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St. Maarten Team Wins 2008 Budget Marine Women’s Regatta

The 7th annual Budget Marine Women’s Caribbean One-design Keelboat Championships was held on November 1 and 2 with great enthusiasm by all teams; many agreed this is one of the best-run regattas they have been to for ladies.  An exiting weekend for 12 participating teams from all over the world ended with a victory for St.Maarten.

Kim Frye and her Scuba Shop team took the silverware for a second year in a row, breaking the tradition of international participants winning this event for the four years prior, and starting one of local teams claiming the title. This is the third time a local team has won this title.

Frye and her team had consistent results, finishing in the top two for almost all races. They had some heavy competition from one of the favorites, Karen Portch and her Antigua Yacht Club team, who also managed four firsts.  However, coming in third in the last two races, they lost their position by two points overall.

Emma Paull, from the BVI, was happy to have placed in the top three, although in the past she managed to return home with the first place. This team also sailed very steadily finishing in the top three every race.

Penny McIntyre and her Barbados team missed the 3rd place by two points overall, even though they managed to stay in the top three finishes in most races—proving how close the competition was.

Janneke Brouwer’s ‘Amstel Bright Babes’ team showed that practice pays off, as she and her team were awarded “most improved,” even finishing first in one of the races.

A total of 14 races were sailed on the lagoon on a rotational basis, each team sailing eight races, in seven ‘Lagoon Sailboat Rentals’ boats. On Sunday’s last two races, the number decreased to six boats due to a collision between St.Maarten ‘Amstel Bright Babes’ team and Kim Stuart’s ‘Voodoo Dolls’ team from California, resulting in a broken mast. No one was hurt, just a few shook-up ladies.

Thanks to Aqua Mania for stepping up to the plate last minute by providing the change boat, which provided nice shade, lovely views of the race, and serious strategy talks by the waiting teams.

The young Trinidad team, sponsored by Budget Marine Trinidad, started off great, winning their first race. However, they couldn’t quite stay up in the rankings; by next year, with some more practice under their belt, it is felt that they will be back and able to better their position.
This regatta, organized by the St.Maarten yacht Club is a great effort towards the expansion of women’s sailing, and sailing in general. The Yacht Club organizes racing practically every weekend, and aims to get more people involved in the sport and activities.

Budget Marine is proud to support one of the few women’s championships in the region, and Chris Marshall, manager of Budget Marine St.Maarten, mentioned in his closing speech that the Yacht Club can expect Budget Marine to be a part of this event in the future.

Sailing is a great sport to level the playing field between the sexes, as it doesn’t just rely on brute strength but also on strategy and tactics. Women’s Regattas, in particular, empower female competitors, spotlighting the best female crews and captains who may sometimes take the back seat to their male counterparts in other regattas.

Budget Marine’s next event on St.Maarten will be the new approach they are taking at the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta, by organizing a ‘Match Racing’ event. See their website for more information. www.budgetmarine.com or www.smyc.com

Report and photos submitted by Budget Marine Women’s Caribbean One-design Keelboat Championships

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