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

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignZhik Isotak Ocean 660x82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

Heerema delayed by Biscay lows, Groundhog Day for Destremau
With 16 boats now finished, eighth edition of the Vendée Globe becomes the race with greatest ever number of finishers. With 16 boats now finished, the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe becomes the race with greatest ever number of finishers. Until now it was the 2000-2001 edition, with 24 starters and 15 finishers, which saw the biggest number of starters reach the end of their race at the legendary South Nouch buoy.
Posted today at 10:24 am
Bella Mente Racing starts 2017 season with major victory at RORC C600
Bella Mente Racing starts 2017 season off with major victory at RORC Caribbean 600 Bella Mente Racing, led by owner/driver Hap Fauth, launched its 2017 campaign season with a major victory this week, winning IRC Overall, CSA Overall and CSA 1 at the RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua; The team took home coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the IRC win as well as the Bella Mente Trophy, the team’s namesake award, for being first IRC yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered.
Posted today at 4:54 am
Cool drone footage of Dongfeng Race Team on the water
Dongfeng is back in the water and training is well underway for the returning Chinese campaign. Dongfeng is back in the water and training is well underway for the returning Chinese campaign. Stunning drone footage of the re-fitted Volvo Ocean 65 has been released as the team hit the water off the coast of Lisbon.
Posted today at 3:52 am
49th Transpac early entry deadline approaches on March 1st
Planning for the 49th edition of the Los Angeles-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race is well underway Planning for the 49th edition of the Los Angeles-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race presented by the Los Angeles Times and organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club is well underway, with 52 monohull and multihull entries from nine nations already signed up for this biennial 2225-mile ocean race, one of the world's oldest having first been sailed in 1905.
Posted today at 3:36 am
18ft Skiffs - JJ Giltinan Trophy - Replay coverage - Race 1
Live coverage of Race 1 of the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs from Sydney harbour - sailing in the wind and rain Replay of Race 1 of the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs from Sydney harbour - sailing in the wind and rain
Posted today at 3:25 am
Hat-trick all around for Phaedo^3 in this year Caribbean 600
Lloyd Thornburg and crew of Phaedo^3 have gained not only line honours each time but also three wins in their class. Lloyd Thornburg and the crew of his MOD70 Phaedo^3 for the last three editions of the RORC Caribbean 600 have gained not only line honours each time but also three wins in their class.
Posted today at 3:16 am
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman's thoughts on his incredible performance
Colman was the first boat in the history of the race to finish using only natural energy, no fossil fuels After finishing 16th in the Vendee Globe, crossing the finish line under the jury rig which had carried him the final 720 miles of his race since he was dismasted, Conrad Colman was greeted by a hero's welcome into Les Sables d'Olone. The first New Zealander to complete the race he was also the first boat in the history of the race to finish using only natural energy, no fossil fuels.
Posted on 24 Feb
More winners announced in RORC Caribbean 600
As dawn broke on day five, crews who had finished the race were beginning to arrive back in Antigua. At Dawn on the fifth day, the leading Class40s were approaching the finish. Throughout the race, the battle in the class had been intense, with three yachts taking the lead at various points along the course.
Posted on 24 Feb
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman finishes under jury rig
Colman constructed and stepped a remarkable jury rig which has allowed him to sail the final 740 miles of 27,440nm race New Zealander Conrad Colman wrote a new chapter in the storied history of the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line of the eighth edition of the non stop solo round the world race under a makeshift jury rig.
Posted on 24 Feb
Vendée Globe – Romain Attanasio takes fifteenth place
French skipper Romain Attanasio, sailing Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys, took 15th place in the solo race around the world French skipper Romain Attanasio, sailing Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys, took 15th place in the non stop solo race around the world this morning (Friday 24th February) when he crossed the finish line at 1006hrs UTC.
Posted on 24 Feb