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New two-handed class for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 2 Dec 17:12 GMT 26 February - 3 March 2019
New two-handed class for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta © SMHR

Now in its 39th year, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta celebrates world-class racing over four days, with some of the most seasoned sailors, from countries all over the globe.

This year there will be a new class specifically for boats crewed by two people to offer another fantastic racing opportunity in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean.

The St Maarten Heineken Regatta Racing Director, Paul Miller explains, "We were approached by a keen competitor, Ron Canizares, asking us to consider a two-handed class citing the increasing popularity of this kind of racing. I quickly realised that with our flexibility of race management, we could meet this requirement easily."

The popularity of two-handed racing has continued to grow, particularly since 2013 when a father and son crew won the Rolex Fastnet Race. Designers and boat builders have helped to drive the popularity of two-handed sailing with specifically designed boats such as the popular JPK 1010 and the exciting new J/121.

Paul Miller continues, "We are introducing racing tailored for two-handed crews by offering courses with reaching starts on a separate uncongested start and incorporating longer legs with fewer mark roundings. This "mini Fastnet" style racing is perfect for two-handed crews than the more conventional windward-leeward short course racing enjoyed by other boats. We are confident that this new addition will appeal to a growing segment of the sailing community. We can't wait to welcome everyone to St Maarten for serious sailing and serious fun!"

Double-handed racing is an excellent opportunity to increase sailing skills which can then be used when racing on fully crewed boats and a smaller crew means less people to manage and logistics to organise. It's also a fantastic way to hone skills as double-handed sailors have to understand what is required in all the different race positions.

With more than 50 entries already, the organisers are welcoming back Kialoa III, the 78ft Palmer Johnson-built sailing Maxi from the United States who won first place in the Maxi class last year. Fling 16, which is a new 'Fling' as this team has raced in many editions of the St Maarten Heineken Regatta with Highland Fling XI and Sergio Sagramosa from Puerto Rico with 'Lazy Dog' who nailed down first place in CSA 1 in 2018.

Other entrants include Rocket Dog II from the United Kingdom, Pitanga from Sweden and TAZ from Antigua and Barbuda. Robert Szustkowski's HH66 R-SIX team from Poland is back for gold after coming second place overall in 2017. Also competing are chartered bareboats with teams from Europe and the USA each with their sights set on securing top sailing honours at this year's prestigious regatta.

A year after Hurricane Irma, the island of St. Maarten has recovered quickly. The St Maarten Heineken Regatta is a vital sailing event for the local community and sailors can look forward to a very warm welcome as well as stunning sailing. With more and more hotels reopening and the airport able to handle far more capacity, this year's regatta is all set to exceed expectations.

As well as the unique racing experience, the St Maarten Heineken Regatta celebrates with four nights of parties packed with music and entertainment from leading international and regional artists. Previous years have hosted artists like Shaggy, Black Eyed Peas, Kool and the Gang and UB40 – and with Heineken as title sponsor, sailors can make land, crack open a cold beer and party the night away.

Entries for the 39th St Maarten Heineken Regatta are now open, and can be submitted online, here: regattaguru.com/heineken/100268

For more information about St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, please visit: www.heinekenregatta.com

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