March 4, 2022 — Simpson Bay — Day two of racing at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta certainly didn’t disappoint, as a majority of the fleet enjoyed the favored Round the Island Race. From Diam 24s to a 100-ft Maxi yacht, all teams found great challenge and reward in this 30+ NM course around St. Maarten.
Everything was off to a great start, with the entire race fleet heading towards a windward mark off of Pelican Key before bearing away to their respective course for the day. The Island Time class took off towards St. Barths with a slightly later start and a more relaxed course to enjoy racing on their own time. Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet engaged in a close-quarter chase race on their clockwise circumnavigation of St. Maarten, which resulted in some “Serious Fun!”
The bareboat fleet may have only raced partially around the island today, but they certainly didn’t miss out on all of the action! The fleet converged at the leeward mark, as the big boats screamed down the course with spinnakers up, encroaching on the bareboat fleet towards the southwest corner of the island.
Since the Maxis started last today, the big boats had to maneuver through a very mixed fleet as they pushed over 20 knots of boat speeds. Like a wildcat hunting its prey, Maxis like Leopard3 were quickly over the bareboats’ shoulders, creating massive wind shadows that left the bareboats bobbing with baited breath.
The leeward mark was certainly chaotic with maxis, multis and monos of all shapes and sizes cutting it way too close for comfort at the mark rounding. Unfortunately a collision occurred between monohull Isobel and a multihull, leaving an unsightly gash on her stern quarter, but luckily did not keep her from finishing the race. Ultimately the team earned second place in CSA3 for the day.
In CSA1, VO65 Janssen de Jong doubled-down, taking first place today after yesterday’s second, and now securing their spot in first place overall. However, the most impressive jump in CSA1 was Przemyslaw Tarnacki and his Ocean Challenge Yacht Club team, who took second place in the Round the Island race, making a big leap from yesterday’s 10th place, and now sitting mid-fleet overall.
“Our Ocean Challenge Yacht Club Team consists of 70% of amateurs, set up for the first time here on Tuesday. That means that each afternoon we are two times better than in the morning of the same day. The learning curve is a big step for us. Thanks to our Pros, brave hearts, and hard work of our amateurs, we experience a unique blend that is a hallmark of our club. It is a great process that we are happy to develop here in St. Maarten, having Ukraine in our hearts right now, waving two flags at the stern: Polish and Ukrainian!” shared Tarnacki.
While the big boats are expected to excel in a long 30-NM course, the real showstoppers were the Diam 24 fleet of Multihull class 2 who came around Pelican Rock on the final leg of the race alongside the Volvo65s! You have to see it to believe it, as these pocket trimarans soar by with flying hulls, navigating a big ocean swell that sometimes leaves just the tip of their square-top mainsails in sight. To put it in perspective, it took Diam 24 class winner Cry Macho 03:02:03 hrs elapsed time to finish nearly the same course around the island as CSA1 winner VO65 Janssen de Jong, whose elapsed time was 02:54:38 hrs.
“It was an unforgettable sailing day today when our Diam 24 series started almost last and the first Diam crossed the finish line at the same time as the 2 first Maxis! Sometimes the noise of the easing winch on the Maxis next to us reminds us of such a size difference. Also, trying to overtake a Maxi boat by leeward is quite impossible as the dead wind zone would literally stop our small craft and would give us such big work to build up speed again. What a nice race — Salty day!” said Pierre Altier, Diam24 representative for North America and owner of Diam 24, Cry Baby, who is currently in second place in Multihull 2.
In CSA5, there was a complete change up in the class, with local Melges24 team F.K.G. taking 5th place after their 1st place win yesterday, but still securing 2nd place overall. Team Arabella on their brand-new Cape 31 seem to have figured out their groove, taking 1st place in today’s Round the Island Race, after coming in 6th place Day 1, and now rising to 4th place overall. There are no clear favorites for winners of this class, so it will definitely be down to the last race day to see who reigns supreme.
CSA7 class continues the close competition, with the first 7 places determined by less than a minute margin between each place on corrected time for the Round the Island Race. This class is also anyone’s game, with J111 Spike and J122 Liquid currently tied for first place overall. Both of these boats switched places, taking second and third, respectively, today. Meanwhile, Dauntless and El Ocaso seemed to have swapped hats, Dauntless taking 1st place today and 6th place yesterday while El Ocaso did the opposite.
In CSA8, GFA Caraïbes – La Morrigane, a Surprise Archambault 25, has comfortably found its place at the top of the fleet, taking 1st place both days of racing. Second and third place are still to be determined, with Maëlia CEPAC Antilles (X-Yacht 34) and Solstice (J105) tied for the podium.
For complete results of the expansive fleet, visit www.yachtscoring.com. With two days still remaining in the Regatta and bigger breeze coming this weekend, all teams must continue to bring their all!