Friday, March 3, 2017

St Maarten Heineken Regatta Preview

Heineken race committee (Phillipsburg, St Maarten)- The first of the signature Caribbean winter regattas will be taking place from March 2nd to 5th off the port of Phillipsburg, St Maarten in the Dutch Antilles.  Over 100 yachts will be competing in the CSA rating classes; J/Teams are experiencing a significant uptick in participation in four CSA classes.  It is not altogether surprising that attendance is up across the board as the regatta organizers have done an amazing job to ensure that on-water sailing is a challenge for all and, just as importantly, the onshore social festivities are simply off-the-charts!  Many of the Caribbean’s top musicians are featured in evening concerts sponsored by HEINEKEN.

J122 sailing CaribbeanYou have to look no further than the line-up of top J/Teams in CSA 2 Racing class to find the crème-de-la-crème in the Caribbean circuit.  With two J/122s, J/120s and a top J/111, the racing will be fast & furious amongst these alpha dogs on the random course circuits offshore.  Coming back to hopefully defend a class win in previous years is the J/122 EL OCASO, this time skippered by Bob Hillier and friends from the USA.  Their stablemate, the J/122 LIQUID will feature her owner/skipper Pamala Baldwin from Antigua YC.  Amongst the J/120s, local Ben Jelic will be guiding JAGUAR around the track in hopes of maintaining pace with the J/122s.  Performance Yacht Racing UK has chartered the J/120 SUNSET with a mixed team from the United Kingdom.  Finally, the potential giant-killer in the class is one of the smaller boats, Sam Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE- a team with J/111 Worlds experience and a team that has learned how to sail their boat much faster.

While the competition amongst the J/crews in CSA 2 Racing class will be ferocious, it looks like Robbie Ferron’s beautifully restored J/39 MICRON will have CSA 4 Racing class all to themselves to fight for J/Boat honors!

Like their colleagues in CSA 2 Racing, the CSA 5 Racing Class looks to be loaded with talent.  Six J/crews will be charging the starting line and mark roundings hard to maintain a fine edge over their friendly foes.  At the top of the class are two J/109s from the island of St Barths, including David Cullen’s POCKET ROCKET and Sophie Olivaud’s ALBACOR IV.  Chasing them hard will be three J/105s, all sailed by top-notch crews from the Americas and the Caribbean.  It’s a formidable cast in the 105s alone; all of them have won something in either J/105 one-design class racing or offshore!  That ensemble includes VUJA DE (Remoc Van Dortmondt from Curacao), WHISTLER (Peter Lewis from Georgetown, Barbados), and SOLSTICE (Jordan Mindich from Long Island Sound, New York).  The real sleeper in this class will be Rob Butler’s J/88 TOUCH2PLAY RACING from Ontario, Canada (they are a top 3 team on the J/88 national one-design racing circuit).

Finally, in CSA 6 Racing Class, one of the Caribbean’s most famous 30-footers has to be the Antiguan crew on the J/30 BLUE PETER/ CARIBBEAN ALLIANCE INSURANCE- she will be skippered Shari & Tanner.  Over time, this J/30 has won or placed in her class over a dozen times in events like Antigua Sailing Week and Heineken St Maarten!  For more Heineken St Maarten Regatta information Add to Flipboard Magazine.