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Chartering a yacht at the 44th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 26 Oct 2023 05:16 PDT February 29 - March 3, 2024
There was a lot of action at the leeward mark, with all classes converging, and the Maxi fleet coming in hot on day 2 of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta © Laurens Morel

Every March, St. Maarten welcomes thousands of sailors from around the world to the island for the legendary St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. This year, a record number of race charters are available for serious teams to fly in for some "Serious Fun!" competition and entertainment for the 44th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: February 29 - March 3, 2024.

Bareboat charters had historically been the only way for visiting international sailors to enjoy racing in the Caribbean without bringing your own boat. Now, more performance yacht owners and charter organizations are offering bespoke race charters for teams in search of different yachts that fit their team needs and race goals. From Melges to Volvo Ocean Race boats, teams can choose from a familiar fleet or charter their dream boat to race with, and against, the Pros.?

Marcos Weinstein and crew chartered a familiar J120, J-Aguar, which was the perfect fit for his team. After 20 years racing on J120s, racing one in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta was an easy transition. Marcos' team came from all over the US to race in the 2023 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, and while they all left extremely happy, they also left with some unfinished business. Marcos Weinstein reflected on the experience and confirmed their return onboard J-Aguar: "Very fun and a really great venue for racing. Looking forward to 2024 for another shot at the Podium."

Another American crew, which chartered Salona 45 Panacea X in the 2023 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and won in their class, raced with a whole lot of heart and are set to race again in 2024. At the 2023 Regatta, Gary Swain shared his incredible story of receiving a life-saving heart transplant in August 2021. Gary was delighted to be racing with his team, and his "Donate Life" cause flag flew proudly over the team's stacking winners' pennants through the week. The team have high spirits and aspirations for 2024, Gary shared, "We are aiming to take 1st overall in our class, but want to step it up and reach for the Heineken Cup next year! Given our performance last year, we feel that it's definitely within reach!"

Many consider the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta to be a bucket list event, but that does not mean you should only do it once. In 1999, Alan Paris and his crew chartered a Henderson 30 for the 19th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Twenty years later in 2019, the team celebrated their own "reunion regatta," and joined the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta by chartering another performance racer, a Pogo 12.50 with Ocean Racers. Alan and his crew enjoyed themselves so much, they decided to not wait for another 20 years for their next reunion regatta - and will come back for the 2024 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, this time Alan will bring his own boat: Learning to Fly, a J90!

Pogo 12.50 Hermes and many other race charters are also returning for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, and are available for team charter in 2024. Race teams and agencies such as Ocean Racers, LV Yachting, Global Yacht Racing, OnDeck and Barefoot Charters offer a variety of performance boats for all team sizes and skill levels. Most race charters come with a professional skipper and training days to provide performance coaching for visiting teams. Those interested in performance race charters can find out more about the boats available on the Regatta website.

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta welcomes boats and teams of all sizes, and offers support for visiting sailors from around the world to find the best boat for their crew. Longtime Regatta sponsor Sunsail has provided turnkey bareboat charters to families, friends, and corporate teams from around the world to race in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta for decades. A Sunsail race charter is a perfect way to dial up the typical sailing holiday, by adding some friendly competition during the day and organized events for even more fun by night.

For those interested in one-design racing, the Sunsail fleet offers well-matched non-spinnaker classes, while the race committee designs dedicated courses for the fleet. The bareboat class is always incredibly international, welcoming enthusiastic sailors from Greece, Canada, Australia, Poland and beyond. Sunsail charters for the 2024 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta are now 90% reserved, so do not delay in booking your boat!

The Notice of Race (NOR) for the 44th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is available online through race management system Yacht Scoring. Registration, NOR, and the growing scratch sheet featuring teams from around the world can be found there. Now is prime time to start planning your stay and booking travel, and the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is here to help. More information on recommended hotels and preparing for your visit to the island can be found on the Regatta website.

Follow the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta on Facebook and Instagram for more Regatta news and updates in the lead up to the 44th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: February 29 - March 3, 2024!

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