Peter Holmberg is a Virgin Islands sailing legend and the only Caribbean sailor to win both an Olympic Medal and the prestigious America’s Cup. Holmberg is now set to return to one of his favorite sailing venues next month to contest the fourth running of the Budget Marine Match Racing Cup.
The Budget Marine Match Racing Cup is an annual event that is scheduled this year for February 28 and will serve as the official kick-off to the 32nd edition of the world-renowned St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, which begins on March 2.
Holmberg, who won the first two editions of the innovative Budget Marine Match Racing series, was denied a third trip to the winner’s circle last year when he was upset in the finals by New Zealand ace Gavin Brady. The memory remains fresh in his mind. 'I will definitely go in to the Budget Marine event looking for a win,' he said. 'Last year Gavin got the better of us in the finals, so I would like to erase that memory if I can.'
Eight teams of sailors will once again gather in St. Maarten to compete for the $8,000 purse: $5,000 for the winning team; $2,000 for the runner-up; and $1,000 for the third-place finishers. But Holmberg said that the prize money was only a small part of the attraction in competing for the Budget Marine Cup.
'The racing is held in the Simpson Bay Lagoon to promote spectating, so we are often racing in between moored boats and marinas,' he said. 'This can make the racing quite tricky, but that’s all in the spirit of the event. St. Maarten itself is a very friendly island, which always makes for a fun time visiting.'
Holmberg will also be racing in the 'main event' later that week—the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta—aboard the new Reichel-Pugh IRC 52, Highland Fling.
Thus far there are two confirmed entrants joining Holmberg for the Budget Marine Cup. One of them, Colin Rathbun of the British Virgin Islands, is a veteran of the regatta, and will be looking to better his third-place showing in last year’s contest.
'After falling in love with match racing, I’m all about bringing more of it to the Caribbean and the Budget Marine Match Racing Cup does just that,' he said. 'It’s tight, close-water sailing with some of the best in the world, all flown in to sail the big boats in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. I can’t wait to do it again this year.'
The third confirmed entrant in the eight-boat fleet is American David Storrs, a 67-year-old American from the East Coast with extensive experience racing on Long Island Sound. David is currently ranked 20th among U.S. sailors in the International Sailing Federation list of top match racers.
Sailed in identical Jeanneau SunFast 20s with three-person teams, after an initial ten-flight round-robin series, the field is narrowed to a final four that compete for the prize money and bragging rights as one of the top match racers in the Caribbean. And opportunities are still available for teams looking to mix it up against living legend Peter Holmberg.
'Anyone who is an accomplished match racer, male or female, who would like to enjoy match and fleet racing, perhaps win a pile of cash, and enjoy some of the finest regatta parties in the Caribbean should email the regatta office (firstname.lastname@example.org
) and submit their sailing CV for consideration,' said Regatta Director Heather Tackling. 'The cost of participation is only $100 though a refundable deposit of $500 is required to confirm the slot.'
In other words, are you ready to challenge an Olympian and America’s Cup winner? Here’s your chance!
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta website