Post-Irma Heineken Regatta

Author:
Updated:
Original:
With conditions like these, it’s no wonder sailors keep returning in force to race off St. Maarten

With conditions like these, it’s no wonder sailors keep returning in force to race off St. Maarten

Even more than a year and half later, the scars from Hurricane Irma are still all too visible on the island of St. Maarten. But if Irma couldn’t prevent the famed Heineken from taking place in the winter of 2017-18, you can bet it’s not going to put a crimp in either the racing or the parties in the winter of 2019.

On the contrary, now in its 39th year, the regatta continues to evolve, adding a new double-handed class to its regular series of buoy and coastal races. As a further testament to the strength and commitment of the racing community, more than 100 boats are also expected to take part this year, with teams from over 30 countries competing aboard everything from maxis to performance multihulls to chartered bareboats and liveaboard vessels from around the Caribbean.

“The international response was amazing, on the 6th of September [immediately after Irma] my phone wouldn’t stop ringing with keen competitors asking me questions about the regatta,” says race director Paul Miller. “The biggest challenge has been accommodations, travel, and storm-damaged boats. Despite these drawbacks, many competitors brought motherships to ease accommodation pressures. It’s been really touching to see such a positive response.”

Miller adds that while lodging and damaged boats remain a challenge, he’s not worried, as the number of serviceable accommodations on the island has already doubled in number since last year’s regatta.

Miller also notes that as a sign of the event’s strength, they’ve now added a fourth day of racing, so that competitors will be able to get in that much more of the great sailing for which St. Maarten is renowned.

“Sailors are offered…an irresistible cocktail of racing chosen to suit each class,” Miller says. “The increase in days ensures a varied schedule of classes. We are steadily making incremental changes to fine-tune and improve the quality of racing, and ensure the regatta stands up against its global counterparts.”

For details on this year’s Heineken Regatta, which takes place February 28 through March 3, visit heinekenregatta.com

Related

10-002

Ask Sail: Analog or Digital

Q: I am redoing my voltage distribution panel and can’t decide between a needle movement voltmeter or a digital illuminated voltmeter to monitor my house and starting battery voltages. Which way would be best? — J. Henshaw, Tampa FL GORDON WEST REPLIES I would say do both types ...read more

Ultime-maxi-trimaran-2048x

Video: The Power of an Ultime Tri

. If there was ever any doubt as to the speed potential for the eye-popping Ultime maxi-trimaran class, the first 24 hours of the Brest Atlantiques race have surely put such doubts to rest. The drone footage above of Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier’s Gitana Edmond de ...read more

Brest-Atlantiques-2048x

Video: Brest Atlantiques Fleet on its Way

The four monster trimarans taking part in the 14,000-mile Brest Atlantiques race, from Brest, France, to Brazil and then Cape Town and back, found themselves battling brutal conditions under deeply reefed sails from the word go. The event in many ways represents the pinnacle ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Fine-tuning a Sure-fire Solution  It’s fun to look back over a summer’s cruising by way of the track my chartplotter has recorded. Where the track really comes into its own, though, is piloting out of ...read more

Pirates

Cruising: Mooring Pirates

When I was a younger man, with less money and a stronger back, I was a regular anchoring snob. Free parking, I believed, is a fundamental right when cruising under sail, and if you want to be a true cruiser you must exercise it as much as possible. In developing this manifesto ...read more

Suggested Crop

Ask Sail: Why all the Membrane Sails?

Q: I am noticing more and more cruising boats carrying high-tech membrane sails, and I was wondering why that is. — Carter Dickens, Houston, TX Brian Hancock Replies  It’s all about the engineering. Specifically, membrane sails are highly engineered, so you can end up with a ...read more