St Maarten heineken regatta

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Credit: Laurens Morel

44th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta opens with 110 sailing yachts competing

1 March 2024 • Written by Gabrielle Lazaridis

Now in its 44th year, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta kicked off yesterday (29 February), drawing some of the world's most seasoned sailors for four days of racing around the nation's coastline.

An assortment of 110 maxis, monohulls and performance multihulls hailing from over 35 countries took to the startlines on the first day of competition. However, light wind (hovering between 10 and 13 knots) forced much of the fleet further offshore in search of stronger conditions.

The day saw a total of 23 starts, with first-place finishes for a Surprise 25 keelboat, Doub 6/Clippers Ship, as well as for veteran skipper Jules Mitchell, who led his seasoned crew to victory on a new-to-him sailing boat in the CSA 2 class. Last year's overall winner, GFA Caraïbes - La Morrigane, placed third.

At an opening day press conference, director of tourism for St. Maarten May-Ling Chun pointed to the event's enduring significance for the region. "Heineken Regatta is part of St. Maarten, St. Maarten is the Heineken Regatta," Chun shared. "It’s not only you, the visitors, the sailors that come and the family and friends that you bring, it’s the community that’s involved."

The initial day of the regatta closed out with a night of musical entertainment in the Regatta Village at Port de Plaisance, the first of many curated social events lasting throughout the competition.

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