With just months to go before the start of the 43rd edition of the St Maarten Heineken Regatta, many race teams are now finalizing their arrangements to attend this bucket-list event.
Breaking news from the Volvo fleet confirms that at least three VO65s will be taking part in the 2023 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Team JAJO, supported by Janssen de Jong with 28 year old Jelmer van Beek from The Netherlands on the helm, will be competing against fellow Dutch skipper Gerwin Jansen on Team Austrian Ocean Racing, with Ambersail II from Lithuania also now committing to race again in the Maxi class.
In the 2022 edition, the big boat class had incredibly close competition between four VO65s and four VO70s, plus two custom Maxis Botin 85 Deep Blue and Farr 100 Leopard 3. There are at least two VO70s slated to return in 2023, including I LOVE POLAND, helmed by Grzegorz Baranowski.
I LOVE POLAND will be back to defend their reign as 2022 IMA Caribbean Maxi Challenge champions, a separate trophy for Maxi yachts based on collective scores from three top Caribbean events, for which the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is proudly one of them. In the 2022 Regatta I LOVE POLAND finished third in class, but their consistent top performance across all events secured their position as IMA Caribbean Maxi Challenge winners overall.¨
Three VO65s are confirmed to return for the 2023 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: Team Austrian Ocean Racing, Team JAJO, and Ambersail II © Laurens Morel
Team navigator Konrad Lipski shared his reflections, “We already took part in three editions of St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, showing that we enjoyed the race and the atmosphere. In 2022, we had a different race course each day. It required smart navigation, tactics, and excellent crew work to handle all sail changes. All courses were challenging, but that’s what makes us better sailors. We hope to repeat this scenario in 2023 with a better final result.”
Third place winners in 2022 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta CSA1, I LOVE POLAND, return to the Regatta to improve their overall results, and defend their reign as 2022 IMA Maxi Challenge Champions – photo © Laurens Morel
Race organizers have made it their mission to design unique courses that are best fit for these ocean racing machines. Whether it be a sprint to neighboring islands Anguilla or St. Barths, or the crowd-favorite Round the Island Race, the long courses are well-suited for these maxi boats. In 2022, the Race Committee threw in a navigator’s challenge, which allowed the Maxi boats to decide if they would go above or below St. Maarten on a race back from St. Barths – the fleet split and there were certainly big winners and losers in this navigational choice.
The international regatta team Regaty.pl, who chartered VO65 Sailing Poland in 2022 and won first in class, is coming back again; but this time on VO70 HYPR to match-race fellow Polish competitors. Team manager Rafal Kaplar says that St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is one of the international events most admired by Polish sailors, which explains why they keep coming back.
Kaplar reflects: “There is a long story behind our participation in the race, I guess it was 2012 when we first arrived there onboard Quokka, a Grand Soleil rented from Global Yacht Racing and taking 3rd place in our class.” Since then, Polish crews have won the regatta many times, and they keep coming back to enjoy the “Serious Fun!” both on and off the water.
The international team from Regaty.pl, who won CSA1 in 2022, will return on a bigger Maxi — VO70 HYPR – photo © Laurens Morel
Kaplar continues, “The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta guarantees fantastic racing in a lovely place. It’s also great for the families of our sailors, which combined with the amazing evening entertainment, creates the unrivaled atmosphere of the regatta. We love Poland, and Poland loves St.Maarten Heineken Regatta!”
When the on-the-water action is over, the fun continues on shore with teams from all classes gathering in the race village at Port de Plaisance for daily prize-giving and apres-sail libations from top sponsors Heineken, Veuve Clicquot and Titos Vodka. Teams docked at Yacht Club Port de Plaisance get front row seats to all of the action: nightly entertainment, hot food, cool bars and great company. Special rates on docking at Yacht Club Port de Plaisance are offered for registered boats on a first-come, first-serve, so be sure to register now for the 43rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta on Yachtscoring.com.
Don’t have a boat? Don’t fret! There are many opportunities to get in on the action with race charters available through OnDeck, LV Yachting, Global Yacht Racing and Ocean Racers. Individual berths and team charters are still available for the Volvo fleet; contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, respectively, to learn more.
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Celebrating 43 years, this Regatta just keeps getting better, four days of world-class racing with some of the world’s most seasoned sailors, hailing from over 35 countries. This is genuinely a Regatta for everyone, including professional teams sailing Maxis, Monohulls, and Performance Multihulls to holiday-makers on chartered Bareboats to live-aboard families cruising the Caribbean. Crystal clear waters and cooling northeast trade winds give the pristine conditions for spectacular racing just off the coast of St. Maarten. This event is your bucket list must-do! Come and enjoy life in the Caribbean; come for some Serious Fun from March 2-5, 2023!
For complete information on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including results, photos, videos, party and band information, and much, much more, visit heinekenregatta.com