The last day of the 34th annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta closed in outstanding fashion last evening at the traditional Prize-Giving ceremony on Kim Sha Beach. The evening's top prize-the St. Maarten-Saint Martin Cup-for the regatta's Most Worthy Performance Overall went to Rich Wesslund's J/122, El Ocaso, the winner of the event's biggest division, the 18-boat CSA4 class.
34th Annual St. Maarten Heineken regatta awards ceremony
El Ocaso's crew, resplendent in blue Hawaiian shirts, received their prize from St. Maarten's Honourable Prime Minister Ms. Sarah Westcott-Williams, who was gracious in her remarks honoring Wesslund and his team, while also recognizing the hundreds of international sailors who'd descended on the island for the Caribbean's largest regatta. It was the second time Wesslund's Florida-based squad was the Most Worthy of them all.
The wildest applause of the evening, however, was reserved for the youth sailors from the Sint Maarten Yacht Club's Youth Sailing Team, who walked off with a bundle of awards. The team was the winner of the CSA9 class, and also won the Sint Maarten Yacht Club Cup for the Most Worthy Performance on Sunday, and the St. Maarten Local Youth Challenge Cup, which was presented by Lorraine Talmi from the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA). This final trophy was created to award those local youngsters that are involved in sailing, to stimulate more interest in this sport from the local community. The SMMTA is involved in several initiatives, e.g. sponsoring sailing for local children and the Build your Future project, with the goal to get more local youngsters involved in the Marine Industry.
There were scores of other prizes, as well.
The Windward Islands Bank Cup for Fastest Spinnaker Around the Island, on Friday's opening race that circumnavigated St. Maarten, went to the Volvo 70 Monster Project, skippered by U.K. competitor Andrew Budgen. The Fiji Cup for Fastest Bareboat Around the Island was presented to Duncan Roberts, the captain of the Beneteau Oceanis 50F, Team Zissou. The Sol Cup for the Fastest Non-Spinnaker Around the Island went to Canadian sailor David Hatfield and the crew of the Volvo 60, Spirit of Adventure. And the Australian Gold Cup for the Fastest Multihull Around the Island was given to Nils Erickson on the Formula 40 catamaran, Soma.
The Columbus Cup for the Bareboat Overall title, which represents the best performance in all five bareboat charter fleets, went to Rene Van Dop, whose Aquaholics, another Beneteau Oceanis 50F, also won the Bareboat2 class.
Other big winners included Robert Armstrong aboard the J/100, Bad Girl, who won the Xerox Obersi Cup for Spirit and Style. The winner of CSA5, Andrea Scarabelli, who didn't lose a race in the Melges 24 fleet, also took home the Heineken Cup, presented by Heineken's own John Leone, for the Most Worthy Performance on Saturday, day two of the event. Ross Appleby's Oyster Lightwave 48, Sailing Logic, won the Caribserve Cup for Most Worthy Performance on Friday. The crew of Beluga, a spanking new Contest 42CS, received the Captain Morgan Cup for the Most Rum Worthy Performance.
With that, after awards were also handed out to the top three podium finishers in each of the 20 classes, the 2014 event came to a close. The 35th Anniversary edition of the annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will take place from March 5-8, 2015. The time to start planning is now!
For over three decades, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has showcased the top boats and sailing-and has become equally famous for its world-class slate of parties and musical entertainment-in the Caribbean. Now recognized by sailors around the planet as one of the sailing world's best regattas, each year the event lives up to its worthy motto: Serious Fun.