SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - From Maxis to fierce sports boats, friendly to professional crews, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is on everyone’s bucket list. And the first step in checking it off is registration – which is now open for the 43rd edition hosted 2-5 March 2023!
The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is a bucket-list event that often sits atop sailors’ ‘must do’ list every year. “Serious Fun” is not only the Regatta’s motto, it is a promise; sailors know they can expect high-end racing matched with best-in-class island hospitality. This perfect blend of “Serious Fun” is what keeps the loyalists coming back year after year!
The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is proud to be on the elite list of events in the International Maxi Association’s Caribbean Maxi Challenge, which hosted its first Caribbean series earlier this year. Returning fans of the Regatta, I LOVE POLAND, took a podium position in the 2022 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and ultimately won the IMA Caribbean Maxi Challenge 2022. The competition is wickedly close, with more Maxis expected to join the party and compete to be crowned Maxi king of the Caribbean in 2023.
On the completely other side of the size spectrum is the equally competitive sportsboat class, or rather, classes. A strong fleet of Melges are expected to return, as well as the growing Diam24 fleet of performance pocket-trimarans that are based on the island. Visiting Cape 31, Arabella, completely shook up the local sportsboat fleet this year, taking 2nd place overall in CSA5. St. Maarten welcomes more Cape 31s to join the fun and offers easy logistics for shipping these container-friendly racers into the Port of St. Maarten.
“Managing race courses for so many different kinds of vessels – from bareboat charters to hyper-competitive sports boats and Maxis – can be challenging, however, the island's geography offers us a lot of options. We can centralize the fleet to all start in Simpson Bay, then send the classes on long or short courses east-west, to St. Barths or Anguilla, around the island or to Marigot and back,” said Mark Townsend, Race Director of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. “The result is a great mix of course architecture with a variety for each fleet, each day.”
Whether you are looking for a VIP experience or a no-shirt-no-shoes service, St. Maarten has something for everyone. Those who are not racing can enjoy on-the-water spectator experiences with one of our official Regatta tour guides, or sip on a cold Heineken at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club as the fleet puts on the legendary post-race Bridge Show or lounge at the regatta village. Whatever you're coming for, or wherever you’re coming from, St. Maarten offers the most convenient Regatta experience – with the center of activities less than a 10 minutes’ drive from the airport!
Building off the good vibes from the 2022 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta this past March, the 2023 event will combine dockside hospitality at Port de Plaisance with more entertainment at an expanded race village and throughout the island. Stay tuned for more updates from the Regatta as the event approaches.
“We got great feedback from sailors about this past year’s Regatta village, which was more intimate and convenient for sailors to connect post-racing. In 2023, we are expanding on that concept to create special experiences that engage both the sailors and local community in enjoying all that beautiful St. Maarten has to offer. We don’t want to give too much away just yet; however, you can be certain it will be innovative and lots of ‘Serious Fun!’” shared Regatta Director, Michele Korteweg.
The 2023 Notice of Race has been posted on yachtscoring, the regatta management platform where racers complete the registration process, view the growing scratch sheet, and access all relevant race documents. Register your interest now to be added to Regatta communications for this year and stay on top of Regatta News and offers.
Don’t miss the boat – those interested in securing a bareboat or race charter are encouraged to start making plans through charter agents such as Sunsail Moorings or LV Yachting, respectively. The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta also works with local hotel partners to offer special rates on accommodations during the event; please see the event website for more details on preferred partners and rates.https://heinekenregatta.com/charter/
Move over superyachts, we're racing here! SMHR Race committee manages the perfect dance between fleets, with many
starts and finishes going on in Simpson Bay throughout the day! © Laurens Morel
The elite Maxi fleet is impressive, but not out of reach. Charter agent LV Yachting offers access to some of these race
machines, available for race charter for St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 2023 © Laurens Morel