Saturday, March 3, 2018

Heineken St. Maarten Regatta Preview

J/122 sailing Heineken St Maarten Regatta (Simpson Bay, St. Maarten)- The four-day Heineken St. Maarten Regatta kicks off on Thursday, March 1, 2018 with the Gill Commodore’s Cup. On Friday, the fleet embarks on the event’s 26 nautical mile Around the Island Race before taking on a series of windward-leeward races on Saturday and a single coastal race on Sunday. Each day of racing is rounded out with serious shore-side entertainment, including concerts and parties.

In 1980, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta started as the St. Maarten Regatta with a modest 12 sailboats participating. In 1983, Heineken became a major sponsor of the St. Maarten Regatta; as a bonus, the competitors received ice-cold Heineken beers from a passing powerboat while they were racing!  After the involvement of Heineken, the event grew fast. The Commodore’s Cup was added in 2005.

Set in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, powered by the cooling northeast trade winds and run by an experienced, innovative and friendly race team, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is four days of world-class racing in idyllic conditions appealing to a broad range of tastes. The four race committees provide custom-tailored racing for the thousands of sailors from more than 35 countries that come to race.

J/111 sailing St Maarten Heineken RegattaStarting with the one-day Gill Commodore’s Cup and continuing with the three days of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, sailors are offered a mixture of races with a combination of windward-leeward and coastal races blended together into an irresistible cocktail of racing chosen to suit each class.

As the racers savor the prospect of eight races over four days with windward-leeward races on two days and two longer coastal races testing both boat handling and tactics, it’s easy to understand why the regatta attracts a large competitive group of classes.

Serious Fun Parties
With Heineken as a long-standing sponsor, you would expect the parties to be exceptional… no one leaves ever disappointed! With parties at varied locations around the island there are fantastic opportunities to experience the legendary nightlife for which the island is famous.  St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has a well-earned reputation for hosting amazing artists like the Black Eyed Peas, UB40 featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey, Akon, Wyclef Jean, Shaggy, The Commodores, and Red Foo and the Party Rock Crew, for the parties so that tired but happy sailors can party with an ice-cold Heineken in their hand and the sand between their toes as they watch the sun dip below the horizon.

J/105 sailing Heineken St Maarten RegattaGill Commodore’s Cup
The Gill Commodore’s Cup will take place on March 1, 2018 as pre-event of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The Gill Commodore’s Cup will maintain individual results, allowing sailors to practice and perfect their racing without influencing their main event results. With 90 entries, the Gill Commodore’s Cup is ranked among the top five largest regattas in the Caribbean.

Winners of the Gill Commodore’s Cup will be awarded Gill gear during the prize ceremony, which will take place on Thursday evening, March 1st.

A number of strong J/crews are participating in this fun-loving, but quite competitive event.  In CSA 3 Class, is the new J/121 APOLLO sailed by Don Nicholson; she arrived just in time last week from her delivery from Palm Beach, FL to Simpson Bay, St Maarten.  Her inaugural regatta in the Caribbean will be up against a formidable duo of J/122s- a true test of the J/121’s offshore capabilities.  The best-known boat is EL OCASO (two-time past Heineken winner), returning with a winning family crew from the United Kingdom led by Chris Body.  They will be up against their nemesis, Pamala Baldwin’s LIQUID ANTIGUA, winner of last year’s Voiles de St Barth.  Then, given the wind and wave conditions, watch out for Sam Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE to provide a tough fight, especially in the lighter airs with reaching or running.  Then, there’s a hot offshore crew from Australia on the J/120 (custom) JAGUAR, led by skipper John Annet.

A similar scenario is playing out in CSA 4 Class.  Past winners of most all Caribbean regattas will be present with a trio of J/105s dueling for class honors with a J/30!  Those teams include Peter Lewis’ J/105 WHISTLER from Barbados, Jordan & Shannon Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE from New York, and Remco Van Dortmondt’s J/105 JENK from Curacao.  None other than Tanner & Shari’s J/30 BLUE PETER/ CARIBBEAN ALLIANCE INSURANCE from Antigua and Barbuda will be giving the 105s a good run-for-the-roses!  Should be fun for all despite the challenging weather forecast!  For more Heineken Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.