March 2, 2018: ST. MAARTEN - The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta started with a bang yesterday, with 68 of the 100 teams taking to the water for the event’s separately scored Gill Commodore’s Cup. In light but consistent breeze, Maxi, Ocean Racing, CSA and Bareboat Classes set out on a series of stadium-style races off Simpson Bay, competing in short around-the-buoy courses. Taking home the event’s coveted “Most Worthy Yacht” trophy was Sam Talbot’s team aboard the J/111 Spike, which finished with straight bullets in three races held in the fiercely competitive CSA 3 Class.
"Event newcomer in the Maxi Class, Brazillian team Camiranga in yesterday's Gill Commodore's Cup" - photo credit © Laurens Morel
“We were up against a lot of very competitive boats that are well known on the Caribbean circuit, so we were excited with this outcome,” said Talbot whose team of U.S. and BVI sailors is probably one of the younger ones competing, with the average age onboard being 30. The team has its work cut out for it, with heavy hitters such as U.S. entrants El Ocaso, Touch2Play and Apollo biting at their heels.
“This is my second time racing in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and we are so happy to see such an incredible turnout of competition. We owe today’s win to some great crew work onboard and will have to stay on our ‘A Game’ for the remaining three days, as we now have a target on our back.”
"Close racing action at yesterday's start" - photo credit © Laurens Morel
Also posting victories in all its races for the day was Neil Harvey and Mike Cannon’s Dufour 44 KHS&S Contractors in the event’s highly competitive Bareboat Class. The U.S. team raced with Paralympic sailor Brad Kendall trimming the main. “We have an awesome crew sailing with us, and the conditions really worked well for the boat today,” said Harvey, who has raced in the regatta for the past 15 years and is always a top contender for the win. “We normally race on a different charter boat, but we weren’t able to get that one due to the damage from the Hurricane. However, this boat today was incredible and complemented our team beautifully. We are curious to see how we fare as the conditions lighten in the coming days, but regardless, we know it will be a fun time.”
On Friday, the fleet will embark on the event’s famed 26 nautical mile Around-the Island Race before taking to buoy and coastal races on Saturday and Sunday.
Video recap of yesterday's action
For full results, visit http://regattaguru.com/heineken/100254