Island Marine

Island Marine (960)

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Over the course of three days, February 22nd to February 25th of this year, St. Maarten underwent another Bi-annual Country Assessment.

Two facilities were assessed, namely, the A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities and Chevron Bulk Station. The facilities were found to be in satisfactory compliance and no major non-conformities were found.

There were some recommendations made, which the local ISPS Committee will be working diligently to implement in order to correct the non-conformities and increase the level of compliance.

International Port Security Liaison Officers (IPSLO) Steven J. Boyle, David Otani and Chaning D. Burgess, along with Mario Biabiany in his capacity as the St. Maarten RSO (Recognized Security Organization) and Claudius Carty of Shipping & Maritime Affairs/ISPS Committee, visited the aforementioned facilities and conducted said assessments.

The IPSLOs, in U.S. Coast Guard Activities, engage with over 150 partner nations, territories and countries worldwide. The U.S. Coast Guard’s International Port Security (IPS) Program was established in 2003 to reinforce implementation of the ISPS Code as part of the U.S. Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA).

Through the assessment of ISPS Code implementation and other anti-terrorism security measures in foreign ports and through bilateral discussions to share and align port security practices, the Coast Guard IPS Program seeks to reduce risks to ports and ships, and to the entire maritime transport system.

As an internationally accepted blueprint for maritime security measures, the ISPS Code serves as a sound foundation from which countries can build their own domestic maritime security system.

Through its IPS Program, the U.S. Coast Guard is committed to assisting those nations that have not fully implemented the ISPS Code. They are also committed to furthering their engagement and security dialogue with their maritime trading partners that are moving beyond the ISPS Code through advancements in their maritime operational capabilities, maritime situational awareness, and maritime governance.

These efforts require international cooperation between the maritime industry and all flag and port states. By exchanging port security-related information and sharing best practices, we can better protect the international maritime transport system through the application of adequate and proportionate security measures.

Ultimately, vessels arriving in the United States from foreign ports with adequate security measures are less likely to be targeted for port state control actions. This reduces potential delays and facilitates safe and secure maritime trade.

In the Photo L-R : Chaning D. Burgess, Louis Halley, Miguel de Weever, David Otani, Steven J . Boyle, Claudius Carty.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Port St. Maarten Management wishes all participants and visitors to the 36th Annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta a safe and enjoyable event.

The Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority would like to advise motorists in connection with the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta activities in the Simpson Bay area during the next few days, to avoid passing through the aforementioned area if heading to the Airport/Maho/Beacon Hill/Low Lands, and/or for those heading to Cole Bay/Philipsburg, to use the Causeway Bridge instead.  This would help with lessening traffic congestion in the Simpson Bay area. 

Additional bridge openings in connection with the regatta are as follows: Friday, 8.00AM; Friday, 6.00PM; Saturday, 8.00AM; Sunday, 8.00AM.

Secondly, motorists are advised to pay attention to the bridge STOP LIGHTS and BOOMS, and to respect and observe the aforementioned once they have been activated alerting motorists that the bridge will be opening.  This is in the interests of safety for motorists.

At the Walter Plantz Square, there will be a “Special Fireball Friday” dance party which starts at 5.00pm and roll on to 1.00am.    

Come Rock your night away with the ladies of sound DJ Colayshan, DJ Lil R and non-other than House DJ, the party Rocker DJ EM!!!

There will be performances by Singing Olivia, Keila Michelle, Roxxy, Lolita and Guest Performance by The one, the only Shadowman!

At the Walter Plantz Square, you will also have the opportunity to patronize three restaurants – Irie Gardens, Lay Back Bar & Grill, Oranje Café - that would have great drink specials along with great dinning all night. It’s Walter & Heineken - Make sure you are there; can you say WALTER!!!!

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The Essilor Vision Foundation is committed to eliminating poor vision and its lifelong consequences, and to providing underprivileged people the opportunity to live a better life through better sight. 

Since 2008 the Essilor Vision Foundation has provided more than 690,000 screenings to individuals in need with the help of many partners.

As part of a collaborative initiative with the Kidz at Sea Foundation, Essilor’s Dr. Howard Purcell with 8 team members arrived on St. Maarten on Monday February 29th to conduct eye exams for the Kidz At Sea participants as well as participants of other affiliated Foundations at the Milton Peter College (MPC).

