The 40th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta takes place: March 5th – March 8th, 2020!
In 1980, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta started as the St. Maarten Regatta with a modest 12 sail boats participating. Three years later, in 1983, Heineken became a major sponsor of the St. Maarten Regatta and ‘Heineken’ was added to the name of the event. Heineken participated with a fee of 3,750 guilders (approximately $ 2,100). As a bonus, the competitors received ice cold Heineken beers from a passing powerboat while they were racing.
After the involvement of Heineken, the event grew fast. With the addition of a third day in 1990, the event grew to 187 boats in 1995 and 251 boats in 1999. Another racing day, the Commodore’s Cup, was added in 2005. The record amount of boats participating in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta was in 2008 with 284 boats.
Serious Fun Racing
Set in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, powered by the cooling northeast trade winds and run by an experienced, innovative and friendly race team, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is four days of world-class racing in idyllic conditions appealing to a broad range of tastes. Our four race committees provide custom-tailored racing for the thousands of sailors from more than 35 countries that come to race: from Olympic medalists and World Champions sailing Maxis and Performance Multihulls to holiday-makers on chartered Bareboats and live-aboard families cruising the Caribbean.
This year is the first day that there are 4 days of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, sailors are offered a mixture of races with a combination of windward-leeward and coastal races blended together into an irresistible cocktail of racing chosen to suit each class.
As the all-out racing monohulls savor the prospect of eight races over four days with windward-leeward races on two days and two longer coastal races testing both boat handling and tactics, it’s easy to understand why the regatta attracts a large competitive classes of 40ft and 50ft cruiser-racers. Non-spinnaker cruising boats get more varied courses with less emphasis on tight maneuvers but lots of strategic opportunities to keep the racing tight.
Maxis and Multihulls have their own race areas to stretch their legs with races suited to their sailing styles: an emphasis on coastal races with fewer windward legs for cruising-style multihulls and longer more challenging races for Performance Multihulls and Maxis. Live-aboard cruisers and others just wanting to be a part of the regatta get one medium-length race per day with a leisurely start time and the emphasis definitely more “Fun” than “Serious”.
Serious Fun Parties
With Heineken as a long-standing sponsor, you would expect the parties to be exceptional… you won’t be disappointed! With parties at varied locations around the island there are fantastic opportunities to experience the legendary nightlife for which the island is famous. St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has a well-earned reputation for hosting amazing artists like the Black Eyed Peas, UB40 featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey, Akon, Wyclef Jean, Shaggy, The Commodores, and Red Foo and the Party Rock Crew for the parties so that tired but happy sailors can party with an ice-cold Heineken in their hand and the sand between their toes as they watch the sun dip below the horizon.
Of course, this Regatta wouldn’t exist without the support of many sponsors! Please take a look at our sponsors.
Future dates of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta always takes place the first weekend of March. These are the dates for the next few years
- 2020: March 5th – March 8th
- 2021: March 4th – March 7th
- 2022: March 3rd – March 6th
- 2023: March 2nd – March 5th
the Sint Maarten Yacht Club
The Sint Maarten Yacht Club is the organizing entity of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. It is located on one of the best spots on the island, right next to the Simpson Bay Bridge. Here, one can enjoy a great view on all boats entering and leaving the lagoon. Especially during the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, when more than 100 sail boats go through this bridge!
The Sint Maarten Yacht Club is a great meeting place for its members who can enjoy the many activities and regattas that are organized throughout the year. The Sint Maarten Yacht Club also has a Sailing School, which provides sailing lessons to both adults and youth. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn how to sail in some of the world’s best sailing conditions with great winds and beautiful waters.
Are you interested in the events the Sint Maarten Yacht Club organizes? Or would you like to become a member? Please have a look at the Yacht Club’s website: www.smyc.com
The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is organized by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club Regatta Foundation in cooperation with Heineken as Title Sponsor. With such a big event, there are many people involved. We would like to give you the opportunity to be involved in the event yourself by signing up as volunteer.