St Maarten Heineken Regatta, Sint Maarten Yacht Club





The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, the most attended event in the 2023 Caribbean racing season, marked another successful year for the event. As the 44th edition approaches from February 29 to March 3, 2024, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club is excited to welcome back previous participants and extend an invitation to newcomers, encouraging them to experience this renowned regatta and join the large international fleet.



The 43rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta boasted a diverse fleet of nearly 100 boats, ranging from 24-ft performance trimarans to 70-ft ocean racing monohulls and family catamaran cruisers-turned-racers. The sailing event’s reputation for combining competitiveness and enjoyment, aptly referred to as “Serious Fun!”, attracts amateur racers as well as professional maxi teams who relish the four days of dynamic race courses. The excitement extends into the evenings with world-class entertainment.



Participants like Heidi Herlihy, Skipper of Swan 56 Tramontana, expressed their enthusiasm for the regatta. Tramontana competed in the unique Island Time class, specially designed for cruisers and those who prefer a more relaxed approach to the event. The Island Time class offers later starts, one race per day, simplified CSA rating, and shorter courses, enabling participants to savor the regatta at their own pace.



The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta’s professional Race Committee ensures that all classes have well-suited courses. While the Island Time class enjoys a leisurely sailing experience, the CSA race fleets tackle intensive courses around the island, sometimes extending to neighboring St. Barth and Anguilla. Additionally, all racing fleets have the opportunity to participate in the legendary Around the Island Race, where spectators witness Diam 24 pocket-rocket trimarans keeping up with Volvo Ocean Race boats.



To promote fairness and inclusivity, the CSA racing rule, a common standard in Caribbean race events, is employed for all competitors. However, the Island Time class benefits from a modified CSA rule and rating process, making it more accessible to a diverse fleet. These tailored courses and unique Caribbean rating system contribute to an equitable and welcoming racing experience at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.



St. Maarten stands out as the most accessible island in terms of logistics for boats, sailors, and visitors, making it an ideal Caribbean destination. Princess Juliana International Airport provides daily non-stop flights to major cities in Europe, the US, and Canada. Moreover, it is the closest airport to any regatta in the Caribbean, with a travel time of less than 10 minutes from the airport to the Regatta Village at Yacht Club Port de Plaisance. For those flying to the Caribbean to meet their boats, Regatta sponsor Port St. Maarten offers professional services to accommodate boat shipments.



Although the 44th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is several months away, it is an event worth adding to the 2024 bucket list and planning for. St. Maarten offers all the necessary resources and amenities for a successful and enjoyable racing or cruising season in the Caribbean. Event organizers are available to assist boat owners considering shipping their boats or attending the regatta for the first time.



For inspiration and a glimpse of the “Serious Fun!” at the 43rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, interested individuals can watch the 2023 Wrap Up Video. Registration for the 44th Regatta is now open, and early registration is encouraged, with the first 20 boats receiving an additional pack of Heineken for their crew at registration. Follow the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta on social media for updates and event announcements, and mark the calendars for the 44th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta from February 29 to March 3, 2024.



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