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28 February 2005, 02:10 pm
Massive Fleet Shaping Up For 25th St Maarten Heineken Regatta
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St Maarten Heineken Regatta:©Event Media

St Maarten Heineken Regatta
St Maarten, Netherlands Antilles

As befits a Silver Jubilee event, the entry list for the 2005 St Maarten Heineken Regatta is filling up apace, with massive entries, particularly in the Bareboat class, but also in the multihulls and racing classes.
With four days to go before the first day of racing, a remarkable 122 entries have their names on the list for the Bareboats. These range from a one-design class of 50 footers, to mixed battalions of smaller boats. In the Bareboats some of Netherland's top domestic racers are here warming up for the coming European season. This year there are three all-girl teams: Something Hot, Sailing Team Clima Airco and the Good Girls team from Curacao. The Clima Airco Sailing Team are raising money for the St Maarten orphanage following a well established fund raising tradition at the regatta.

Another burgeoning class is the multihulls, with 18 boats split about evenly between racing and cruising. The racing class varies from Larus Roc, a record breaker better known under the name of Paragon, down to one of the oldest racing trimarans, Patrick TURNER's 36ft Newick, Tryst.

The perennial war between St Maarten's Bobby VELASQUEZ and Antigua's Hugh BAILEY is not being resumed this year as BAILEY has not entered Hugo to join battle once again. Antiguan colours are being taken up in Non-Spinnaker Division by Bernie EVAN WONG's Huey Too, but the 40ft Huey might not be in the same class as VELASQUEZ's L'Esperance.

Making a welcome return to St Maarten is a crew from Barbados, once well represented here, but lately not venturing far from their home waters. Ralph JOHNSON is bringing Rapajam, a Beneteau 53F5, to sail in the Non-Spinnaker division. VELASQUEZ might have to look out for the Bajans as their legendary prowess on the race course won't have dimmed over time. It could be that both the local boat and the Antiguan might be eclipsed by the boat from Barbados.

Stand out boats at the top end include Peter HARRISON's (GBR) 115ft Sojana in the Spinnaker class. HARRISON will be using this event as a warm up for the Rolex Transatlantic later this year when his boat will go across the big pond from New York to the English Channel.

In the big racing class it is Tom HILL'S Titan 12 that will doubtless head the fleet on the water, but he will have to be sailing well to beat some of the smaller craft and one of the Caribbean's top sailors, Mike GREEN from St Lucia, is rumoured to be conducting a Beneteau 40.7 in the spinnaker division.

Dick Johnson (as amended by ISAF), Image: © Event Media
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