Sunshine and Suds at St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Published on March 5th, 2016
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten (March 5, 2016) – Sparkling conditions blessed the second day of racing at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, with 14 knots of breeze from the east south east and tropical sunshine. Racing in four of the CSA classes is incredibly tight with high tension going into tomorrow’s last day of racing.
The Maxi, Volvo and CSA classes enjoyed two exciting windward leeward course outside Marigot Bay, whilst the impressive 26-strong multihull and 60-strong Bareboat Class enjoyed flat water and sensational racing in Simpson Bay.
The limelight at many top regattas around the world often falls on the high profile teams. The amazing Maxi and Multihull yachts competing at the 36th edition of the event are a fantastic spectacle, but the biggest regatta in the Caribbean has a much broader appeal. An estimated three thousand sailors and party goers are attending this year, which has a bumper entry of 193 boats, most of which are competing in the six CSA classes and Bareboat division.
Mark Chapman’s Trinidadian Ker 11.3, Dingo is the runaway leader with four straight bullets. Sergio Sagramoso’s Puerto Rican Melges 32, Lazy Dog is second with fellow Puerto Rican Melges 32, Soca, skippered by Luis Juarbe, in third place.
“As the top rated boat, we need to get off the line sharply and use our upwind speed, hiking to the max.” Explained Dingo’s owner, Mark Chapman. “The Melges just reel us in downwind, so it is a battle the whole way around. Big credit to the Dingo team, we have had the boat over a year now and we are getting her up to full speed but with no discard tomorrow, we need to finish the regatta first before any celebration.”
The samba whistles and shakers will be in full flow tomorrow if Ventaneiro 3, the Brazilian Dufour 500, can hold off the challenge from Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster. Ventaneiro 3 won both of today’s races by a whisker; Race 2 was decided by just nine seconds. Scarlet Oyster was second in both of today’s races to finish the day just a point off the lead. Don Terwilliger’s American First 47.7, Dauntless is third.
Two teams are tied at the top going into the last day of racing. Richard Wesslund’s Florida based J/122, El Ocaso and Philippe Charret’s Guadeloupe A40, Lipton were pretty much inseparable on the water today, as well as CSA time correction; Race 3 was won by Lipton by just 22 seconds. Team Boston, racing First 40, Lancelot II, skippered by Chris Jackson is third.
Two J/105s vying for the class win; Jonathan Lipuscek’s Puerto Rican, Dark Star and Jordan Mindich’s American Solstice, the two teams are tied on seven points. Ben Jelic’s funky St. Martin custom Kiwi 35, Wild Devil won the last race of the day, to stay in with a chance of glory, and is just two points behind the leaders.
A knight’s duel is playing out between Sir Bobby Velasquez’s Beneteau 45 L’Esperance, overall winner of the 2015 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and regatta founder, Sir Robbie Ferron’s J/39 Team Budget Marine Micron 99. L’Esperance leads by a single point, with one final race scheduled tomorrow, the class win is going to the wire.
“We were just seconds behind his lordship in the last race.” joked Robbie Ferron. “We need to beat Bobby tomorrow in the last race and we are planning on that. We have a long history of competing, normally he beats me but today he didn’t, so we are just celebrating that for now! Bobby is from Great Bay and on the weather leg we went in there and got ahead of him, which was very nice. Unfortunately on the reach he creamed us, but we got back at him on the downwind leg with some brilliant action, where we gybed into some good pressure. It would give my team great pleasure to win CSA 5 tomorrow, and a degree of deep satisfaction that would be difficult for everybody to comprehend.”
It’s shaping up to be a family affair for the class win with Raphael Magras’ St.Barths team racing x-34, Maelia leading the class, from his brother Raymond Magras, racing Dufour 34, Speedy Nemo. Tanner & Shari Jones’ Antiguan J/30, Caribbean Alliance Insurance scored a bullet today, by just three seconds, to stay in third place.
In the Bareboat Classes the overall leader is Aleksei Dushkin’s Kiev Racing Yacht Club, with Olympic Silver medallist Rodion Luka on board. The Ukrainian team lead the class by two points from yesterday’s Round St. Maarten winner, Burkhard Fahrenkrog’s German team Baltics. Bageal skippered by Swede Jan Soderberg, who has been winning regattas in the Caribbean for decades, is in third position.
Zooming at high speed within viewing distance of the beaches along Simpson Bay, the Beach Cats have been skipping across the waves for six frenetic races. Turenne Laplace’s Alizés and David Guiheneuc’s Carib Cleaning have been ruling the roost, since Bernard Sillem’s Gonzalo dipped out with problems after scorching around the island yesterday. Turenne leads David by a single point with one day to go, both of the leading skippers are from St.Barths.
Just one race for all classes is scheduled for the last day of racing on Sunday, March 6.
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Report by Event Media.