St. Maarten: The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has been a Caribbean favorite for almost four decades, and this year’s 38th edition, scheduled for March 1-4, will prove no exception to the rule. Already, 75 boats representing 22 countries have registered to race in the island of St. Maarten’s first major event since Hurricane Irma passed through in September. With three weeks to go, organizers have ensured that the parties and entertainment will continue to be legendary as they complement four days of serious on-the-water competition.
The world-class St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is known for attracting a largely international fleet of maxi, monohull and multihull boats. This year’s roster is comprised of teams coming mostly from North America, South America, Europe and Australia.
Sir Richard Matthews will skipper his 42-foot Judel Vrolijk designed Power of Love to represent one of ten UK-based teams competing.
“People keep coming back to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, because it’s good competition and a great place to race,” said Matthews who first raced in the event over 25 years ago. His team won its class last year, racing his Humphreys 39 Oystercatcher XXX1. “We’ve done quite a lot of sailing in the Caribbean, and I have had 31 race boats under the Oystercatcher name, but this year we will be racing a new boat coming down from America, which is slightly larger than what we competed in last year. We’re very competitive, but at the same time we sail for fun.”
The regatta, kicks off Thursday, March 1 with the separately scored Gill’s Commodores Cup. On Friday, the fleet embarks on the event’s 26-nautical mile Around the Island Race before taking on a series of windward-leeward races on Saturday and a single coastal race on Sunday. Each day of racing is rounded out with shoreside entertainment from the “Regatta Village” located at Princess Port de Plaisance Resort and Casino and the Yacht Club at Port de Plaisance (across from race host St. Maarten Yacht Club.