Get ready for the 25th St Maarten Heineken Regatta
With the St Maarten Heineken regatta just two months away, now is the time when the entries start to flood in. This year’s event, which runs from March 4 to 6, promises to be one to remember as the Heineken celebrates its Silver Jubilee year.
A commemorative book produced by the regatta team will be on sale, telling the story of how a race among 12 local boats 25 years ago went on to become a unique, world-famous sporting and social event that has attracted a roll call of Olympic, America’s Cup and Caribbean sailors. From international stars Dennis Conner and Chris Dickson to local heroes Peter Holmberg and Paul Dielemans, skippers have always been drawn to the three special days in March.
Last year, 255 boats did battle off the island’s coastline, with eyes mainly on the inaugural tussle between Z86 canting keel monsters Pyewacket and Morning Glory. Although there was no confirmed news on the Big Boat entries for this year as we went to press, the class of 2005 should be of Jubilee quality.
Away from the big names, it is the bareboat classes that give the regatta its character. With most charter companies on St Maarten and islands such as Tortola booked up solid since last year, crews from Holland, Germany, the UK and US among others will pour through Princess Juliana airport with the intention of enjoying three days of hard racing and serious partying. A special annual award honours the crew that have put away the most Heineken and lasted the course each night at the bars, whether in Simpson Bay, Marigot or Philipsburg. The final evening’s prize ceremony on Kim Sha beach is where sozzled sailors and local St Maarteners come together in a carnival atmosphere that few other Caribbean regattas can match. Last year, over 7,000 watched the Black Eyed Peas perform.
For entry information, go to www.heinekenregatta.com