Please select your home edition
Edition
Vaikobi 2019AUG - Leaderboard 3

40th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - CSA Rating Rule

by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 13 Feb 09:33 PST 5-8 March 2020
39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, final day © Laurens Morel

From the earliest beginnings of yacht racing, one of the most controversial aspects has been the creation and implementation of rating rules. The idea behind rating rules is to "level the playing field" by handicapping the fleet so a wide variety of yachts can compete fairly and equitably with one another.

Elsewhere in the watery world, rating rules come and go. But not in the Caribbean, where the longstanding CSA Rule (so named for the Caribbean Sailing Association) has been in operation for decades. It's the rule under which the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is contested, and one of the reasons the close, tight racing has always been the reason it attracts so many dedicated competitive sailors. And it will once again be the rule of choice for the 40th edition of the regatta, which this year takes place from March 5-8.

"I am always fascinated looking at results in some races (under the CSA Rule) where a few boats come within seconds on a standard race," said naval architect and CSA Chief Measurer Bastien Pouthier. "The CSA Rule is actually a very old rule, I mean 60-plus years old. A retired British fighter pilot designed a mathematical formula to be able to race between friends fairly. Obviously, the rule has been developed and updated yearly, with a number of major revamps in between."

Pouthier said part of the reason for the CSA Rule's success is that it was especially developed for the ideal Caribbean weather, "and was optimized for the conditions we encounter here, steady 15-knot trade winds." He explained that the Rule was designed for displacement cruiser/racer-type yachts, the majority of Caribbean race boats, but also works well in varying breezes and with today's lighter displacement flyers. "I am convinced that the CSA Rule works the best for our Caribbean events like the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. We can get a new entry and within 2 hours of measuring and 15 minutes of inputting our software, we can get them racing. No other rule can deliver that."

With regards to the fleet in the 40th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Pouthier said to keep an eye on the boats in the middle size ranges. "The Performance Classes between 35-feet and 48-feet, typically split into two (divisions) by rating, are amazing classes. These are the boats that will travel around the Caribbean to many different events and will fight repeatedly on the racecourse. The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will be a highlight of the season as it has been many years in the past. Of course, the 40th will be a special one!"

The CSA Rule is actually four rules, to cover monohulls, multihulls and classic yachts. As Chief Measurer, Pouthier has final say on matters, but he also oversees an impressive team that also consists of specialist Chief Technical Officers for the monohulls and multihulls. The CTOs are trained yacht designers with vast experience in designing, building and racing yachts, and who work with an impressive group of 15 other measurers who also are hands-on, veteran racers and cruisers.

Pouthier himself is a lifelong sailor whose career began in Normandy, France, racing Optimists in the Channel Sea. By 18, he became a sailing instructor and began his studies in engineering, with the notion of becoming a car designer. But he soon switched disciplines and matriculated to the famous Southampton Institute, which led him to a position in Trinidad as a naval architect. That's where and when he not only got bitten by the racing bug, but also got involved with the technical aspects of the CSA Rule. And now he is in charge of overseeing it.

Pouthier passed along the following websites for those interested in learning more about the CSA Rule, or getting a rating for their own boat. There's plenty of time to do so, and it's fast and easy. And you DO NOT want to miss the epic 40th anniversary of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

Here's Chief Measurer Bastien Pouthier's advice on how to get started:

There is a page on website that is informative: caribbean-sailing.com/csa-rules/get-a-csa-rating

You can also have a look at this overview here

Then, get in touch with the measurer present on your island. The regatta Organizing Authority and website lists the measurers on each island. The measurer will be able to advise you whether the boat must be emptied or can be measured in racing trim and will explain what these terms mean.

www.heinekenregatta.com

Related Articles

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: Countdown underway
Over 130 entries competing in a half-dozen dedicated classes The countdown for the highly anticipated 40th running of the renowned St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is well and truly under way. The 2020 Anniversary Edition of the famed event is scheduled for March 5-8. Posted on 16 Feb
Crew slots available for Heineken Regatta
Spaces for sailors seeking berths for historic 40th edition of 'Serious Fun' The historic 40th running of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is rapidly approaching, and you can be there, competing in the blue waters of the Caribbean. What, no boat? No problem! Posted on 28 Jan
8th St. Maarten Regatta Beach Clean-Up
Over 60 kids collect 430 kilos of garbage This weekend, the St. Maarten Regatta organized the 8th Annual Beach Clean-Up which took place at Kim Sha Beach. Over 60 children participated in the event, collecting over 430 kilos of garbage from the beach. Posted on 22 Jan
New Race Director appointed for 40th edition
For van Dongen, sailing is in his blood. 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. Posted on 18 Jan
Grandmaster Flash to open Main Stage
At the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Organizers of the 40th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta are proud to announce that DJ Grandmaster Flash will open the Main Stage of the Regatta festival. Posted on 18 Jan
Flo Rida to headline St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Every year thousands of sailors and party goers make their way to the island Tramar Lacel Dillard (born September 16, 1979) known professionally as Flo Rida is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and composer from Carol City, Florida. Posted on 19 Oct 2019
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 2019
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 2019
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 2019
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 2019
Zhik 2020 AnneMarieRindom FOOTERGul 2019 CODEZERO EVO FooterVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 3