The 36th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, the Caribbean’s biggest sailing regatta, kicks off in less than 30 days. Over 200 boats are expected with an international cast of about 2000 sailors taking part in four days of world class racing and legendary parties.
With entries ranging from the super-fast MOD 70, Phaedo3 to beachcats, everyone can participate in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The sixth edition of the Gill Commodore’s Cup precedes the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta on March 3 and a record entry is also likely.
“I am going to stick my neck out and say we will have more than 200 boats this year.” commented St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Race Director, Paul Miller. “The number of entries, compared to this time last year, are well up, so over 200 is definitely achievable. I think that part of the reason for the success of the regatta is that the organisers are not only prepared to listen to what the competitors want but also prepared to act upon their wishes. There have been some changes this year, which are very much at the request of the competitors.
We will have four race courses and four top race officers this year. This is in response to a desire from competitors to have less crowded starting areas. We had 29 multihulls racing last year, unprecedented in the Caribbean and separating multihulls from other yachts will allow us to give them more reaching starts and reaching courses. The spinnaker classes will have more traditional windward leeward courses, especially on the last two days of the regatta. The Race Committee has also decided to have a simple course for the Round St. Maarten Race that will not alter year on year. So this year, the multihulls and monohulls will set race records, which will be the bar for future teams to better.”
81 yachts competed in last year’s Gill Commodore’s Cup, The one day event immediately prior to the regatta has been supported by Gill North America since 2010. Besides bragging rights for the class winners of the Gill Commodore’s Cup, Gill North America provide fantastic prizes from their technical product range.
“The Gill Commodore’s Cup is an excellent warm up day and now open to bareboat, multihull and spinnaker classes. Practice on the water for the crews, and also race management, sets the stage for an excellent St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.” commented David Pritchard, President of Gill North America. “Gill really enjoys the atmosphere around the event; great sailing conditions and cold Heineken beer to sip on at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club … what’s not to like! If you are coming to the regatta, please stop by the Gill booth at the yacht club or the nearby Budget Marine store. We have a wide range of HR 36 decorated products for purchase that offer great UV protection while out on the water and in the sun. Good luck racers! Hope to see you on the water.”
Sleek, chic and fast, the Gunboat Posse have been a regular feature of recent St. Maarten Heineken Regattas and 2016 will be no exception. Greg Gigliotti racing Gunboat 62 Tribe expects a sizeable fleet to be at the regatta.
“The fact that the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta offers a separate division dedicated to Gunboats is a significant reason why so many owners choose to participate in this regatta. These boats are big and accelerate very quickly. It’s not uncommon to be reaching back and forth along the start line at speeds that can almost immediately approach 20knots and, atypical to most multihulls, can point very high up wind (in the range of 30-35deg apparent). Mixing with other multihull designs more limited in their manoeuvrability and speed at the start has the potential to be a very dangerous combination we think it’s in everyone’s interest to avoid. We have a very competitive class and the critical mass to make the racing very exciting. Courses dedicated to multihulls are a big plus for this regatta.
The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has a lot of great features. St. Maarten is a great venue logistically. Great local support from very qualified yards for getting necessary repairs and maintenance or storing containers. Having it over a long weekend is a very manageable commitment to squeeze into everyone’s schedules. Direct flights make it easy not to lose time connecting between islands. We expect between 6-8 Gunboats this year with commitments from 3 of the 62’s, a 66’ and potentially 3 of the new 60’s.”
The Gill Commodore’s Cup takes place on March 3rd, followed by the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta with racing from March 4th – 6th. For online entry and race documents as well as the party schedule and other information go to http://www.heinekenregatta.com.