A strong representation of the best sailors on the island in very challenging conditions made the Necol Regatta February 9 & 10 an outstanding event on the Sint Maarten Sailing Calendar. Frits Bus and his team of Rien Korteknie and Garth Steyn dominated on points, but right behind them a high quality group of sailors competed very closely. Second place went to the North Sails team led by Ernst Looser with Andrea Scarabelli helming. Luc Knol took third from Bernard Sillem after the latter lost a race by missing a buoy.
The winds for this event presented extreme challenges. Whilst many regattas have their winds described as "variable,” in this instance the "variable" needs further elaboration. Wind speeds varied from zero to 25 knots and significant is that this on many occasions occurred in just a few seconds causing crews to have to react very quickly or suffer broaches. This also meant that in order to be competitive, crews had to constantly adjust their trim to the rapid changing conditions.
The race was sponsored by Necol, the marine technology company that is a leading force in the servicing of electronics on larger and smaller yachts. Principal of Necol Andrew Rapley also served as race officer for the event. At the prize giving ceremony after the event, winner Frits Bus expressed the wish that the yacht club would soon see the return of Lyn Rapley to sailing who is off island for medical treatment.
Sailing took place off the airport runway and returned to the St Maarten Yacht Club for nourishment and social events. Ten teams sailed ten identical one design boats and changed boats twice during the event in order to create the most "level playing field.” The boats were crewed by three or four persons. Race judge was Simon Manley who heard a number of protests.
Submitted by Necol Regatta
- Frits Bus – Pelican Marina Residences
- Ernst Looser – North Sails
- Luc Knol – Coors Light
- Bernard Sillem – PDG
- Robbie Ferron – Budget Marine
- Rob Gilders – Quantum
- Shag Morton – FKG Rigging
- Pete Grannetia – FKG Fabrication
- Ruargh Findlay – Findlay Family
- Ton Hooijmans – Necol Racing