The 2008 St.Maarten Heineken Regatta was not only a success with regards to record breaking entries and huge crowds at the on shore venues, but it was also a success for one local child. On the 2008 online entry form, participants were able to make a donation to the youth sailing program of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, organizers of the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta. This was the first time the event made the plea to fellow sailors to help make a difference in the lives of the youth sailors on St.Maarten.
The end result of that online donation request was the chance for the Sint Maarten Yacht Club to sponsor one local child to have sailing lessons for an entire year! Donations were made by participants from all over the world, including France, St.Maarten, England, Holland and the USA making this a truly international effort.
Eight year old Zack Sabaroche was the ideal candidate, and according to Zach’s mother, “He is so excited about sailing on the Optis, that he comes home after each lesson and tells his father what he should be doing.” Zach’s father works for a local Marina running a tender service.
“He even talks about it at school so much that his teacher called home to learn more about the program because so many fellow students were excited about it after hearing Zach talk.” One classmate was immediately interested but after finding out he needed to be able to swim first, vowed to pass his swimming lessons and get his diploma just so he can take sailing lessons.
The success of this program is extremely important to the Sint Maarten Yacht Club whose goal is to increase sailing on the island of St.Maarten. For the 2009 St.Maarten Heineken Regatta, which is to take place March 5 to 8, we are once again allowing all entrants to check the donation box and make a change in the life of a local child. In 2009, we aim to triple our success and be able to add three children into the program.
If you are planning to participate in the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta, please take a moment to think of how you feel when you’re out there racing against the best, making that tack, or the anticipation that builds as you wait for the start horn. Then check that donation box and give that gift to a young aspiring sailor who may not have the chance to feel the way you do without this program.
For more information on how to enter the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta this March, go to www.heinekenregatta.com.
Report submitted by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta