Green bottles, Golden conditions
Published on March 7th, 2015
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten (March 7, 2015) – The second day of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta produced more thrilling action for the international fleet of yachts racing in gorgeous conditions off St. Maarten. All classes, but the Lottery Class, had at least two races today.
In comparison to the last two days, a breeze of about 20 knots was more of a comfort zone but the racing was no less spectacular with close racing right through the fleet. Most of the northern hemisphere is gripped by freezing temperatures but not the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta with an air temperature of 26 °C and a water temperature to match, it was t-shirt and shorts weather even with blue water across the deck.
In CSA 1, Doug Baker’s Kernan 47, True won both of today’s races to secure pole position for the class. In CSA 2, Greg Slyngstad’s J/125 Hamachi has now scored four straight bullets. In CSA 3 Alan Edwards Swan 65, Spirit is top of the class, having scored their fourth podium finish. In CSA 4, last year’s winner of the ‘most worthy performance, Richard Wesslund’s J/122, El Ocaso is second in class. S’investir en Guadeloupe LIPTON, skippered by Charret Philippe is leading the class by three points. Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster is the runaway leader in CSA 5, six points clear at the top. Gunboat 62, Elvis scored two bullets today to set up a dramatic finish to the Gunboat showdown tomorrow.
Breaking the ice
Three Volvo 60s are enjoying a tremendous battle in CSA 1 and all three crews come from countries which are literally freezing at the moment; Spirit of Adventure is from Canada, Ambersail is from Lithuania and Cuba Libre from Poland. After three races, Cubre Libre is winning the battle between the trio. Przemysław Tarnacki, skipper and helm of Cuba Libre grew up with sailing in his blood, his father competed in the first Whitbread Round the World Race and Przemysław is a world class professional sailor, ranking as high as 8th on the world match racing circuit.
“We were coming to St. Maarten Heineken Regatta to race on another boat but as we left Poland, we found out that it would not be available, so chartering Cuba Libre was a very late decision. Most of the team race on the Baltic, which is freezing right now. Racing against two other Volvo 60s is great fun, a bit like one design racing and this regatta is a lot of fun, on and off the water.”
Youth in abundance
In CSA 8 youth sailing is in abundance, with over 30 sailors in their teenage years or even younger. St Maarten Sailing School racing Catalina 36, MoonDance, Anette Hibbert’s Anguillian crew racing their First Class 10, Anguilla Youth Sailing Team and SMYC Youth Keelboat Team racing Finn Gulf 39, Pixie are all young, keen racers, who are absolutely loving the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta
Nina Manley is the skipper, owner and helms-woman of Finn Gulf 39 Pixie, racing in CSA 8. Nina is just 17 years of age and dreams of competing in the America’s Cup or Volvo Ocean Race. At just 19, tactician Jolyon Ferron is the oldest crew member and the youngest is Summer Jean Morton, who is only 11. All of the crew, except Jolyon Ferron, born St. Maartener, who is now studying at a University in Wales, are in schools in St.Maarten; the Caribbean International Academy, Learning Unlimited and St. Dominic’s.
“We are all from the Sint Maarten Yacht Club Youth Sailing Team and we wanted to keep Pixie in the family.” commented Nina Manley. “Normally we all sail in dinghies but most of the crew did sail at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta last year. We only got Pixie ready a few weeks ago but we wouldn’t ask any teams to give us any special treatment, we want to learn the hard lessons on the race course, so that we can become better sailors. We are having a great battle with Moondance, last year the weather was lighter which suited us but this year, the big conditions have favoured Moondance, they have just been powering through the waves. Moondance has a very accomplished sailor at the wheel, Riin Korteknie, so it is really cool sailing against him.”
Motor home racing
Jason Carroll is best known for his back to back wins at the Melges 32 World Championship but the New Yorker loves to sail and race his Gunboat 62, Elvis. Jason and his team were firmly on the pace today, winning both races to set up a dramatic finish to the Gunboat showdown tomorrow. Elvis and Gunboat 62, Tribe are tied at the top of the leader board with Gunboat 66, Coco de Mer just a point behind the leaders.
“This is our third time at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta,” commented Jason Carroll. “What is different this year is that we have some new Gunboats and also Tribe, maybe the first Gunboat ever built, but they have a whole new set up and Tribe is a lot quicker this year. I would say competition throughout the fleet is tougher this year.
“I love this boat. I cruise it most of the time, but I want to race it once in a while as well. The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is the perfect regatta for that because there are other Gunboats and it’s winter time in New York. Back home we have had so much snow it’s crazy and everyone wants to go south, where it is sunny and warm. For me it is one of the best regattas you can go to in the middle of winter. I love it, the island is a great host, it’s convenient to get to, and just three days long.
“Today we had two races and the course was great, we actually threaded the needle through the Proselyte Reef which was interesting, as we were trusting chart data on the rocks! I liked the courses today a lot, it was close to a windward leward, which I am more familiar with but we were sailing around islands and rocks, so from the scenery point of view it was pretty cool. On top of that, this is the first time the race committee has done two races in one day for the Gunboats and I like that because more than three races improves the regatta, we had a setback yesterday breaking our mainsail, so the more races the better to offset one bad race. Tomorrow should be a great finale.”
Racing at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will come to a conclusion tomorrow.
For 35 years, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has showcased the top boats and sailing-and has become equally famous for its world-class slate of parties and musical entertainment-in the Caribbean. Now recognized by sailors around the planet as one of the sailing world’s best regattas, each year the event lives up to its worthy motto: Serious Fun.
Report by event media.