In breeze that built steadily as the day progressed, and with plenty of classes recording a pair of competitions in perfect Caribbean sailing conditions, the race continued today with the traditional Saturday point-to-point contest to Marigot in the 33rd edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. After the morning’s competing, for the first time ever, the race committee conducted an afternoon race for the 72 boats participating in the five Bareboat classes. The CSA 2-8 divisions also sailed a second windward-leeward race in the Anguilla Channel.
The fleet’s larger yachts-in CSA 1, and Multihull 1 and 2-sailed a single race today, an epic 36-nautical mile affair that took the sailors on a counterclockwise route around the island, leaving Tintamarre to port and embarking on a long reach to Blowing Rock off Anguilla before returning to the finish line off Marigot.
All three starts for the big boats were colorful and spectacular. In Multihull 1, the Gunboat Elvis executed a picture perfect maneuver, rolling sister-ship Panthera to leeward as if she were standing still to take an early and substantial lead. In Multihull 2, Richard Woodridge’s slick trimaran Triple Jack and Nils Erickson’s fast cat Soma both rocketed off the line, resuming the close duel that began on Day 1 of the event. And in CSA 1, all seven Grand Prix monohulls-a group that included the Swan 100 superyacht Varsovie; the 76-foot yacht Idea; and the Vendee Globe Open 60 yacht Energa-were all on top of their respective games, hitting the line on time and with considerable pace.
The other CSA classes sailed a 16-nautical mile race from a starting line off Cole Bay to a finish off Marigot, followed by the afternoon round-the-buoys race.
On the “B Circle” for Bareboats, Multihull classes 3-5, and the Lottery Class, the morning race was a straightforward 8.5 nautical mile sprint from a starting line south of Simpson Bay to Marigot. After lunch, the Bareboats reassembled for another 8-nautical mile race along the western shore of St. Maarten.
The top Bareboats were extremely well sailed, with tight racing and sound tactics. Do not tell these crews they are charter sailors, and not full-fledged, competitive racing sailors. The crew of Extra Cold looked “extra cool” in their orange uniforms. The all-women crews aboard Dutch @tack and Something Hot showed fine form running wing and wing down the coast of St. Maarten in close-quarters racing during the morning race. And Rom Gessel, the skipper of the Bareboat 2 entrant Neerlands Glorie, did a fine job summing up the attitude prevalent among many of the Bareboat racers when the day was over.
“We had one good race and one not-so-good race today,” said Gessel. “We sail with our friends, two are very good sailors, two are pretty good sailors, and the rest of the crew has not sailed much before. But they bring the fun, and that’s why we come to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. There is incredible competition in the bareboat classes, some very good teams. It’s difficult to win. But it is always fun. And that is why we are here, and why we come back.”
When the results were tallied today, there were surprises across the fleet. In CSA 1, Daniel Stump’s charter yacht Lupa of London was today’s winner, nipping Friday’s top boat, Jan Rupert’s Tripp 75 sailing yacht Blackbird. With three points apiece, Sunday’s race in the big-boat class will be a winner-take-all showdown.
In Multihull 1, Elvis parlayed the great start to a second-straight victory. But Multihull 2 remains wide open after Soma avenged her second-place finish on Friday with a win today. Triple Jack took second, setting up another potential Sunday duel for all the marbles.
In CSA 2, James Blackmore’s Swan 53, Music, rocketed to the top of the leader board by virtue of a pair of bullets-first-place finishes-on Saturday. CSA 3 is wide open: Greg Slyngstad’s J/125 sailing yacht Hamachi, has yet to win a race, but holds the lead thanks to a consistent series with no finish higher than sixth. When it comes to consistency, however, the crew of Han deBruyn Kops’s Hanse 47, TeamHan, is the very definition of the word-in three CSA 4 races so far, they’ve won all of them.
Alain Riouallec’s Bachi-Bouzouk, a Sigma 41, was twice a winner on Saturday and now holds a strong lead in CSA 5. The same goes for Lawrence Aqui’s Wild T’ing, a Dufour 40, a two-time winner Saturday in CSA 6. With a 2-1 score today, Raphael Magras’s X-Yachts 34 yacht Maelia, leads CSA 7. And Mark Plaxton’s Melges 32, Team INTAC, has yet to lose a race thus far, and is riding high in CSA 8. The battle between the Melges 24 will continue tomorrow, with Team Island Water World taking the lead after today’s races, and Team Budget Marine/Gill close behind them with only one point difference.
For the second straight day, Petr Kochnev’s Lagoon 500, Belisima, won Multihull 3 to take a commanding lead. In Multihull 4, the Belize 43 yacht Melisande, won today’s race, but is second overall behind the Outremere, Teora, which had registered a 1-2 in racing through Saturday. The Lottery Class leader remains Marc Perron’s Jeanneau Sunfast 43, which followed up Friday’s win with another on Saturday.
Among the charter fleets, following Saturday’s racing the class leaders included Team Yacht Club Wamel Mohne (Bareboat 3), Team Ukraine 2 (Bareboat 4), and KHS&S (Bareboat 5). Results for the Bareboat 1 and 2 fleets were not immediately available on Saturday night, as there were protests pending in both divsions: check the event website for updates on these classes.
For over three decades, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has showcased the top boats and sailing in the Caribbean, and has become equally famous for its world-class slate of parties and musical entertainment. Now recognized by sailors around the planet as one of the sailing world’s best regattas, each year the event lives up to its worthy motto: Serious Fun.