From February 29th until March 3rd, 2019 the 39th Heineken Regattain St. Maarten took place in St. Maarten.
The regatta is the largest warm water regatta in the world and what is very special about it is, that not only all sorts of different classes are racing, but the entertainment program after the sailing is one of a kind. The tag line was: #serioussailing and #seriousfun
This year Socca Queen Alison Hinds, along with the reggae band Third World and THE JACKSONS, local band ORANGE GROVE and many more performed live on the regatta stage. Each evening live music and fun vibes for the crews and spectators and locals. At the press conferences we had the opportunity to get to know the superstars THIRD WORLD BAND and THE JACKSONS. The stars were super relaxed and did not shy away from dealing with their audience.
After the evening award ceremonies each night there LIVE acts performed at the huge stage fort he crowd of sailors, locals and international audience. The vibes were very chilled and positive amoung islanders and visitors. Everyone was very happy that more than 120 teams made their way to St. Maarten – even all the way from Poland and other countries.
The weather was perfect for sailing, brought good wind next to the sun, blue sky and turquoise water so that speeds of up to 22 knots mad sailing a lot of fun. All starts were very exciting and spectacular.
In the middle of Simpson Bay, the world’s largest private sailing yacht, “A”, anchored in the middle oft he regatta field. ”A” was built in Kiel and is owned by Russian billionaire Andrei Melnichenko. It cost around 417 million euros and there was not a clear opinion if this megayacht is either beautiful or just spectacular. It was designed by Philippe Starck.
Furthermore, the “Eclipse”, the second largest private mega yacht in the world anchored in Simpson bay and was accompanied by the “Rising Sun”, after all number 12 of the longest mega yachts and “Pink Gin”, the largest carbon slup yacht in the world. These yachts and the landscape of Caribbean island St. Maarten provided a beautiful setting for all races.
For the first time this year, the regatta already started on Thursday, – offering 4 days of first-class regattas and numerous, exciting race starts. Every day was spent on the water and I had the opportunity to be very close at all races.
Even non-sailors can buy tickets on so-called Spectator boats and thus be up close. Lunch and open bar was provided and Island 92 radio live explained everything going on at the races, so that even people, who do not sail, could enjoy the regatta as well.
The “Made in Midi” in the Class 40 with skipper Guillaume Verdier, who needed only 3 hours and 8 minutes in the race around the island on Friday, also attracted particular attention. The Made in Midi sailed (along with Malizia II in Class IMOCA and the German Boris Hermann) the Route du Rhum across the Atlantic and will start in the Défi Atlantiquevon Guadeloupe back to France, La Rochelle on 23rd of March.
In the afternoon, all participants passed the Simpson Bay Bridge and were cheered frantically by the spectators at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club Deck. The teams came up with some crazy performances on deck of their sail boats every day in order to get the best score and win a prize.
In addition to numerous international personalities and wealthy business people, the participants of the regatta docked then at Marina Port de Plaisance. The Port de Plaisance Country Club could be used by teams and participants and the Regatta Village was also right there just in front of Princess Casino. Water taxis shuttled participants across the lagoon from the Yacht Club in Simpson Bay to the Regatta Village in Cole Bay. Next year, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club celebrates the 40th anniversary. Save the date for March 5th to 8th,2020. Do not wait too long for your bookings, because hotel rooms and guest rooms on the island, as well as rental cars will be booked quick.
At the last day, I had the opportunity to join team #dobrodani in class #islandtime and was part oft he crew winning the first price in that race. It was a wonderful experience!
Exciting 4 days ended on Sunday late at night and the anticipation of the 40th anniversary in 2020 makes the numerous volunteers, without whom this event would not be possible, soon start the planning phase for next year …. Maybe we’ll see each other in St. Maarten in March 2020!?
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