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Whitbread sailor in the lead for 40th St Maarten Heineken Regatta

by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 18 Jan 08:36 PST 5-8 March 2020
Whitbread sailor in the lead for 40th St Maarten Heineken Regatta © St Maarten Heineken Regatta

The Sint Maarten Yacht Club Regatta Foundation has appointed a new Race Director for the 40th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

Organizers have turned their attention to the complete sailing experience for the 40th edition and after collecting feedback from past and current competitors changes were made in Race Management. A new Race Director has been appointed. He came highly recommended by several well-known sailors and he will be supported by a team of experienced volunteers who have been involved with the event for decades.

"Every so often we change up the Race Management Team, this helps with the Event's dynamic and allows us to stay innovative. We have had some excellent racing in the past, but for the 40th event we truly wanted to ensure all participants an unforgettable experience, while bringing back some features from the past. Our goal is to get everyone to fall in love with this event and put it on their race calendar as their annual event." stated Yacht Club Manager Michele Korteweg.

Marc van Dongen (60) raced the 1985 Whitbred Round the World race onboard the Philips Innovator under the leadership of skipper Dirk Nauta. The accompanying crew included Bouwe Bekking, Gideon Messink, and Frans Hinfelaar and together they made their Around the World debut.

For van Dongen, sailing is in his blood. He has spent the last few decades racing competitively on a variety of boats. He has also joined several racing organizations at various levels ranging from club races to world championships.

Notably, the 40th edition will be a special one for many sailors, but certainly for Marc, in particular, is that's some of his former colleges of the Philips Innovator will be racing. Most notably is that Bouwe Bekking will be crossing the start line as skipper of the V65 Childhood1.

Van Dongen said " I was honored when asked to be Race Director for this world-famous event. It's a fantastic team to work with and they bring a wealth of local knowledge with them. Cary Byerley, Rien Korteknie and Joris van den Eynde have all been involved in this event in one way or another for many years. We are currently knee-deep in courses that we hope will challenge each and every racer. We will publish the courses as soon as they are ready that way the participants can then use them as a guide when practicing. I bring with me, my experience on the larger boats and have been listening to the past participants and of course my team members within the event."

Van Dongen elaborated "When I knew I would be involved with the event I emailed Bouwe for some advice as he has raced the event several times. He let me know that he too would be taking part, and felt it was almost like a reunion of sorts"

The 2020 event will take place March 5-8, 2020 and will welcome a host of participants that come from ports across the globe. Seasoned regatta veterans will take to the waters with enthusiast newcomers which will allow for great competition that the event has called "Serious Fun" for four decades! The official courses for the event will be available in the coming weeks.

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