Paul Miller, Racing Director for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, spoke about the tweaks and changes to the 37th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including free entry for the Gill Commodore’s Cup, sensational Beach Cat packages including very attractive shipping costs from Europe and a novel finale to the Caribbean’s most popular regatta.
“The format of racing at last year’s event was a great success and very popular with the participants. We found that we could easily manage the four course areas and we will be staying with that format for 2017.” commented Paul Miller. “There are a couple of minor tweaks with the High Performance Multihulls getting additional races, conditions permitting. For all classes we have taken into account more contingencies, if the weather is unfavorable, we have new plans to shift course areas around.
Gill Commodore’s Cup – March 2, 2017
This will be the eighth year for Gill North America as partners for the Gill Commodore’s Cup, which provides a sizzling one-day regatta, prior to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The only change this year is effectively free entry. Any yacht that is entered for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta can enter the Gill Commodore’s Cup without any additional entry fee. Yachts that want to just enter the Gill Commodore’s Cup are also welcome for a small entry fee.
The Gill Commodore’s Cup has evolved over the years, originally it was regarded as a practice day. Now it is really seen as a stand-alone event and the free entry is designed to get everybody to come out and enjoy the fun. It’s rapid fire, you go out have three good windward leeward races bang – bang – bang. It’s like going out onto the firing range and testing your team and your equipment but its popularity means that it is in the top five of all the Caribbean regattas. In terms of number of competitors, it has just got more and more popular each year.
Beach Cat Class – March 2-5, 2017
A growing class which is being actively encouraged at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is the Beach Cats, we are expecting French F18s and also Dutch NACRA’s. Subject to numbers we will have separate prizes for each class and an overall prize under the Texel Rating System.The Beach Cats have a separate prize for the Gill Commodore’s Cup but those races count towards the overall regatta series, which will be a mixture of short races and long coastal, including the Round St. Maarten if the conditions are right.
The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is offering amazing packages to help the Beach Cat Class grow. The class is supported by Le Beach Resort and Le Sand Restaurant, providing a secure area for the boats overnight and special discounts on room rates. We have also organised preferential shipping rates for Beach Cats. We have a Northern European route calling at six ports, including Rotterdam and Le Havre and a Southern European route starting in the Mediterranean.
In fact there are special deals for all competitors at St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, with discounts at many hotels and attractive shipping deals via CMA CGM for any participating team.
St. Maarten Heineken Star – Monday March 6, 2017
The St. Maarten Heineken Star event is an extension of the après-sail party introduced last year. Everybody should plan to stay on the day after prize giving, for a great send off at the end of the regatta. Ten winners from selected classes will be invited to take part in the St. Maarten Heineken Star event, there will be the winners from the big show boat classes and also Bareboat Overall. Each invited team will nominate a crew member to take control of a remote control Laser for a beach dust-up at Le Sand Restaurant in Nettle Bay. The boats are straight out of the box and absolutely identical. Each sailor gets an hour to practice and the winner is the first ever Heineken Star.
Spectators for the St. Maarten Heineken Star event will be very welcome. The racing will take place just off Le Sand – Nettle Bay, and the prize-giving and private Caribbean BBQ party will be at Le Beach Resort. We are working on a very special prize to be announced sometime soon!”
by Louay Habib