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News from St Maarten and St Martin – Dec 06

Marigot Marina

During the night of August 31, fire destroyed the Capitainerie at Marigot’s Marina Royale. An electric short circuit created a slow simmering fire for an hour, which developed into an inferno once the windows exploded. Everything inside was lost, from fire and water damage.

The good news is that the new marina office is scheduled for re-opening this month. According to Dockmaster Regine Hee, operations will resume from a new, larger and more modern building with a panoramic view of the surrounding marina. The original building went up (in the construction sense) in the mid-1980s. A combination of insurance payments and contributions from SEMSAMAR have allowed the replacement building to be finished in a little over two months, during which Regine ran the marina from a borrowed desk at Must Yachting next door.

“It could have been much worse,” says Hee. Not only was no one hurt, but if the windows hadn’t burst, the slow-burning fire would undoubtedly have spread to other marine offices on the quay.

Breaking news:  Extra day for 27th Heineken Regatta

Heineken Regatta fans will be treated to an extra day’s sailing when the 27th edition kicks off on March 1, 2007. Visits by Regatta organizers to summer boat shows in Southampton and Annapolis confirmed a groundswell of support for a Thursday race in the Spinnaker class for the performance boats.

“Everyone is so enthusiastic about it,” says Regatta Director Mirian Ebbers.  Sixty boats have registered, shattering the team’s more conservative estimate of 45. Boats will compete in 2-3 windward/leeward races for the ‘Commodore’s Cup’. At press time, organizers were still inviting sponsorship for the extra day. Normal racing will start on Friday March 2, culminating in the famous awards ceremony and concert on Sunday 4th. Last year’s innovation, an around the buoys mini-regatta for the big boats, has been retained and will remain separate to Thursday’s event.

In a press conference held at the St Maarten Yacht Club, regatta sponsor Windward Island Bank announced that it would be waiving service charges on regatta transactions, an example of the kind of input the organizers are looking for to sustain the quality of the Heineken.

As usual, a roll-call of top boats is expected to attend. Volvo Ocean competitor ABN-AMRO is bringing a Volvo 70, and 26-year-old Route Du Rhum competitor Aurelie Ditton has pledged to come and break Steve Fossett’s Round the Island Record.

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