On the penultimate day of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, the competitors enjoyed truly gorgeous conditions. Bright sunshine and 15-20 knots of trade winds with a relatively flat sea state.
The CSA Classes raced outside Marigot Bay with the wind funneling down the mountainous shoreline, a perfect windward leeward course was set for some epic racing in turquoise blue water. The remainder of the fleet enjoyed a superb playground, flat water, and a tactical race course, taking in the lifts and accelerating zones of the bays along the south coast.
In Multihull 1, St. Maarten’s 16 metre Catamaran Arawak, skippered by Rodney Williams, leads the class by a single point ahead of Shaun Carroll’s Modified Australian Sea Cart Morticia. Eric Clement’s Oceanic 40 Johnny Be Good is in third. Morticia was shipped all the way from Australia to compete in the Caribbean. The Morticia crew are all from Australia and race the radical trimaran back home, in races as long as 400 miles.
“We have come a long way to take part and we are delighted to be here.” commented helmsman Dale Mitchell. “We had really good breeze in the Round St. Maarten Race yesterday but today was even more exciting. Just flying the middle hull we were hitting some big numbers and the sea state was a lot shorter, and the noise on board was loud to say the least. The helm is probably the easiest job on the boat. The real control comes from the trimmers; when you are creating that much apparent wind, trimming the sails is the key. We are really enjoying the regatta, when we are on the water we take it very seriously but we love the parties as well. Tomorrow, we know that Arawak will be well sailed and pushing us hard, so we don’t want to leave anything out on the water, we will be giving it our all.”
Despite wins today for Italian Swan 100 Muzuni, skippered by Miquel Huma, and Kip Curren’s American Swan 68 Simple Harmony. The class leader is St. Maarten Nico Cortlever’s x-612 Nix. Just a point behind in the standings is Simple Harmony. Swan 100 Varsovie, skippered by Tomek Ulatowski, is in third place, ahead on countback from Tony McBride’s Antiguan Farr 65 Spirit of Juno.
Lionel Pean’s French Volvo 70 SFS II, made it three wins in a row today. Przemyslaw Tarnacki’s Lithuanian Volvo 60 Ambersail and Chris Stanmore-Major’s Whitbread Canadian 60 Challenger, picked up a second and a third respectively today. SFS II looks pretty much on course to take the class but with no discard in the regatta, the French team will not be taking their foot of the gas tomorrow.
Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster was beaten into second place in the first race of the day by Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 PYR EH01. However, Scarlet Oyster came back to win the following two races to stamp their authority on the class. Jack Desmond’s crew racing Swan 48 Affinity, put in three solid races today, and looks like the only threat to Scarlet Oyster. PYR EH01 moved up to third after a great day on the water.
Sergio Sagramoso’s Puerto Rican Melges 32 Lazy Dog, lit the blue touch paper today scoring three straight bullets to open up a four-point lead in the class. Sir Richard Matthews Humphreys 39 Oystercatcher XXXI scored three second place finishes today to remain in touch with the leader. Bernie Evan Wong’s Antiguan RP37 Taz, is third.
American J/122 El Ocaso continued their winning ways in a highly competitive class posting two bullets. However, the team faltered on the last race of the day, scoring a fourth. El Ocaso still leads the class, but Sam Talbot’s J/111 Spike is just a point adrift in second. Philippe Charret’s Guadeloupian A40 Sonadio III is third.
Sir Robbie Ferron’s J/39 Micron 99 put in a great shift today, scoring a one – one – three elevating the team to the top of the class. Sir Bobby Velasquez’s Beneteau 45 L’Esperance scored three podium finishes, including a win in the last race to move up to third, just a point ahead of Sir Hugh Bailey’s Antiguan Farr 45 Rebel. The battle between the three musketeers will conclude tomorrow.
Peter Lewis’ Bajan J/105 Whistler scored a one – two – six today to hold a slender lead from Dave Cullen’s J/109 Pocket Rocket from St. Barth. Rob Butler’s Canadian J/88 Touch2Play Racing is in third just a point ahead of Jordan Mindich’s American J/105 Solstice. Raymond Magras’ Dufour 34 Speedy Nemo from St. Barth, had a terrific day on the water scoring two wins to finish the day in fourth.
Rick Gormley’s Antigua First 38 Elethea scored three podium finishes including a win in the last race to take the lead in the class but only on countback. Two bullets and a second has lifted Tanner and Shari Jones’ Antigua J/35 Caribbean Alliance Insurance, into second. Sandy Mares First 35 Cricket had another good day on the water to claim third in class.
The pocket rockets were flying through Marigot Bay today. Andrea Scarabelli’s Gill Race Team scored a one – two – one to open up a four-point lead over Frits Bus’ Team Island Water World. GFA Caraibes from Martinique is third.
Despite being the class being designed for teams new to racing, where fun is just as important as racing, the Lottery Class is proving to be extremely competitive. Gordon Robb’s Holiday 33 Caribella, is the class leader but only on countback from Hank Schmitt’s Swan 48 Avocation. Canadian Catalina 470 Silhouette, skippered by Kelly Brown won today’s race to move up to third, just ahead of John Moore’s American Oceanis 510 Panache II.
“I usually race in the CSA classes with another boat but I decided to take the young kids from the Sint Maarten YC Academy and give them the opportunity to race in the regatta.” commented Gordon Robb. “Hank Schmitt came up with the idea of a ‘fun class’ a while back and Hank is always giving people a chance to sail with him. We all started sailing like that, these days I am old, so is the boat and the sails but she is giving young kids a chance to get into the sport’.
The stage at Kim Sha Beach will spring into life tonight with top acts entertaining thousands of part revelers at one of the biggest Saturday nights in the island’s calendar. One of the Caribbean’s best known bands, Asher Otto and Itchy Feet will be performing and as the main attraction Collie Buddz from Bermuda will hit the stage.
Racing at the 37th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will conclude tomorrow. For full results and more information visit website.
by Louay Habib