Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Find out what it takes to run the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta on 12 Feb 2014
The 33rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Outside Images
It's been said it 'takes a village' to raise a child. To orchestrate and conduct the annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - slated for March 6-9 - it takes so much more, including countless volunteers and numerous dedicated local organizations. In fact, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is nothing less than a total island-wide effort.

At the top of the list are several organizations that play prominent roles in keeping all the sailors and party goers safe and secure, both at sea and ashore: Coast Guard St. Maarten, Red Cross St. Maarten, and the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation, with posts on both the French and Dutch sides of the island, respectively.

'The regatta sailors sometimes don't realize how much the entire St. Maarten community is involved,' said Regatta Director Michele Korteweg. 'It takes an entire island to throw an event and party this big. For us, when it comes to safety, it's all about prevention. We try to make sure everybody is safe and enjoying themselves. It takes a lot of people in the background to make it all work. We couldn't do it without them.'

When the sailors hoist sail and head out to sea, at the top of that list is the Coast Guard St. Maarten. 'There are a lot more boats than normal so it's a challenge to ensure everyone has the proper safety equipment and nothing illegal is going on,' said Roderick Gouverneur, the Communication Officer for Coast Guard St. Maarten, who noted that the cutter Poema patrols regularly with assistance from a fleet of smaller vessels.

'There are a few things I tell people who come to the event,' added Gouverneur. 'If you're drinking, do not operate a vessel. Just like a car. Make sure you have safety features onboard like life vests for everyone on your boat. Keep your cell phones and handheld VHF radios fully charged so you can communicate with authorities if you have to. And remember that you can always contact the Coast Guard by dialing 913. It's a free call from any cellular phone.'

While the Coast Guard has everyone's figurative back while they're afloat, at the many parties for which the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is so well known, the volunteers at Red Cross St. Maarten handle that responsibility. 'We have 10 people at each venue,' said the group's General Manager, Sharmaine Rivers, who noted that her team was always ready to assist those who may, well, party too hearty. 'We're there to lend assistance and help comfort any people who may need us,' she added.

Back on the racecourse, other 'guardian angels' - the patrol boats from the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation (www.searescue.sx) -- are always close at hand should incidents arise. 'They're all volunteers and they are always there following the races to ensure they're on site in case anything happens or any of the boats need assistance,' said Korteweg. 'They're very important to us in case anything goes wrong.'


Thankfully, for the last few years the services of the Sea Rescuers have not been required for emergency situations. But that's not always the case. 'In 2009 we had some incidents,' said Korteweg about that windy running of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. 'We had a couple of dismastings, a bareboat almost went onto a reef, and there was a collision between two yachts that resulted in some injuries to sailors who had to be taken off the boats and then taken to the hospital.'

Thanks to the swift action by the Sea Rescue Foundation, however, all these dangerous and potentially tragic occurrences were quickly and effectively under control.

For at the end of the day, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is nothing less than a celebration that everyone can enjoy. 'It's not just for the sailors,' said the Coast Guard's Gouverneur. 'There are a lot of activities on land as well as the water. Music. Concerts. Food. It's an island-wide party!'

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. Heineken Regatta Website

Insun - AC ProgramAncasta Botin Fast40 660x82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

Oracle Team USA opens 35th America's Cup with a convincing win
Oracle Team USA opened its quest for a three-peat with a win over Groupama Team France on Saturday afternoon in Bermuda. In picture perfect conditions, skipper Jimmy Spithill won the first start of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers with a timed run to the starting line.
Posted on 27 May
Thrilling races during tropical 33rd Delta Lloyd Regatta
The organisation was testing new formats for 49er, 49erFX and RS:X. It was a great success and made the finals exciting Medemblik welcomed a lot of talent, including those preparing for World Championships and World Cups, and some starting new Olympic campaigns. There were also many Olympic Rio sailors who’ve just started their season again.
Posted on 27 May
Onboard Phaedo^3's Transpacific Course World Record run across Pacific
The past few years we have had a good share of success with at least one wrong turn in our racing program. When Brian Thompson and I were planning the Phaedo3 program we had a wish list of races and records which would be nice to attempt if we had a MOD70.
Posted on 27 May
Riva Cup – Some more action shots by Elena Giolai
Photographer Elena Giolai has provided this gallery of images of Dyas, 5O5, Korsar Int. 14' classes Photographer Elena Giolai has provided this gallery of images of Dyas, 5O5, Korsar Int. 14' classes
Posted on 27 May
Riva Cup images by Elena Giolai
Photographer Elena Giolai has provided this gallery of images of Dyas, 5O5, Korsar Int. 14' classes Photographer Elena Giolai has provided this gallery of images of Dyas, 5O5, Korsar Int. 14' classes
Posted on 27 May
A Few Rays – Hypo-allergenic sunscreens, a must have for some
Allergic reaction to sunscreen can be avoided if you know what to use Allergic reaction to sunscreen can be avoided if you know what to use A standard hypo-allergenic sunscreen will be designed to reduce the chance of allergic reaction by limiting ingredients in the formulation that cause the irritation.
Posted on 27 May
Delta Lloyd Regatta – Medal race time for 470 and Laser
The wind was a bit tricky but Laser and 470 were able to start as scheduled giving them some time before the medal races An exciting Friday saw the last of the races before the medal races are sailed. The wind was a bit tricky in the morning, but Laser and 470 were able to start their races as scheduled, giving them some time before the medal races to prepare.
Posted on 26 May
The Atlantic Cup returns
Longest offshore race in the Western Atlantic dedicated to the Class40 will start from Charleston, one year from today. The race was created in 2011 to showcase short-handed, offshore racing with hard fought competition and exciting shore based events, while also being the most environmentally sustainable sailing race in the United States. The Atlantic Cup has been carbon neutral since 2012 and was the first and is the only sports event in the U.S. to be ISO 20121 compliant.
Posted on 26 May
Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac set sail from Chicago on July 15th
More than 300 boats have registered for the 109th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Wintrust More than 300 boats have registered for the 109th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Wintrust, one of the world’s longest-running freshwater distance races. “The Mac”, which takes most competitors well over 24 hours to complete, is a 333-mile sprint from the Chicago Lighthouse, just east of Navy Pier, to the Round Island Channel near Mackinac Island, Michigan.
Posted on 26 May
Key West Race Week 2018 - Cancelled
After extensive discussion/deliberation Storm Trysail Club decided not to organize Key West Race Week in January 2018. After extensive discussion and deliberation the Storm Trysail Club has decided not to organize and hold Key West Race Week in January 2018. Many factors led to this difficult decision. The bottom line is that with declining participation, the event has become heavily dependent upon sponsorship making the event unsustainable in its current format.
Posted on 26 May