heiken reggata

Bareboating at the Heineken Regatta

By Lynn Fitzpatrick

March 7, 2010 (Sint Maarten) - Added in 1991 to keep the regatta alive, the bareboat fleet is the mainstay of the Heineken Regatta. The high water mark for bareboat entries was in 2008 when 125 bareboats participated. Nearly100 bareboats from The Moorings, Sunsail, Dream Yachts Caribbean, VPM Best Sail and TJB Enterprises comprise seven highly competitive bareboat divisions at the 30th Annual Heineken Regatta.

Not only is the Caribbean Sailing Association proud of its rating rule for monohulls and the Open Class, it has established a Bareboat Rating Rule that is applied at the Heineken Regatta and other Caribbean regattas.

To ensure that the Heineken Regatta is Serious Fun! for all, the organizers have several bareboat classes in which the boats are equalized as much as possible. The bareboat classes are only open to boats from recognized bareboat companies. Only equipment provided as standard by the bareboat company is allowed. No spinnakers, spinnaker poles, whisker poles or second headsails are permitted. Additionally, crews cannot have an affiliation or familiarity with the vessel being sailed, sails or equipment. In short, everything should be random and no ringers are allowed. That said, there are a couple of skippers who make annual trips to the podium to collect top honors in the bareboat divisions.

There are seven bareboat charter divisions this year. As few as seven and as many as 17 bareboats are in each division. The largest bareboat yachts are in the Bareboat 1 division. With eight Harmony 52’s and Beneteau Oceanis 52’s, the Bareboat 1 division start is as exciting to watch as the Spinnaker 1 or the Open Class starts.

The Cyclades 50 is a popular charter yacht. With 32 Cyclades 50’s from the Moorings registered, there are two divisions.

Sunsail’s Beneteau Oceanis 473/ Sunsails 473 with an .865 jib comprises the Bareboat 4 division. Beneteau Cyclades 43/Sunsail 43 from Sunsail, The Moorings and VPM compete in the Bareboat 5 Division. A combination of Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 441/Sunsail 441’s, Harmony 47’s and Beneteau Oceanis 43/Moorings 43.4’s make up the Bareboat 6 fleet and 36’ to 40’ bareboat monohulls round off the Bareboat 7 division.

It’s March and there are a lot of people in North America and Europe who are tired of the overcast, frigid days and snowstorms and chartering a bareboat with a group of family and friends is exciting. Planning, even down to the smallest details of what color T-shirts and regatta attire your team is going to wear at the Heineken Regatta can brighten those dead of winter days.

Teams from Russia, Holland, USA, Great Britain, Italy and Canada return annually to race in the bareboat fleet. When they finally reach Sint Maarten they are sure to have Serious Fun! They experience hot competition on the water and get to explore the island at the various party venues. One night it’s Port de Plaisance; the next it is Phillipsburg and Great Bay. Saturday’s destination is Marigot and Sunday’s Prize Giving and Final Party are in Simpson Bay. As the week goes on more and more comatose bodies are found on the decks of boats in the mooring fields and in the marinas when it’s time to shove off for the day’s racing.

Start planning your participation in the Serious Fun! of the 31st annual Heineken Regatta, commit to a bareboat charter now.