Regatta boats

Dynamic Dancers Day 1 at St. Maarten Heineken Regatta!!!

Dynamic Dancers Kick Off Heineken Regatta

It’s finally showtime at the 42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta with a stellar opening act for the first day of racing. All classes went on one long race course today — splitting the fleets — with big boats and sport boats heading east to St. Barths, while the Island Time and Bareboat classes went west towards Marigot.


There was a lot of action on a tight start line for the CSA1 fleet, essentially 3 fleets in one with two Maxis, four VO65s and four VO70s. A relatively short start line and encroaching depth restrictions near shore on the starboard-tack start called for some smooth moves amongst the fleet.


When asked what has been Atlas Ocean Racing’s biggest challenge transitioning from their VO60 they raced in the 2020 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta to their new VO70, Il Mostro, Gilles Barbot shared that the team is “learning how to dance with more components on the boat, and the dance is more complex.”


Leopard3 and Deep Blue Duel

The two Maxis, Leopard3 and Deep Blue, had their own duet, focusing on their Maxi matchup while maneuvering between the Volvo fleet. “When we start the day we have to make a fundamental decision whether we are looking at Deep Blue as the main competition and racing them around the course, and just seeing how it pans out against the Volvo 65 & 70s; and that’s what we did today,” said Ian Budgen, tactician of Leopard3.


“We’ve sailed against Deep Blue in Maxi Worlds in Sardinia and again in St Tropez, so we have a reasonable gauge of what we think is our performance against her. We sort of knew that we were probably going to be slightly quicker than her upwind, but slower than her downwind, and that’s exactly how it panned out.


“When we went around Ile Fourchue at the top, we were 2-3 minutes ahead, but then by the time we got back down to mainland St. Maarten, actually she was only a fraction ahead of us.


Luckily we stuck onto her and basically matched her gybe for gybe within 2-3 boat lengths all the way down to the finish line,” continued Ian.  


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