What a superb Opening Ceremony!! we cannot be too far from the truth if we say that what most of the sailors will remember from Antigua will be the wind, the waves... and the ceremonies. Unforgettable!! So much color, so much fun. Kids and adults alike dancing on and out of the stage; one of the best bands of the country performing just for the championship. What else can we ask for?

It started at 6:00 pm at the AYC, from where the sailors and officials took to the streets in a parade led by the Antigua Drum Corp of the Antigua Defense Force. Upon arriving at a gas station, midway to the Dockyard, they were joined by various other paraders, all of them dressed up in colourful costumes, led by the Iron Band (*).

Once at the Dockyard, where the stage had been set up, the actual ceremony started. A mixture of speeches and artist performances preceded the hoist of the IODA flag and further declaration of the event being open, followed by fireworks. The artists who performed included the Youth Choir, who sang the National Anthem, Lacu Samuel and his steel pan (*), a dance performance by the Shiva Dance Group, and finally Itchy Feet, a prominent local band led by singer Asher Otto.


Antigua is famous for its steel orchestras and iron bands, which can be found in churches and in many villages, and have been popular since their introduction. (They are at the airport to welcome visitors :) The instrument they use are the steel pans (steel drums), created on the Caribbean island of Trinidad in the 1930s, however, steel pan history can be traced back to the enslaved Africans who were brought to the islands during the 1700s.

The early metal pan bands were a rustic combination of a wide variety of metallic containers and kitchen utensils which were struck with open hands, fists or sticks. The metal pan players discovered that the raised areas of the metal containers made a different sound to those areas that were flat. Through experimentation, coincidence, trial and error, and ingenuity on the part of numerous innovators, the metal pan bands evolved into the steel pan family of instruments.

Steelpans are built using sheet metal with a thickness between 0.8 mm and 1.5 mm. Historically, steelpans have been built from used oil barrels. Nowadays, many instrument makers do not rely on used steel containers and get the resonance bodies manufactured according to their preferences and technical specifications. In a first step, the sheet metal is stretched into a bowl shape. This process is usually done with hammers, manually or with the help of air pressure. The note pattern is then marked onto the surface, and the notes of different sizes are shaped and molded into the surface. After the tempering, the notes have to be softened and tuned (initial tuning).

Photos © Matías Capizzano: http://www.capizzano.com/optinam-2016/

Event contact email address: amneris.calle@gmail.com, opticlass@yachtclub.ag


The SEABOARD MARINE Optimist North American Championship 2016 is organised by the Antigua Yacht Club under the authority of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA). The venue is Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour and it takes place from July 10th to July 18th. Entries are still open and it is expected to have +160 participants from more than 15 countries. Already entered: Argentina, Antigua, Brazil, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Peru, USA, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Mexico.

For a programme, click here.


Other Sponsors: Antigua and Barbuda, Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort, The Catamaran Hotel, National Parks Antigua, Oasis, Pinehill, Antigua Pro Racing, Club Sushi, Brydens and Yao.



The organisers of the Optimist North American Championship 2016 together with the Antigua Yacht Club wish to thank the following for their support, donations and contributions without which these championships would not be happening.