As always, the Heineken Regatta is attracting an international field of competitors all anxious to test their skills in the challenging blue waters of the Caribbean. Veteran US campaigner James Muldoon and the crew of his Santa Cruz 72 Donnybrook will no doubt be swapping plenty of tacks with French skipper Rivet Gaetan aboard his Andrews 70, Renegade. The upper end of the fleet has also attracted Belgium’s Anders Johnson on the Swan 70, Blue Pearl; American Jim Swartz on the Swan 601, Moneypenny; and Trey Fitzgibbons aboard his Meritan 65, Mischievous. Perhaps they should all beware of Scott Bradford and his team of knowledgeable Caribbean sailors aboard the Reichel/Pugh-designed Titan 12, who will base their tactical calls on vast reserves of local knowledge.
Towards the other end of the spectrum, there promises to be nothing but tight racing in the Beneteau 40.7 ranks. Last year’s class winner Sergio Sargramoso of Puerto Rico, sailing Lazy Dog, will defend his title against the likes of Calvin Reed’s newly outfitted Elandra of Hamble, aboard which legendary racer and sailmaker Charles 'Butch' Ulmer will no doubt make his considerable presence known. Italy’s Franco Nanni ( Lancelot) and the United Kingdom’s Dan McGanty ( Past the Mark) are also sailing 40.7s, and Ondeck Racing has entered another pair of which Spirit of Venus will again be crewed by Dutch Royal Maurits van Oranje and sail under the name of Scarlet Oger, which may round out a strict one-design spinnaker class for the popular production boat from the powerful French boatbuilding concern.
But the Heineken regatta isn’t just about Grand Prix yachts and production one-designs, it’s also a throwback to a more genteel era of classic yachting. Alert, whose fine lines were drafted from the board of historic yacht designer Phillip Rhodes, and which is now lovingly sailed and owned by Holland’s Phil Warneke, certainly fits this bill. So, too, do the 12-Metres Kate, built by Phillip Walwyn on St. Kitts, and Geronimo, a graceful entry from Canadian Simon Handley. Rounsvelle W. Schaum’s U.S.-flagged Lone Fox, a Robert Clark 64, rounds out this prestigious group.
As for Heineken sailors, few hold the offshore credentials of South African Jean Jacques Provoyeur, a veteran of the BOC Challenge/Around Alone solo round the world race. Speaking of superlatives, the biggest boat in this year’s running of the regatta may well be the Swan 112 Highland Breeze, entered by Lord Irving Laidlaw of Monaco. The venerable Lord Laidlaw has owned and raced Swans in the top Caribbean regatta for many years.
Add it all together and the 2007 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, scheduled from March 1-4, will again be one of the year’s most memorable and best-attended events on the yacht-racing calendar. There is simply no excuse for not being there! For further information, an entry form and Notice of Race, contact: