The Golden Rock Regatta fleet gathered in Great Bay, St. Maarten for the third year running and, at 9 a.m., the staggered Pursuit Start sent the fleet on its way for a night on the town in fleshpots of St. Barth. The previous year’s light winds made organizers cautious so the average length of the races was shortened to allow participants more time ashore. The start of the two Sun Fasts was awesome with the boats circling each other like a pair of veteran Match Racers! On the last moment, with barely a second to spare, Team Truple beat Team DPA Piper across the line and managed to stay ahead for the rest of the Race. Henk Ligthart on Ligthart Communicatie finished third.
The next morning the fleet departed for Statia in a massed start. This year the Kate finally made it to the Golden Rock Regatta and stunned us with her beauty and fast sailing. She was crewed by the “de Wilgen Vastgoed” team from the Netherlands with Philip Walwyn, builder of the Kate, and a few friends. The course favoured the Classic Kate with Team Truple hot on her heels.
That evening, sailors joined the Statia Day celebrations where, at the prizegiving, Klaas van Duuren handed Pam Morris the “De Wilgen Vastgoed Trophy” for winning the St. Maarten – St. Barth Pursuit race; and Jelle Hamstra, representing St. Rose, handed Klaas van Duuren the St. Rose trophy for his first on the Kate in the St. Barth to Statia Race.
Day three had another Pursuit Race start. On our support catamaran we were joined by four school children and their teachers who had been selected by the Statian Sports Administrator for an introduction to sailing. They joined the crew of the Support Cat to sail to St. Kitts, spent the night there and sailed back the next day to Statia on the twin mast gaff rigged schooner Passaat. This Pursuit Race ended in an extremely close finish with five boats (four boat types) finishing within seven minutes! The race was won by Bas Roorda’s team V.O.C. two minutes ahead of team DLA Piper with team Truple another minute behind.
As before, we received a warm reception on St. Kitts where we were welcomed by the Prime Minister’s permanent under secretary, Lloyd Lazar. Steven Patric of Little Switzerland presented Bas Roorda’s Team V.O.C (Very Odd Crew), winners of the Windward Adventures trophy, the first of two beautiful Globes of the world donated specially for the Regatta. This prize was to draw attention to the opening of a new Little Switzerland outlet on St. Kitts. A typical West Indian Jump-Up complete with Jazz Band, kept the sailors partying till the early hours.
Another massed start saw the fleet depart Frigate Bay returning to Statia via St. Kitts’s Atlantic Coast for the now traditional Prizegiving in historic Fort Orange. Dignitaries were present including Lt. Governor Hyden Gittens, Commissioner Roy Hooker and Commissioner Julian Woodley, and Senator Reginald Zaandam. After the singing of the National anthems of the Netherlands, the USA, and St. Eustatius, the awards were handed to the winning teams.
Overall winner of the regatta was the DLA Piper sponsored Sun Fast 37 skippered by Chris Land. DLA Piper is the world’s largest law firm with some 3.600 lawyers in 25 countries. Their sponsorship is in the light of the historic ties the US and the Netherlands have through the island of Statia. We partied through the night with some of our number even attending the ceremonial salute at dawn!
On the final day, Pam Morris and her team were the overall winners in a reverse feeder race to Oyster Pond. This was rewarded by Little Switzerland with a beautiful Globe of the World, inlaid with semi-precious stones and mother-of-pearl from the regions they represent. The last party at Captain Oliver’s Yacht Club was a blast!
For the first time, the Golden Rock Regatta featured a Cruising/Racing Class, with two US teams on Sun Fast 37s, fighting it out in a nail-biting finish. The series ended in a split result with both parties scoring four points. Team Truple, an almost completely women’s team, captained by Pam Morris from the Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis, was defeated by Team DLA Piper skippered by Chris Land from the Manhattan Sailing Club. They (team Truple) led the standings for the first two days after which the tables were turned with Team DLA Piper winning the next two races. In such a case the team winning the last race wins the series.
Over the weekend all departing teams left with a good feeling about the Regatta and the promised to come back next year with more boats.
Photos and complete results: www.goldenrockregatta.com or contact Bea @ 554 8715 for more information.
Report submitted by Bea Hootsmans, Golden Rock Regatta