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St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - Options aplenty for racing hopefuls

by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta on 1 Feb 2014
The 33rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta comes to a close on Sunday Outside Images
Each year, hundreds of boats of all types and sizes enter to race in the annual St.Maarten Heineken Regatta. Anything, from family owned live aboard vessels to multi-million dollar racing machines, are readied and entered to join the other boats in the years most anticipated Caribbean Regatta. For those individuals without a personal ride, the possibilities are vast. From Charter boats complete with captains to the 100ft, carbon fibre technology of the pro's, there are several options available for those wishing to race but lacking in the sailing vessel department.

Have you ever wanted to race in the Caribbean's most famous regatta, the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta? Wish you had a boat to enter or perhaps you wished that one of your many friends had space on his/her boat that was already entered?

Space as crew during the regatta is always limited and potential crew members can be seen cruising the local bars hoping to run into someone who is looking for crew. Some sailors are desperate enough that they make custom made shirts advertising their sailing skills. You can post your name and qualifications on various crew forums and on the local yacht club bulletin board both in St.Maarten and on the surrounding islands, but there is no guarantee that you will be chosen to crew for the main event. The fact is there are more sailors looking for spots than there are spots available. Luckily there are other opportunities available.

One of the more popular options is renting a charter boat from one of the charter companies located on the island of St.Maarten like Sunsail or Moorings sponsors of the Regatta itself. With more than 80 charter boats entered in the event every year, this option can offer lots of fun racing in charter boat classes. For sailors located in Europe there are even more options available as charter companies offer package deals including flights, hotels, transportation's on island and much more. Generally it all boils down to your individual budget and how many team members you have.

One of those charter companies is Kras, which is based out of the Netherlands. Kras offers all-inclusive packages for the 2014 St.Maarten Heineken Regatta which includes round trip flights with their own TUI airline Arkefly from Amsterdam, a charter boat from either Sunsail or Moorings and on the spot assistance. In addition they offer assistance in booking other airlines should your dates conflict with the Arkefly dates of travel. Their hands-on approach makes it very easy and fun to race in the regatta.

ATP Event Experts, which has been sending participants to the regatta for over 10 years, offers customized packages and specializes in teambuilding trips for co-workers and company heads. Their packages offer boat rentals, flights, pre-registration as well as pre- briefings both in the Netherlands and in St.Maarten to make sure their customers are aware of the challenges when racing in the regatta. Customer service is high on their list of priorities and with their list of repeat customers, their track record is most certainly proven.


For those sailors looking for more of a challenge there are several boats available that will most definitely peak your interest. Not looking for that average sailboat? Looking for excitement and that once in a lifetime experience? You are most likely looking for a 'headboat' experience.

Headboats are individual boats that charge by the head rather than renting out the entire boat to one person or group, making this a very enticing and cost effective way to participate in the regatta without the work and preparation that goes into making a boat ready to race. Stress free racing which means all you have to do is just show up, man your station, make new friends and compete on some of the fastest and most unique racing boats available.

One boat available this season is the Volvo 70 'Monster Project'. Starting its first season in the Caribbean the team took four hours, 42 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race. This time shaved 21 minutes off the previous record starting their charter season off with a bang. This is truly a high performance yacht and crew for those wanting to push their boundaries and experience the more extreme side of sailing. This opportunity is available for the 34th St.Maarten Heineken Regatta and included in your 'head' price is all entry fees, on-board training, racing skipper, drinks and snack as well as foul weather gear if needed, all of which will lead to an experience of a lifetime.

Perhaps your looking for something different? Then perhaps the headboat of choice is the 30 meter 'Cape Arrow', a winning collaboration between Farr Yacht Design for the naval architecture and Nauta Design for the general concept and interior design and exterior styling. This distinctive competitor is available for those sailors looking for something different, and can offer an exciting action packed day on the water.

All the options mentioned above and many more can be found on the regatta website with full contact details, websites and pictures. Contact should be made directly with the individual boats or charter companies.

If you still want to try your luck finding a boat, or perhaps you have a boat and are looking for crew, you can log on to the crew forum on the regatta website here.

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