On March 1st and 2nd approximately 100 eye exams were performed. First at MPC for the youth participants and then the doctor and his team moved to the White and Yellow Cross.

Due to the very limited time of the visit, the patients most in need were coordinated via the Ministry of VSA and the White and Yellow Cross to receive an eye examination and prescription eye glasses if needed.eye exam 2

All exams performed by Essilor Vision Foundation and all glasses needed are provided free of charge to the patients, including prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses (frames and lenses) if needed.

This generous increase of care and support to The Kidz at Sea Foundation and by extension the greater St. Maarten Community is overwhelming and we cannot describe how fortunate we are to have Essilor onboard with us as we sail the 36th annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

Students that have trouble with their studies because of poor vision have been granted a brand new opportunity to see a brighter future. For the Elderly and rehabilitative patients, life just got a little bit sweeter.

Minister of VSA Emil Lee commented, "I am so impressed with the generosity of Essilor Vision Foundation to the people of St Maarten.

Their contribution of time, energy and expertise has helped to improve the quality of life for many of St Maarten's most vulnerable especially our elderly that are in the care of the White and Yellow Cross.

Besides helping to check so many students at Milton Peters College and patients of the White and Yellow Cross, the team from Essilor made time for some of the neediest of our people. A special thanks to Dr. Howard Purcell, Ellen Haag, Laura Healy, Roni Kennison of Essilor and to St. Maarten’s Lorraine Talmi, Garth Steyn, Bregje Boetekees, and Peggy-Ann Dros for their contributions to making this possible.”

EYE EXAM

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten - The Sint Maarten Yacht Club is buzzing with life as competitors arrive for the 36th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.
 
Registration opens today, with an estimated 2000 sailors from 32 different countries participating and many thousand more visitors arriving in St. Maarten for the legendary party atmosphere. World Class sailors and passionate Corinthian sailors will be racing in a huge variety of boats from beach cats to super maxis, and all manner of boats in between, including the largest number of multihulls racing at any major Caribbean regatta.
 
Wednesday March 2 - The shore side entertainment programme kicks off with Team Brunel @ The Meet & Greet. Volvo Ocean 65, Team Brunel, will be racing at this year's regatta. Members of the team, that finished second in the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race, will be available for a Question & Answer opportunity at the Sint Maarten YC from 1700.
 
Thursday March 3 - Racing for the Gill Commodore's Cup starts the on the water action. The stand-alone event is proving ever popular as the curtain raiser for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, well over 70 yachts are expected to be racing. The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Welcome Party will be held from 1700 at Port de Plaisance with top DJs spinning the tunes until late.
 
Friday March 4 - Racing starts for the 36th Edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta with a Round the Island Race. At 1700 Party at Boardwalk, Phillipsburg includes a new Boardwalk Market. Musical entertainment is provided by the best of St. Maarten's Bands & DJs.
 
Saturday March 5 - The second day of racing at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta features four separate race courses with most of the racing taking place south of St. Maarten. The scheduled finish for the last race is The Heineken Finish in Simpson Bay. The party action moves to Kim Sha Beach with Mixmaster Pauly, Honeypot, Orange Grove, Ziggy Recado & Rock City.
 
Sunday March 6 - The final day of racing at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has just one race scheduled for all classes. The final party at Kim Sha Beach kicks off from midday. The Prize-giving Ceremony starts at 1800 and the party goes on well into the night with The Cut Creator, DJ Outkast, The Cornerstone, Youth Waves Band and the big act of the regatta, multi-award winning rapper, Akon.
ANTIGUA - Take a look at the glorious 2016 RORC Caribbean 600 Race.
 
70 Boats from 30 different countries, 600 nautical miles, 11 Caribbean Islands.
 
1 Amazing Race Records set in the 2016 race. Spectacular aerial footage from the start and from around the course.
 
On board footage from some of the competitors. Phaedo3 arrival, Comanche and other finishers, expert analysis, prizegiving and much more...
Four VNRs with broadcast quality footage are available on request from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten - This year's 36th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is nothing less than an island-wide effort. Besides the sponsors, countless volunteers and the numerous local organizations that offer their excellent services, the Regatta Organizers would like to say special thanks to the hotels which are so generous to donate complimentary hotel rooms for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and they are glad to announce that the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) continued their support for another edition of the world-renowned event.
 
