The Port of Gustavia was the first destination for the 10 boats racing in the 2008 Golden Rock Regatta, with the first leg of the race—from Simpson Bay in St. Maarten to Gustavia, Saint Barth—on Monday, November 10. The first boats crossed the finish line in the early afternoon after completing the 15-mile opening leg of the five-day regatta, which finished back in St. Maarten on Friday, November 14.
The overall winner of the first leg and tops in the racing class was Nix, a 60-foot sloop-rigged racing yacht, which clocked a time of 1 hour, 57 minutes, and 45 seconds. For owner/captain Nico Cortlever, this fourth edition of Golden Rock Regatta represents his first entry in this multi-island event.
From Saint Barth the race continued on Tuesday November 11, heading to Frigate Bay in St. Kitts, a distance of 52 miles, with an awards ceremony and beach party held in front of the Monkey Bar. On Wednesday, November 12 the boats sailed to Oranjestad, St. Eustatius, where a street festival was held in Lower Town.
“One of the goals of the race is to put Statia on the map as another destination for sailors,” says Bas Roorda, one of the competitors, whose team VOC won the St Barth race in the bareboat class. “In 2011, St Eustatius will be part of The Netherlands again and we are hoping to develop a good marina and bring more attention and people to the island,” adds Roorda, a consultant for the Dutch parliament.
On Thursday, November 13 the racers competed in the Statia Up & Down Races for 30 miles of windward and leeward courses, with the awards presented at Fort Oranje. The final leg of the event was the St. Martin Return Race of 39 miles on Friday, November 14, as the yachts returned to Oyster Pond in St. Maarten, and celebrated at Captain Oliver’s Restaurant.
With sunny skies and winds of 13 to 15 knots, the conditions were perfect for the St. Barth leg of the regatta. The prettiest yacht in the race is perhaps Kate, Philip Walwyn’s replica of the 1906 classic 12-meter class boats, which was the sole entry in the open class.
Many of the sailors in the race came over from Holland to join Caribbean and American colleagues for a week of fun at sea, which was filmed by Dutch journalist Anton van de Koppel from The Sailing Channel.
Founded by Juul Hermsen in 2005, the Golden Rock Regatta hopes to keep growing, but not too fast. “We’d like it to get bigger but not too much bigger,” says Bea Bea Hootsmans van Dijk, one of the race organizers. “The maximum number of boats would be 20-30, that would be the perfect number for Statia,” she says. “What’s nice about this regatta is that everyone knows everyone else.”
Racing Class: Canadian Yankees
Bareboat: VOC De Ruiter
For additional information: www.goldenrockregatta.com
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy where she is editor-in- chief of Harbour Magazine, and has been a regular contributor to All- At-Sea since 2000. She also writes regularly about entertainment design and technology for Live Design magazine, and about Caribbean architecture for MACO, a Trinidad-based lifestyle magazine.