As some Caribbean regattas struggle this season, it was encouraging to see the St. Maarten Multihull Regatta continuing to grow and attract sponsors. Although in the shadow of the Heineken Regatta a week later, the event, now in its third year, generated much excitement and earned praise from the participants.
Ten multihulls, in two classes, and two beach cats, started the race. Several more beach cats were expected but rough seas and strong winds prevented the boats from St. Barths making it across the channel.
The regatta sent Cruising Class (seven boats) and Racing Class (three boats) anticlockwise around the island. Wind conditions were ideal and the trimaran Dauphin Telecom’s winning time of 2:37:00 in Racing Class was only 58 seconds short of the around the island record set by Steve Fossett’s maxi-cat PlayStation in 2003.
Organizers were delighted with a new rating system introduced by Race Officer Alfred Koolen and used for the first time this year. The system brought the first six boats in Cruising Class within 20 minutes of class winner Passion III on corrected time.
Strong winds prevented the beach cats from sailing around the island and instead they were given two shorter races, the first from Simpson Bay out to Proselyte Reef and the second to Creole Rock and back. Both races were dominated by the duo Bernard Silem and Stephen Looser.
“We are a low budget regatta with nice sponsors,” noted Race Director Mirian Ebbers, who confirmed that the regatta, the fourth, will return in 2013.
For full results and list of sponsors, visit: http://www.multihullregatta.com
Gary E. Brown is the Editorial Director of All At Sea. He is a presenter on Island 92, 91.9 FM, St. Maarten, and the author of the thriller/sailing adventure Caribbean High. Visit: garyebrown.net