After watching the Budget Marine Interlux One Design Regatta sailed on St. Maarten’s Simpson Bay Lagoon in February, there can be no doubt that one-design regattas are changing sailing for the better.
Organizing a regatta is no easy task but as the Interlux Regatta proves, if you provide the right incentive and make regattas accessible to a wide variety of sailors, competition will be of the highest quality. The Interlux Regatta brought together different levels of skill and expertise, was fun, and produced some surprising results.
With experienced racing sailors heading most of the 14 teams, the score sheet at the end of the two-day, 15 race regatta made interesting reading.
Overall winner Han de Bruyn Kops went into the regatta confident he would win.
“We should have won the first race but were late at the start, but sailed quickly to third,” he said. “Sunday’s first race we were first but made a wrong decision and ended the race in seventh place, which meant we had to win the last two races, which we did, under pressure.” De Bruyn Kops put the win down to 40 years of sailing and racing experience and lots of training and starts that gave him “a better knowledge of the rules than most others.”
Team Family Beckman, that is Carlos Beckman, his wife, and their two children age five and six, finished the regatta in seventh place. With a full wind, I assumed the young family would find the regatta challenging and perhaps even a little daunting especially when up against, and beating, more experienced sailors.
“Not so,” said Carlos, “my wife and kids like it very much and it seems to me it would be more challenging to find babysitters, etc., if we were not doing it together. After the initial reaction from some of the rival competitors, they all know us and have shown great appreciation and treat the kids very nicely. This is very refreshing as it can get pretty competitive out there.” He adds, “The kids love being part of it and getting recognition from the top sailors from the island.”
Frits Bus’ Team Island Water World One finished in sixth place overall. Bus is one of St. Maarten’s most successful sailors and races everything from superyachts to Lasers. A proponent of one-design racing, Bus says the Interlux is his favorite regatta.
“It was again challenging [the regatta] with very difficult wind shifts and a strong field of competitors. Team IWW One didn’t do as well as usual, having won this regatta five times, but it was as exciting as ever, well organized and well run,” Bus said.
Conditions on the Simpson Bay Lagoon test even the best sailors as Team Budget Marine/Gill confirmed. Skipper Andrea Scarabelli and crew Chris Marshal and Ryan Hope Ross went into Sunday at the head of the leader board. Within sight of victory, it all went wrong and they had to settle for second place overall behind Han de Bruyn Kops and Team Han.
“When the racing is so close, any small mistake can cost you the meter that you need to put your bow in front of the opponent at the finish line,” said Scarabelli. “In our case we lost it at the last tack of the last race 50 meters from the finish. We crossed on port just inches in front of Han but couldn’t tack back immediately because we were too close to him. When we did, he was already free from our coverage so he managed to cross the finish one meter in front of us. Winning the last race would have meant winning the regatta.”
Andy Budgen of Team Volvo 70 Charter Black, finished in third place. After the race, Budgen left for Antigua to take part in the Caribbean 600.