42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta


42nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

The Volvo Ocean Race ‘legends’ fleet of VO65s and VO70s will be lining up for a rematch, after tight competition in the 2020 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. I Love Poland, VO70, will return to defend their 2020 Regatta reign as CSA Ocean Racing 1 champions. Meanwhile, VO65 Janssen en de Jong, formerly Brunel, will vie for another podium as the team did in 2020 as Childhood1.

Przemyslaw Tarnacki will be back with his team from the Ocean Challenge Yacht Club onboard Team Austria Ocean Racing’s VO65, and this time adding a few more heavy hitters. On top of the Polish amateur sailors from the Club, the team is bringing on Pro sailors Chris Nicholson, Karol Jablonski and Lucas Chapman. Tarnacki and his team are St. Maarten Heineken Regatta veterans in their own right, competing in eight Regattas since their first in 2014.

“It was back in 2014, we chartered a proven Grand Soleil 43 Racer. I also remember the match racing contest inside the Simpson Bay Lagoon that we enjoyed finishing 3rd. Match Racing is my great love and applying it on bigger boats is always a great fun!” shared Tarnacki. He certainly will have plenty of match racing excitement at this year’s Regatta with four VO65s and the challenge of three more VO70s in the mix.

The Sun Fast 20s that Tarnacki reminisces about match racing in 2014 are now being used for the new Caribbean Youth Keelboat Challenge. Sint Maarten Yacht Club welcomes all Caribbean islands to send their own youth team to represent and compete. The goal is to grow participation and support for this event to provide local junior sailors with international competition exposure and opportunities.

Newcomers to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Matthew Barker’s Alfred Mylne 65, The Blue Peter, joins the Island Time class in his timeless classic yacht. The boat was named The Blue Peter for luck, after the ‘P’ flag, which is used as the preparatory signal before starting a race. Certainly not The Blue Peter’s first regatta, having won over 50 races in and around the south coast of England in her early tenure.

“We are coming this year with friends onboard to race in the Island Time class. Our oldest friend Robin was born the same year as the boat, in 1930, which probably means we will have the oldest boat and the oldest competitor,” said Barker.

Back on shore, sailors will gather at the Yacht Club Port de Plaisance for post-race hospitality, including prize-giving and light entertainment, before heading out to enjoy all of the island’s diverse offerings. Racers-of-age will be throwing back the Heinekens at the longtime sailor-favorite Soggy Dollar Bar, which is one of many local venues in the regatta-designated “Green”-zone. At registration, all teams will present either a copy of their vaccine card or recent negative Covid to receive their health clearance and Heineken Green wristbands, which will serve as a health pass to race, the race village, and “Green”-zone bars and restaurants around town.

While no concerts will be held this year in order to control crowd sizes, the shoreside celebrations will still be out of this world! Sailors are invited to Maho’s new rooftop MOONBAR to further enjoy post-race celebrations in style. Flashback to the days of Heinekens on the beach, sailors will head back to Kim Sha Beach where many past Regatta memories were made. This year, Roxxy Beach is welcoming sailors to join for an after-party in the sand on Sunday. Many more local venues in the “Green”-zone will be hosting specials for sailors, all updates will be shared on social media.

Whether it is your first ‘Heineken’ or one of many, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is ready to welcome all sailors. Give us a shout on social media, drop us a line, and feel free to send any Regatta inquiries to info@heinekenregatta.com.

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