A dark cloud descended over Simpson Bay, right on time for the race start of the 4th and final day of the 2022 St Maarten Heineken Regatta; but that didn’t put a damper on the fleet. Squalls ultimately bookended race start and finish, making Mother Nature a formidable force in today’s races.
“Some Volvos came in full speed from behind the line, it was the most amazing start — so exciting!” said Michele Korteweg, Director of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, who had a front-row seat to all of the action today. “It was also the most beautiful bareboat start, all lined up so perfectly. Meanwhile, by that time the sport boats were finishing their leg behind us and Kick ‘Em Jenny wiped out, having issues getting their big green spinnaker down as a huge gust came in.”
By the end of the regatta, the bare boats were acting like Pros. Many of them rocked a reefed mainsail today, heeding warnings from the many round-ups the fleet suffered in yesterday’s breeze. The fleet managed to keep themselves cool, calm and collected, and untouchable Girl and Squeakybrat II held onto their first and second places for overall class wins.
Squeakybrat II managed to squeak in a first place win in today’s race, de-throning Girl from their otherwise undefeated record. Newcomers to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Team Krabbegat/Asterias from the Netherlands, had consistent performances throughout the event, ultimately earning them the final place on the podium for the Regatta.
The Volvo fleet were off to a great start, but that soon fell to pieces at the windward mark. VO70 I Love Poland missed the mark, meanwhile fellow competitor Ocean Breeze took it with them! Back of the pack Il Mostro then rounded a phantom mark, while RC raced to hoist the M flag to make themselves the temporary mark. By the time the following fleet of Diam 24s arrived, the mark was unhooked from Ocean Breeze’s rudder, albeit slightly more offshore than its original setting.
Diam 24 Karibuni appeared first to round the mark, but was later passed by the highly competitive fleet of Diams. All in good fun, this fleet of local boats are also all friends who moved to the one design class to settle the score of who are the best sailors overall. Cry Macho led by Benoit Champanhac took straight bullets across the Regatta, Cry Baby skippered by class enthusiast Pierre Altier took all of the seconds, and Merlin from Sint Maarten Yacht Club held onto third overall in Multihull 3.
In Multihull 1, Five Oceans (ORC50) were clear champions, taking 1st place in every single race of the event. Second place went to local multihull Arawak/Island Water World, who won their class in the 2020 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Today’s competition was a little light, with over half of their fleet missing from the start line. Nonetheless, the Multihull 1 win was well-earned by Five Oceans, who smashed the Round the Island Race on Day 2, finishing alongside CSA1.
TP52, Jolt, was in a league of their own, racing just one other boat in CSA4, but could usually be found nipping at the heels of the Maxi fleet. Slightly too small to be included with the big boats, and too big and powerful for mid-fleet, the TP52 clearly needs some more 52s to come to play with them, as this fleet is usually used to match-racing in the Mediterranean. So here’s the official call to the TP52s — come join us for some “Serious Fun!” in 2023!
In CSA2, a reliable group of Class40s once again joined us for their own dedicated class. Vicitan took first place in every race, despite having half of the total team members onboard compared to their competitors. You can tell these guys are real pros; it may be their first St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, but they are coming from world-class races like the Caribbean 600 and Transat Jacques Vabre.
OMII, a new Swan 58, also pulled out an impressive lead and win in their class CSA3, taking first place in every race. Competitor Isobel, a custom Stephens Waring 75, was down on their luck this event, today losing their mast from a forestay failure on the leeward side of the island. Even though Race Committee kept most of the fleet away from the windward side of St. Maarten, the breeze still hunted the fleet down across the course.
In the sport boat fleets, CSA 5 & 8, the big breeze produced some big air with the 24-34 footers flying out of the water on their downwind legs. CSA 5 & 8 almost doubled their total races for the event, today racing three sets of windward-leewards. There were some more mark mixups as part of the fleet rounded the big boat windward orange mark, instead of their designated yellow windward mark. It certainly was tough on the fleet, with quite a few boats deciding to throw in the towel in the final race for the day.
The entire racing fleet of the 2022 St Maarten Heineken Regatta felt the excitement today, but no class held their breath longer than CSA7, who eagerly awaited their results for the day to determine the final podium for the event. Despite taking a few third places across the Regatta, team Liquid, J122, had the most consistent performance over the four days, landing them in first place overall by just one point. Second and third places were tied with total points, taken by local Beneteau First 47.7, Dauntless, and J111 Spike.
“It was a good race for us. We went full send on the first kite leg, smoking El Ocaso in the big breeze,” shared Liquid captain Julian White. Liquid owner Pamala Baldwin fulfilled her goal when she stated at the beginning of the week, “I came here to win.”