Saturday, March 07, 2009

Heineken Regatta 2009: More Stuff, this and that

I must say, just to prove that I'm really not a grouch, that I was impressed with Carib Kiss yesterday. When they hauled up their anchor yesterday morning, they got quite close to us, but because they knew at that point that there was not much chain left down, they put their boat in reverse and dragged their anchor away from us. When they were well in the clear, they proceeded to pull up their anchor. So nice to see some COMMON SENSE! Thanks, guys!

Buffy keeps watch

Later that afternoon, a Bendy-Toy 50 or similar bareboat was attempting to anchor somewhere to starboard of us. We weren't aware of it until the view of their transom completely filled our salon windows. What???!!! Bob jumped out in the cockpit and was ready to deploy a fender. There were 7 or 8 crew on board but nobody was looking in the direction that the boat was actually going. When about 2 feet from T-boning us, the man at the wheel looked over his shoulder and seem surprised that we were in his way... He told Bob that he was under control... no "oops", no "pardon", no class :)

Fenders required - Photo by Paradise Connections ©2009
Fenders are a necessary part of your racing inventory

Here's some news from the Heineken Regatta that we've heard about, plus you can check out their Press Release for Day 1. Here are some excerpts:
It was not a day for the meek of heart or the weak of hull. For after a brief series of morning squalls, a northerly breeze packing gusts over 30-knots swept in with a vengeance, and the steady, pumping winds that accompanied them generated gear-busting seas of 8-10 feet and more. Torn sails, bruised sailors, broken equipment—as well as a dismasting, numerous collisions, and a near sinking—soon followed.

2009 Press release photo from heinekenregatta.comThe carnage began after the respective racing, cruising and bareboat classes came hard on the freshening breeze off Plum Point on the island’s western flank in the early stages of the day’s traditional round-the-island race, a 30-nautical mile course for the all-out racing divisions, and a slightly shortened 25-miler for the non-spinnaker and charter fleets...

Before all was said and done, at least two other crews would be thanking their lucky stars that the serious mishaps that befell them weren’t even more disastrous. The first was the team aboard the Melges 24, French Connection, who lost their mast off Point Blanche in the final stretch of the race, which ended nearby in Philipsburg’s Great Bay. The second was the crew of the Beneteau 47.7, Yo Yo, which was holed in a collision off Tintamarre, and with the boat beginning to flounder, made it to safe haven and the travel lift at Bobby’s Marina in Philipsburg in the nick of time.

“We jibed with another boat and right afterwards there was a collision,” said a Yo Yo crewman soon after the boat was safely in the slings of the boatyard hoist. “Their stanchion pierced our hull. We tried to plug the hole but as quick as we could get it out, it was coming right back in. We all put on lifejackets immediately and bailed as quickly as possible, but we couldn’t get ahead of it.” While French Connection and Yo Yo may have suffered the worst mishaps, there were countless other misadventures, as well. “There were some spectacular t-bones in the bareboat class, right at the windward mark,” said David De Vries, who had a ringside seat aboard Ian Hope-Ross’s Beneteau 36.7, Kick ‘em Jenny. “Then a squall came through and you could see all these spinnakers tearing and popping. It was wild.

“We clocked 32 knots of wind in the Anguilla Channel and 34 knots in the squall,” he added. “The waves were great with this enormous swell.”

Of course, it wasn’t all gloom and doom; in fact, amidst the fray, there was some tremendous sailing and boathandling. “We had a helluva ride,” said Billy Burke, a crew aboard the Newport, Rhode Island-based canting-keeled Cookson 50, Privateer. “Down the coast, we were surfing at 16-19 knots in a 4-6 foot swell, which we rode pretty well. It was a pretty spectacular spinnaker run.”

But even Privateer had their trials and tribulations, breaking their boom vang after the kite wrapped in a jibe just a few miles from the finish.
We saw quite a few boats returning early to the anchorage. Better safe than sorry.

Due to a forecast of continued heavy winds and swell, the Heineken Regatta race organizers have rescheduled racing on Saturday and Sunday for safety concerns. Courses will now be set off Simpson Bay.

Fenders necessary -  Photo by Paradise Connections © 2009Saturday’s party and entertainment schedule in Marigot will continue as previously planned. A water taxi from the St. Maarten Yacht Club to Port Royale Marina will be running between 5pm and 1:00am. Regatta participants can catch a water taxi from their anchored yacht into the Yacht Club and transfer to the Marigot Party Water Taxi.

Here's the beginning of the race from our vantage point...

Heineken Regatta 2009 -  Photo by Paradise Connections ©2009

Quite a ways in the distance but a nice sight!

Heineken Regatta 2009 -  Photo by Paradise Connections ©2009

So we hope everyone has a great time and returns back safely.

UPDATE: We heard that today's catamaran & Gunboat races have been cancelled.