The Heineken Regatta of St Martin is a big deal. Hundreds of boats arrived to race or spectate and nearly everyone participated in the parties. There were various race courses and boat classes. The races and parties spanned 4 days. The parties went on all night long, like until 04:00 or 05:00. I don’t know how the crew partied all night and then raced the next morning around 09:30! Hard core! After my not-so-impressive pictures, I included some incredible shots from the Heineken Regatta website from this year’s races. Amazing!
This is what it looked like when we parked our dinghy at 08:00 to watch the racing boats go out the 08:30 bridge opening. We had to climb across other dinghies and lock up to our friends’ dinghies instead of the dock.
As the sun rose higher, we watched the race preparations. They inflated the floating markers…
And then towed them out into the bay.
Some of the markers were huge!
This was the group of boats that went out through the 08:30 bridge opening, sped up double-time since it was over 11 minutes. There were a few nonracing boats that snuck through with the racing boats. Notice how long Highland Fling is when it goes through (around minute 3:28). It is a beautiful dark-hulled monohull with a crew of more than 20 people. There is an official Regatta picture below that will put that size in perspective for you.
The races began somewhere around 9:30 AM. The official start time was declared as “no earlier than 09:30.” I thought that was hilarious. So, to watch them start, we dinghied out into the bay.
I like this picture because of the splash of red in a mostly colorless background. This boat passed right by us to go join the races.
This is what we looked like out there: a small fish in a big sea. There weren’t many of us crazy enough to watch by dinghy. The water may look calm in the pictures, but it was pretty bouncy in a dinghy. I was using my long distance lens and started to feel not so good after a while. I didn’t get sick, but it was touch and go for a bit. Oh the sacrifices I make to share our experiences!
We could have done it this way and paid for a spot on a bigger boat. But this is not the cheapo cruiser way. These must be resort or cruise ship people. They do look awfully white.
There were no small planes trailing banners to sell Geico Insurance or Budweiser, no blimps advertising Good Year Tires, but there was this boat advertising sail art making rounds through the nonexistent crowds. I’m not sure who they were targeting.
The jibs went up in preparation for the start, only one slow poke had yet to raise it. This didn’t bode well for their racing skills.
We assumed that when the boats all clustered together in near striking distance that they must have been jockeying for start position.
The heeling started when the races were underway. I couldn’t zoom in any closer at this point and my picture taking was about done as my stomach started to revolt.
These races circled the bay instead of looping the island. They disappeared past the point and then turned back farther out.
Pictured at the top of the page are the catamaran races. I loved seeing these because they looked so colorful in comparison to the monohulls. The megayacht pictured above had front row seats for these races. I bet I wouldn’t have felt weird at all focusing through my lens from their deck. Dang, I should have asked to come aboard.
Arguably, the best part of the races were the parties. Obviously, they were a lot of fun, especially for Dave. I think he was having way too much fun.
The band in the tent was really good. Dave was totally impressed with their version of Lionel Ritchie. Hahaha! Thinking of you, John Rowland.
My nerdy guy volunteered to help the Heineken Regatta with their Linux-based system. He monitored the health of the servers to make sure everything kept running properly.
All that server gibberish kept the stats updated by communicating with a server in Las Vegas. Now, if you are truly interested in seeing what the Heineken Regatta was like, below are a few of the incredible shots from the official website. To see more, click here. It looks chaotic to me. Perhaps organized mayhem is what racing is. Anyway, the boats get too close for my nerves. No thank you. I’ll leave it to the professionals!
Next up… We give wake boarding a try in the Simpson Bay of Sint Maarten with Blue Moon, Mowzer, and Wild Cat. Funny stuff!