Please select your home edition
Edition
Festival of Sails 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Grand opening of Regatta Village marks start of the countdown to 39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

by Liberty Ash 26 Feb 18:29 PST 26 February - 3 March 2019
Grand Opening of the Regatta Village - St. Maarten Heineken Regatta © St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

Boats are arriving, teams gathering, serious sailing and race tactics discussed and evening plans for serious fun prepared as the countdown to the start of the 39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta continues with the Grand Opening of the Regatta Village.

Organisers, volunteers, local residents and competitors gathered to witness Race Director Paul Miller formally launch this year's event, slicing the cork off a bottle of champagne in flamboyant style. Robbie Ferron, one of the founders of the Regatta and a former Commodore of St. Maarten Yacht Club said this year's event "welcomed in a new era." He was joined by another former Commodore, Ian Hope Ross, who said, "This year is a highlight for next year's 40th, and we welcome old friends and new."

A key event on the Caribbean race schedule, the regatta attracts some of the world's elite sailors and crews, with fast and furious racing in monohulls, maxis and multihulls with six races held over four days. For those looking for a more relaxed experience, the "Island Time Class" designed for cruisers, offers one race a day, ensuring all the fun of the regatta, without the stress!

Part of the attraction of this regatta is in its variety, both in size of boat, origin and aspirations. Some of the world's most elite performance race boats, such as Polish-entered Varsovie, a Swan 100S will be racing head to head against Umiko. This stunning Nautor Swan Frers 80 is skippered by yacht broker Bill Titus with a crew that collectively have raced in 150 St. Maarten Heineken Regattas, but this is the first time on Umiko. Bill comments, "I first raced in St. Maarten in 1993. The balance of serious sailing, warm waters and lifestyle draws me back and it is great to see the regatta still appealing to professional and amateur sailors from across the world. It's about having fun together as a team out on the water in a beautiful yacht."

Some of the tightest and most competitive racing, says Race Director Paul Miller, will be in the CSA 3 (Performance 40) group with 11 entries; meanwhile the five boats from Poland, including Sailing Poland, the Volvo Ocean 65 formerly known as MAPFRE, will be head to head against I love Poland, a Volvo Open 70. Both these boats demonstrate Poland's commitment to developing young and promising sailors from Olympic classes into a regular professional Sailing Poland Race Team. "To acquire this boat [Sailing Poland] was a step forward in our mission to become one of the largest sailing organisations in Poland," said Piotr Zygo, Sailing Poland's CEO.

At the other end of the scale, the St Maarten Heineken Regatta attracts families and cruising sailors, some of whom are en route to other destinations. Dobro Dani, an Elan 434 owned by Jason and Roberta Bowman, are exactly halfway in their journey from Croatia to Vancouver. "We are really looking forward to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, and excited to be racing our boat in the Caribbean," said Jason. "We're looking forward to tradewind round the can sailing and have heard rave reviews of the nightly parties and entertainment."

On shore, the legendary parties at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta continue to excel this year with festivities continuing long into the night. The Grand Opening saw live music from Remo and the Barbwire Band, with acts during the week including "Queen of Soca" Alison Hinds, Shermanology, Fatman Scoop with the highlight at the final night being The Jacksons, live on stage.

As skipper Trevor Middleton from UK-based Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep said, "We have never done the regatta before, but the reputation precedes it. It sounds like a good mix of sailing, drinking and parties, what is not to like about that?"

Find out more about the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, St. Maarten and island life here: www.heinekenregatta.com.

Tickets for the regatta parties can be purchased from the St. Maarten Yacht Club.

To keep up with the action, follow the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta social channels:

Related Articles

The Caribbean comes to Annapolis
Join us to celebrate St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 40th Anniversary The Caribbean comes to Annapolis in this special collaboration between the St Maarten Heineken Regatta, Ocean Racers race team and the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) at the United States Sailboat Show. Posted on 8 Oct
Registration open for St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Enter now for the the 40th Anniversary edition Sailing Holland, entered by Gideon Messink - Campaign Director Sailing Holland, is a Volvo 65 winning third place in the 2017 - 2018 Volvo Ocean Race as Team Brunel, and will be most certainly a team to watch. Posted on 24 Sep
40th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta anniversary
Showcasing the future of sailing by highlighting the latest in sailing technology It will be a special year as we will add some incredible new features, like a special 40-Mile Anniversary Course, a Caribbean Youth Class, a Kite Foiling Class, and more to come!" adds Korteweg. Posted on 15 Jun
39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta documentary
A unique event attracting over 1500 sailors from 22 countries For the sailors, the adrenaline of achieving the perfect start, the tension of getting the tactics right, and the relief as the boat crosses the famous Heineken finish line are all part of the serious sailing experience. Posted on 3 Apr
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta raises over $40,000
For local foundations with Motorworld Car Raffle Organizers of the St Maarten Heineken Regatta are pleased to announce a total of $41,900 was raised during the event for local foundations. The raffle was used to drive the event's "Green" initiatives benefiting sustainability efforts for the island. Posted on 20 Mar
39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - Varsovie
Varsovie is a Swan 100S raced by Tomek Ulatowski from Poland This year at the 39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Varsovie offered places on board for young St Maarten sailors Nina Manley, 21, and Maike van 't Laar, 23. Posted on 8 Mar
39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - Ineffable
Ineffable is Rapido 60 catamaran, owned by a Hong Kong-based sailor Ineffable is Rapido 60 catamaran, owned by Hong Kong based sailor Stephen Glyn Bourne. Measuring 60 foot, weighing 9.5 tons, this stunning boat not only looks beautiful, but she is also an awesome performer. Posted on 8 Mar
Legendary wrap up for St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
It was time for Serious Fun as hundreds of competitors poured into the Regatta Village The huge flashing stage was set for the prize giving, with Heineken magnums and an array of trophies ready to be handed out to the winning crews. Posted on 7 Mar
39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta overall
Unforgettable memories of sparkling azure blue seas It's been four days of awesome sailing, leaving competitors with unforgettable memories of sparkling azure blue seas, sandy white beaches and windswept ragged rocks. Posted on 4 Mar
39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta day 3
Selene's outstanding pace at the finish secured a well-deserved first place When a young person first learns to sail, they rarely imagine that one day they will end up racing on one of the largest, and undeniably most beautiful, yachts taking part in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Varsovie. Posted on 3 Mar
Gul 2019 GAMMA FooterVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 2SOUTHERN-SPARS-MISSY-FURLING-BOOMS-728-X-90 Bottom