With a little over three weeks to go before action commences in the 33rd annual edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, entries continue to pour in and plans continue to firm up. The 2013 running of the event begins on February 28th with the pre-regatta tune-up series, the Gill Commodore's Cup. With nearly 150 boats now registered, the fleet continues to grow. And some of the newest additions are some of the biggest, including Tomek Ulatowski's Swan 100, Varsovie; John Wilson's IMS 78, Idea; and Jan Rupert's custom Tripp 75, Blackbird.
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
But variety is not only the spice of life-it's one of the key components of the innovative St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. And if there's one word to describe what's in store for the 2013 contest, it's a simple four-letter one: More. For when it comes to classes, races, photo opportunities, and all-around innovations, this year's event promises more of everything.
When it comes to having a blast on a racecourse, after all, you don't need a Swan 100. In fact, the argument can be made that the best, purest racing is contested in one-design sport boats. And the 2013 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will have those in abundance, with a dedicated and growing Melges 24 class, as well as an expanding number of the quick, exciting Melges 32s. And in the multihull divisions, the incredible Gunboat catamarans are returning in force after a brief hiatus and will also compete in a separate class. All in all, the competition looks to be closer and more intriguing than ever.
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Of course, the one thing competitive racers enjoy more than anything is, well, racing. And thanks to a change in the Saturday schedule, this year's St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will have more than ever. More starts and shorter races-to go along with the event's tried and true formula of challenging, point-to-point distance contests-are a recipe for success. In the past, the smaller and mid-size spinnaker racing classes sailed four races over the three-day series. This year, due to popular demand, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta race committee has added a second Saturday race for the bareboat fleets as well, which will be held off Marigot after the annual race from Philipsburg. The goal is more races for the entire fleet by 2014.
There are few sports as picturesque and enduring as sailboat racing, and for sailors with spouses or kids who wish to sharpen their photographic skills-or take a break from the action to experience the event from a completely different perspective-this year's St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has a rare opportunity.
World-renowned yachting photographer Onne van der Wal will this year conduct one of his popular Winter Workshops in St. Maarten during 'the Heineken.' Come shoot the event from a chase boat, get onboard for some racing action, shoot alongside Onne with a small group of photographers, and explore beautiful St. Maarten on an illustrative vacation that will indulge your senses and broaden your abilities. Space is limited, so email 'Kristen@vanderwal.com' for full information, pricing and reservations.
For over three decades, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has showcased the top boats and sailing in the Caribbean, and has become equally famous for its world-class slate of parties and musical entertainment. 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.
Heineken Regatta website