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Zhik 2024 March - LEADERBOARD

Battle of the maxi yachts at the 44th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 7 Oct 2023 08:22 PDT February 29 - March 3, 2024
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta prepares to welcome back Maxi Yacht Leopard3 and newcomer Galateia in 2024 for a 100-foot Maxi showdown © Laurens Morel

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta attracts an incredible Maxi class year over year, and the 44th edition of the event is set to be the best one yet! The legendary 4-day inshore event will take place February 29 - March 3, 2024, and the Regatta's elite big boat fleet is already set to return - and get bigger.

Galateia (Wally 100) has taken the lead, as the first Maxi to register for the 2024 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Galateia is a beautiful blend of the best of both worlds: cruiser-racer and a modern carbon fibre performance design with vintage design elements; the 2015 superyacht is a work of art under sail and on the race course. The Wally 100 recently took first in class in the 2023 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, which could be a prelude to their debut performance at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta in 2024.

Fellow top performing Maxi, Leopard 3 (Farr 100), has also confirmed interest in returning for the 2024 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, after competing in the 2022 event. Between the Wallycento and the Farr 100, there is guaranteed to be another epic Maxi showdown at the 2024 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta!

"We are looking forward to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta again in 2024 - fantastic wind and waves that Leopard loves," said Chris Sherlock, Leopard3's Race Manager.

For decades, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has been the choice regatta of Maxi yacht teams looking for "Serious Fun!" both on and off the water. The island's geography offers the perfect playing ground for the big boat fleet - from the iconic 30+ NM Around The Island Race with the record of 1 hour 19 minutes and 59 seconds set by Phaedo3, to long courses around neighboring islands and soaring volcanic rocks used as marks between St. Maarten, Anguilla and St. Barths.

In 2022, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta was cemented on the International Maxi Association calendar with the establishment of the IMA Caribbean Maxi Challenge Trophy. And again, for 2024 the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta sits among fellow top events in the region, the Caribbean 600 and Les Voiles de St. Barths, as one of the three qualifying events for this special trophy.

Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association said, "The Caribbean is one of the greatest places in the world to race and is on the bucket list for many of our members who haven't already experienced it. We're delighted that St Maarten Heineken Regatta will once again be one of the three events that comprises the IMA's Caribbean Maxi Challenge in 2024. Of course, among the Caribbean regattas, St. Maarten with its excellent race area and race management is not to be missed."

Locally classed as racing group CSA1, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta's big boat fleet usually includes Volvo Ocean Race boats amongst the world's top Maxi yachts. Bastien Pouthier, CSA Rating Officer, says this regional rating system is easy to implement with full technical support offered by the Caribbean Sailing Association across the region.

Bastien explains: "The Caribbean Sailing Association's CSA rating is consistently optimized and modernized for all of the yachts that race annually in the Caribbean. It caters for the conditions most typical for the region. During peak racing season, the well-established tradewinds that grace the leeward islands provide perfect racing conditions of around 15 knots consistently, which allows the Maxi racers to go full sail and full send!"

For the Volvo 65s, the additional racing and training time in the Caribbean undoubtedly paid off in the recent edition of The Ocean Race. Top performing VO65 teams at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, WindWhisper Racing Team and Team JAJO, ultimately took first and second place in The Ocean Race, respectively. In 2024, the Volvo 65 fleet will return, with Team JAJO and Team Austrian Ocean Racing already making plans to race, while most of the fleet is expected to again base out of St. Maarten for another winter season.

"From my experience, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is the best big boat race in the Caribbean for teams that want to have challenging races around the cans and a good time on the shore. I have competed 3 times with the V65 in this race and we have been able to race every day," said Jelmer van Beek, Skipper of Team JAJO Volvo 65.

Maxi yachts of all purviews choose St. Maarten as their Caribbean port of call due to the island's advanced marine services sector. Inside the protected Simpson Bay Lagoon, larger vessels can enjoy protected berthing conditions while still allowing deep water drafts of up to 18 ft. Within the Simpson Bay Lagoon, there are several marinas that can accommodate Maxis: Port de Plaisance Yacht Club, La Palapa Marina, and IGY Isle del Sol.

For any technical repairs or services required, St. Maarten offers top marine brands and service providers. Local sail lofts are official service agents for top international brands North Sails and Ullman Sails, offering world-class service and sail repair. There are also many specialist tradespeople on-island, including hydraulics and advanced systems technicians. For any logistical support, such as shipping in boat parts duty-free, yacht service agents BWA Yachting are conveniently located at IGY and available for any further assistance required by visiting Maxi yachts.

Calling all Maxis: register now for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - FEB 29 - MAR 3, 2024! New and returning Maxi teams interested in basing out of St. Maarten for the season, or exploring options for 5-star marinas, accommodations, and island amenities during your stay, are welcome to get in touch with the Regatta team for support. Start planning your stay and register today: www.heinekenregatta.com

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