The Organizers are really grateful that again so many hotels were eager to partner up with the annual event. They would like to thank their long-time supporters such as Simpson Bay Resort, Belair Beach Hotel and Holland House for their great support by offering the Regatta Organization multiple hotel rooms for a longer term. The hotels make the Regatta Organization able to accommodate their indispensable international judges and media team who come to our island from all over the world.

'One of our goals is to generate return visitors, not solely for the Regatta, but definitely also in low season. We strive to give visitors the experience that make them willing to come back year after year. The Regatta is one, but there are so many other things that the island of St. Maarten has to offer.' Says Regatta Director, Michelle van der Werff.
 
Based in the centre of all Regatta happenings, Atrium Resort & Spa will offer a spot only walking distance from the office. Last year' newbies to the list Horizon View Beach Hotel, Carl's Unique Inn and the Summit Resort Hotel committed to another year of Serious Fun. And Alegria Resort, or how their slogan states 'a world of happiness', is the new hotel Regatta Organizers are proud to add to their list.
 
Even a smaller, boutique hotel like Blue Pelican showed generosity by making a room available. Blue Pelican, with only 13 apartments for rent, offers the same comfort, but more intimacy and privacy than the bigger hotels. Furthermore, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Organizers are really happy that this year Divi Little Bay is supporting them again with their stunning ocean views.
 
All of this wouldn't have been possible with the loyal support of the SHTA, which recently announced a renewal of their sponsorship for the 36th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. "We are extremely proud of the opportunity to contribute toward this fantastic regatta and all the Serious Fun it brings to St. Maarten. As advocates of Hospitality and Tourism, we view the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta as one of the premier events to showcase our island and our hospitality." States Anenda Zaandam, Executive Director of the SHTA.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten On February 25, 2016 an article appeared in the local media in which the Sint Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA) misinforms the general public about the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) N.V. As the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies values truth, transparency, and integrity, the latter would like to set the record straight.

Who is SLAC?

SLAC is a company that was incorporated in 2002 by Sint Maarten Economic Development Corporation N.V., a fully owned company of the Country Sint Maarten, formerly the Island Territory of Sint Maarten (the Government). In 2009, the Government decided to transfer the shares of SLAC to the Sint Maarten Ports Authority N.V., which is part of the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies.

What does SLAC do?

SLAC’s main tasks consist of:

-       operating and maintaining the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge in Simpson Bay

-       collecting the bridge fees for the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge

-       collecting the mooring fees in the Simpson Bay Lagoon

-       supporting the Government in creating policies for the management and administration of the Simpson Bay Lagoon

-       maintaining the shipping lanes and mooring facilities in the Simpson Bay Lagoon

-       monitoring activities of vessels and persons in the Simpson Bay Lagoon, including possible waste and fuel disposals, and report any incidents or irregularities to the competent authorities of the Government

-       advising the Government on development matters of the Simpson Bay Lagoon

-       operating the Simpson Bay Causeway

On what legal basis does SLAC perform these tasks?

On the basis of a management agreement that was entered into in 2003 between SLAC and the Government; the Ordinance Harbour Fees, and the Ordinance Bridge Fees. SLAC operates the Simpson Bay Causeway based on an agreement with Simpson Bay Causeway N.V., which is part of the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies.

Does SLAC receive any funds from Government?

No, it does not. Its sole source of income is the collection of bridge fees for the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge and mooring fees for the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

Does SLAC determine the bridge fees and mooring fees?

No, it does not. SLAC collects the aforementioned fees, but does not determine the fee structure or the amount that vessels need to pay for passing the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge or to moor in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. This is done by Government via the Ordinance Harbour Fees, and the Ordinance Bridge Fees.

What does SLAC do with the fees it collects?

The collected fees are used to operate and maintain the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge; and to maintain the shipping lines and the mooring facilities in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. This includes repayment of large capital expenses incurred in connection with the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge.

Does SLAC make a profit?

No, it does not. The fees it collects are insufficient to properly operate, maintain, repair and replace the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge, and pay for other required expenses. The J.S. Lejeuz Bridge is near the end of its life cycle. This is one of the main reasons why the Simpson Bay Causeway was constructed, to guarantee continuous traffic flow in Sint Maarten once the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge needs to be replaced.

Does SLAC compete with the marina industry in the Simpson Bay Lagoon?

No, it does not. SLAC does not operate a marina in the Simpson Bay Lagoon; SLAC does not own any marina slips; SLAC does not provide goods to vessels that make use of private marina’s in the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

Does SLAC in any form or shape regulate the marine business in the Simpson Bay Lagoon?

