St. Maarten Invites Racers, Cruisers, Locals and Travelers to Join the “Serious Fun!” in 2024

June 8, 2023 – Simpson Bay, St Maarten – The 2023 Caribbean racing season has come to a close, and the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta was again the region’s most attended event. St. Maarten is committed to delivering the biggest and best regatta year after year, and for the 44th annual event, it’s welcoming back all those who fell in love with the event and inviting newcomers to finally check it off their bucket lists and join the large international fleet February 29 – March 3, 2024.

Close to 100 boats participated in the 43rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, with a fleet that showed enormous diversity – from 24-ft performance trimarans to 70-ft ocean racing monohulls alongside family catamaran cruisers-turned-racers. Due to the “Serious Fun!” factor that the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has become known for, amateur racers up to professional maxi teams come to enjoy 4 days of competitive and dynamic race courses, complemented by world-class entertainment by night.

“This was our first time doing the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, and we’ll be back because we had a great time! Great competitors, people from everywhere…. We met a lot of friends, we helped some people out, they helped us out. We really just had a great time here in St. Maarten,” said Heidi Herlihy, Skipper of Swan 56 Tramontana. Tramontana competed in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta’s unique Island Time class, which is designed for cruisers or those looking to enjoy the Regatta on ‘island time’ with later starts, one race per day, a simplified CSA rating and shorter courses.

Regatta veteran Robbie Ferron now prefers racing his boat Bunglebird in the Island Time Class, which offers a less-intensive racing option for teams: one race a day, later starts and shorter courses © Laurens Morel

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta’s professional Race Committee is dedicated to designing courses that are best suited for all classes. While the Island Time class are enjoying a more leisurely course, the CSA race fleets are sent on intensive courses around the island, sometimes going as far as neighboring islands of St. Barth and Anguilla. The racing fleet all have a chance to race the legendary Around the Island Race, where spectators get to see Diam 24 pocket-rocket trimarans keep pace with the Volvo Ocean Race boats!

The CSA racing rule is used for all competitors and Caribbean race events, while a modified CSA rule and rating process is offered to the Island Time class to make participating in the Regatta more accessible. These tailored courses and a rating system unique to the Caribbean conditions make racing at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta more fair and welcoming to a mixed fleet.

St. Maarten is also the most accessible island in terms of logistics for traveling boats, sailors and visitors alike, making it a top Caribbean destination. St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International airport offers daily non-stop flights to top cities in Europe, US and Canada, and is the closest airport to any Regatta in the Caribbean – less than 10 minutes from the airport to the Regatta Village at Yacht Club Port de Plaisance. For those who will fly in and meet their boats in the Caribbean, Regatta sponsor Port St. Maarten offers professional services to receive any boat shipment.

Cape 31 Flying Jenny arrived in Port St. Maarten in its 40-ft container just weeks before the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Thanks to smooth logistics and management by Boat Captain Rebecca Coles, the team was ready to compete against the local Melges fleet and came second in class © Laurens Morel

At this year’s St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Cape 31 Flying Jenny was able to compete in Florida just a month before the team was due to compete at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Boat Captain Rebecca Coles had her work set out for her, but logistics through Port St. Maarten ensured Flying Jenny was received in her 40ft container and ready to race in a few short weeks. This highly mobile and competitive class of sports boats has taken over the UK racing circuit, and St. Maarten invites the Cape 31 class to come in numbers and welcomes the fleet to the Caribbean.

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