados in regional and international events such as the Caribbean Dinghy Championships. 
The J/24 International Open Championship returned to the sailing calendar this year after an absence of 3 years. The event, which was sailed over the weekend of October 14th and 15th, was organised by the J/24 Club of Barbados and attracted boats from several neighbouring islands. Sponsored by Tiki Bar, located on Accra Beach, and Corona, racing on Saturday was around a windward-leeward course set along the South Coast in the area of the Richard Haynes Boardwalk and Accra Beach. This brought the boats close to shore so that spectators and supporters could enjoy the spectacle. Sunday saw the fleet racing around a similar course set in Carlisle Bay, which always proves more challenging to skippers and their crews owing to the wind shifts experienced in the Bay. 
Looking forward to 2024, the sailing season is scheduled to kick off with Barbados Sailing Week in January and this will be followed by dingy and offshore events on most weekends throughout the season, which usually runs into mid-July. 
Barbados Sailing Association: 
Barbados Yacht Club: 
Barbados Cruising Club: 
Barbados Sailing Week: