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St. Maarten Heineken Regatta summary

The sustainable bar has been packed up and stored for next year, iconic green Heineken bottles are on their way to recycling, and teams are already heading back home by air and sail. After some time for recovery from an epic 42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, we reflect on who and what made this edition such a great success.

This year, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has been included as part of the newly established International Maxi Association (IMA) Caribbean Maxi Challenge, one of four Caribbean-based events where Maxis can compete for points towards the newly established series. Maxis Deep Blue (Botin 85) and Leopard3 (Farr100) led the pack of Volvo 65s & 70s in a highly competitive CSA1 class.

Bastien Pouthier, Chief Measurer of the CSA rating rule, was invited onto Deep Blue for an experience of a lifetime, racing around St. Maarten on a full-on 85″ racing machine. “What a day on the water, fantastic design, construction and racing team!” shared Bastien.

 Close racing between Maxis Leopard3 and Deep Blue means results all come down to the rating rule, which is currently being revised by CSA to better serve these modern designs © Laurens Morel

The invitation was extended to Bastien for him to get an in-depth understanding and feel for the new Maxi, and how the CSA rating system can evolve to better serve advanced designs that are making their way down to the Caribbean. The CSA rating rule was developed in the early 60s and upgraded season after season for the typical boats racing in the Caribbean. This was mostly displacement boats of similar sizes and construction, with the rules designed specifically for Caribbean waters and conditions. As the visiting fleets become more advanced, so must the CSA rating rule; and the CSA has released a full report regarding the approach and strategy for the future.

“Our team of measurers is continuously looking for ways to improve fair racing in our waters and our conditions, following boat designs and construction evolutions. We have identified unfair treatment of very deep fixed keels against canting keels,” said Bastien. “Corrected time results in CSA 1 at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 2022 do not reflect the true performance of the boats on the water.”

Despite their rating not reflecting their overall performance, Deep Blue, who grabbed line honors across the Regatta, still won the trophy for “Fastest Monohull Spinnaker around the Island”. Rob MacMillan, tactician onboard Deep Blue, shared with IMA his thoughts on the event: “It is one of our favourite events in the Caribbean – big wind, blue water, bright skies. There is a good energy with the mix between bareboats and maxis. Sailing in a 10-boat class is always fun with boats this big. This is a good event for more maxis to come do.”

The mix between boats of all shapes and sizes is one of the key features that make St. Maarten Heineken Regatta so special. In the past, all of these sailors and locals would congregate for legendary concerts each night after racing, but this year was a little different. In following local governmental guidelines, a smaller-scale race village was constructed alongside the docks at Port de Plaisance, which offered sailors an intimate post-race experience. The adaptation was a major hit — bar-height tables placed over Marina bollards and a 360-degree stage front and center created greater camaraderie and casual catch-ups between teams in a quintessentially nautical ambiance.

This year's race village was an intimate and unique set up, alongside the docks at Port de Plaisance, allowing sailors to hop off their boats and right into the party! - photo © We Are SXM
This year’s race village was an intimate and unique set up, alongside the docks at Port de Plaisance, allowing sailors to hop off their boats and right into the party! – photo © We Are SXM

“After 2 years of tough times keeping us from hosting the event, the sailors and our Regatta team alike were beyond thrilled to once again have some “Serious Fun!” together,” shared Regatta Director Michele Korteweg. “The sailors were great in adhering to local health guidelines, and our team were absolute stars in managing all of the additional logistics required. The result was one of the best St. Maarten Heineken Regattas in our history, and we look forward to continuing the momentum for the 43rd edition!”

“The well oiled machine that makes this event work are the volunteers, who simply want to be part of the event and bring their own bits of experience and knowledge with them,” continued Michele. Around 100 volunteers join us across the week, from building the regatta village to running race committee, traveling from all around the world— Canada, US, Europe and the Caribbean. Some have been volunteering for 20+ years, but we also welcomed new additions to our family this year, who have been recruited by returning volunteers. People take their vacation especially this week to volunteer for the Regatta and enjoy all of the excitement that it brings to the island. Big thanks to our team of volunteers — we couldn’t do it without you!! Those interested in joining our team of volunteers in 2023 can sign up on our website.

The 43rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will take place March 2-5, 2023. From maxi monohulls to pocket performance trimarans, pro sailors to friends and families in bareboats, all are welcome to join us for the “Serious Fun!” Stay tuned for more updates and stories from the Regatta, and be sure to register to join us in 2023!

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

Celebrating 42 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:

by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

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