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Heineken Regatta

The eastern Caribbean is known for its reliable tradewinds, and this winter and spring it’s been particularly windy. The exception, unfortunately, was for last weekend’s three-day, 200-boat, 31st annual Heineken Regatta in St. Martin. As the officials wrote, "Every edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta takes on its own personality, and Number 31 in the annual series will be remembered as a largely light-air affair. Ironically, it’s been a very windy winter on the idyllic Caribbean isle, but for the most part this weekend, the usually reliable tradewinds were fitful and elusive, and racing was conducted in breeze of 10 knots or less. In nearly every class, those sailors adept at eking out every last tenth of a knot of boat speed; sniffing out every last zephyr, no matter how gentle or transitory; and capitalizing on the constantly shifting breeze, particularly in the wake of passing squalls, were the ones who topped the podium in their respective divisions."

Light winds prevailed in the 31st Annual Heineken Regatta.

© Heineken Regatta / Tom Zinn

To the best of our knowledge, the only West Coast entry was the Santa Cruz group aboard the Moorings 50.5 Lynch Mob. Armed with not the greatest light air boat in the world, they finished tied for fourth in the seven-boat Bareboat One class, but dropped to fifth with the tie-breaker. Having met with this group prior to the Heineken, we’re pretty sure they finished higher in the party standings.

Playing bumper boats was inevitable so crews just did what they could to mitigate the damage.

© Heineken Regatta / Bob Greiser

While sailing conditions for this year’s Heineken may not have been the best ever, it remains one of the great tropical regattas in the world. We highly recommend it — particularly if the rest of the charter week is spent recovering at 15-mile distant St. Barth.

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Two moorings from Ayala Cove went walkabout but were successfully salvaged. ‘Diver Dave’ will reset them this week, and survey the remaining field.
From the visitor center at the Miraflores Locks, travelers check out the nonstop action of international vessels moving from coast to coast.