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Jumping ships at the 42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 24 Feb 2022 11:07 PST 3-6 March 2022
Team Atlas Ocean Racing headed out with a VO60, Esprit de Corps III, in the 2020 Regatta, and returns in 2022 with a Vo70, Il Mostro © Laurens Morel

Just one week to go until the 42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta welcomes a fleet of over 100 boats to race March 3-6, 2022. This year, a number of sailors are jumping ships — all are ready to take their racing experiences to the next level!

While most of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet welcomes back the same teams from the 2020 edition, one team has made a major upgrade in the years since the last Regatta. Canadian team Atlas Ocean Racing has moved from a VO60 to the legendary VO70 Il Mostro. A single digit brings a lot of change! Not only ten more feet of waterline, but many more performance systems, such as a canting keel, make this a major upgrade for the team.

"Going from the Volvo 60 to 70 is offering us a great opportunity to experience the evolution that top racers went through in 2005-8. It also feels tremendous to sail a boat we dreamt about watching on TV for many years," said Gilles Barbot, Skipper of Il Mostro - Atlas Ocean Racing.

From monohulls to multihulls, there are quite a few shifts going on in the fleet. The newly established Diam 24 fleet has shaken up the multihull class on the island, with local restaurateur Erick Clement leaving his custom Open 40 trimaran, Johnny Be Good, to take on match racing against friends on the Diams. In the 2015 Regatta, Johnny Be Good won Multihull 2, and now this custom trimaran will have another shot of glory under a new owner and name, Chaud Patate.

Pierre Atlier, former crew member of Clement onboard Johnny Be Good, is now the competition. Atlier races his own Diam 24 and encourages more multihull enthusiasts to join them. "Going to One Design was the only way for our group of friends to settle our post-racing debates. We know exactly who sailed the best that day, and we become better sailors when your skill, not the boat, makes the difference," shared Atlier.

Atlier also has the potential to jump ships, using friendly competitor Sylvain Corroy's Diam 24 to make Atlier's own Diam "Cry Baby" available for charter at . Meanwhile, Corroy is crossing over to monohulls to match race Class 40s onboard Olivier Delrieu's Vicitan. This is Delrieu's first St. Maarten Heineken Regatta with his Class 40 Vicitan, having just completed the Transat Jacques Vabre and RORC Caribbean 600, and he will certainly be tapping into crew mate Corroy's local knowledge.

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta welcomes back team Selika, whose name and crew have remained the same, but have upgraded from a Catana 65 to an Ocean Explorer 72. The Selika Catana 65 won Multihull 2 in the 2017 Regatta, and Andrew Bland's team is back to put their new multihull to the test. The new Selika is an electric catamaran, hull no. 1 of the Ocean Explorer 72 from Finland.

Watch these sailors on their new pursuits as the fleet meets in Simpson Bay on March 3, 2022 for the start of the 42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta! Follow @stmaartenheinekenregatta on Instagram and Facebook for all of the live action on the water.

If you haven't secured a boat, but you are ready to jump onboard, there are still a few opportunities to race in this year's St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Team charters are available via sail operators, such as Ocean Racers' Pogo 12.50, Pierre Atlier's Diam 24 Cry Baby, and a selection of performance racers with LV Yachting. Charter operators can provide logistical support, as well as training and coaching for teams to get the most out of the Regatta.

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