With less than 50 days before the start of the 38th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta (March 1-4), the entry list is rapidly growing, and already 45 teams representing 13 countries are signed up to compete. The regatta has been a key event on the Caribbean race schedule since its inception in 1980, attracting world-class sailors – racing monohulls, maxis and multihulls – to the island of Saint Martin for four days of serious fun both on and off the water.
Coming from the U.K. is Chris Body and his team on the 40-foot J/122 El Ocaso. The boat won its class last year with a Michigan-based team onboard.
“The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta puts on some really good racing, and it’s easy for a team to come in from Europe or the U.S. and charter a boat to compete,” said El Ocaso Boat Captain Bob Hillier, a regatta veteran who will be returning as the team’s tactician this year. “This will be my tenth St. Maarten Heineken Regatta with El Ocaso. The J/122 class is the premier racing boat class in the Caribbean and typically the largest class at the regatta. The CSA ratings are so close that you are finishing within seconds of each other.”
In addition to El Ocaso’s team, the Australian team onboard Morticia and the U.S. based team onboard KHS&S Contractors are among those already committed to returning and defending their 2017 Multihull and Bareboat Class victories, respectively.
For competitors looking for a more relaxed experience, the regatta offers an “Island Time Class.” The Class offers competitors one around-the-buoy race per day with an 11 a.m. start, at a discounted entry rate.
“Enjoying the sailing is a big part of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and we want to encourage cruising boats out there and show them that it’s very easy to participate,” said Hank Schmitt, a 30-year supporter of Caribbean regattas who sponsored the class last year and will be racing in it again this year with his Swan 48 Avocation. “For competitors who don’t want to worry about stripping their boat down to get it race-ready or do any major prep work, they can now compete in the Island Time Class.”
Charter Options for You
The regatta is well known for its large and competitive charter classes, and a number of charter companies are onsite, offering an array of different options to accommodate a range of clients. Whether competitors are looking to book a single crew space on a boat or for the full-service “soup-to-nuts” package, regatta organizers can direct sailors to the best fit.
Discover more on St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Official Website.