No, it does not. Its role is limited to collecting bridge fees and mooring fees and supporting and advising the Government on matters relating to the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

Who regulates the marine business in the Simpson Bay Lagoon?

The Government regulates the marine business in the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

Does SLAC have any environmental control over the Simpson Bay Lagoon?

No, it does not. Its role is limited to reporting any incidents to the competent authorities of the Government.

Who is currently the competent authority for environmental matters concerning the Simpson Bay Lagoon?

The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) of the Government of Sint Maarten.

Is the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies subject of any civil inquiry investigations by the Public Prosecutor?

No, it is not. The Public Prosecutor has requested the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies to provide information in view of possible civil inquiry investigations, and full cooperation has been given. To this date the Public Prosecutor has not seen any reason to file a request for any civil inquiry proceedings against the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies.

Is the managing director of the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies subject to any investigations or security screening?

No, he is not. There are no investigations into the managing director, and in 2015 he successfully passed the mandatory screening by the Sint Maarten Security Service. He is the only managing director of a port or marina in Sint Maarten that has to date successfully passed such screening.

Are managing directors of commercial marina’s also subject to security screenings?

Yes, they are. Security screenings are to be performed in respect of designated confidential positions within the vital sectors of Sint Maarten. One of the sectors that has been designated as of vital interest to Sint Maarten is the sector of commercial sea harbors. This includes managing directors of all commercial sea harbors in Sint Maarten. To the knowledge of the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies, such managing directors have not complied with their statutory duty to undergo and pass such security screenings.

The Port St. Maarten Group of Companies expects that in the future, the SMMTA, of which the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies is also a member, will refrain from further incorrect statements about one of its members, Port St. Maarten Group of Companies and SLAC in particular.

COLE BAY, St. Maarten – On March 1st the Save Our Sharks Project of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance will launch a petition calling for better protection of sharks in the territorial waters of Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, Saba, the rest of the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands.

On a global scale, sharks are threatened by overfishing and destruction of their habitat. By signing the petition, people can show their support for shark conservation and encourage decision makers to protect these critical yet misunderstood creatures. The petition asks for the strengthening of legal instruments, implementation of concrete protective measures in all waters, a permanent ban on shark finning and fishing on St Maarten and improved international coordination with regard to sharks in the wider Caribbean.

Tadzio Bervoets, Manager of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation and Chair of the Save our Sharks Project commented that harks are not frightening or dangerous, and they play an essential role as predators to keep the sea healthy; “Unfortunately 25% of all shark species are threatened with extinction worldwide, therefore, we are now asking all inhabitants of the Kingdom to speak up for protection of these extraordinary animals. Shark populations around St. Maarten, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba and St. Eustatius have declined and we need these top predators to maintain the health of the reef and fish stocks around the island. They also add direct economic benefits through the amount of dive-tourist sharks attract.”

The petition is part the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) Save our Sharks Project, a shark conservation initiative of the nature organizations collaborating in the DCNA), and is funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

During Sint Maarten Shark Week which is to be held from the 18th to the 26th of June, the petition will be presented to the Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten. During Shark Week a range of activities organized in both the Netherlands and on all six islands will take place focusing on sharks and their importance to the well-being of our oceans and seas.

The petition can be signed online on: http://saveoursharks.nl/en/events/petition/

ANTIGUA - On the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600 three yachts were still racing: RORC member, Peter Hopps, skipper of British Sigma 38, Sam was just five miles from completing his eighth RORC Caribbean 600. Aleksandra Jankowska's Polish team racing Dufour 40, Porfavor was 15miles from the finish and Girls For Sail's British First 40.7, Hot Stuff, skippered by Sophie O'Neill was 56 miles from the finish. The RORC Caribbean 600 prize giving will be held tonight and all of the class winners have now been decided.

IRC Two
Ross Applebey's British Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster finished the race just before sunset on the fourth day of racing to win IRC Two for the fourth time. Global Yacht Racing's British First 47.7, EH01, skippered by Andy Middleton finished the race just half an hour after Scarlet Oyster to place second in class. In third place was Performance Yacht Charter's First 40, Southern Child skippered by Lucy Jones.
 
"That was not an easy victory," admitted Ross Applebey: "At Saba we were last but one on the water. The crew dug in deep for the beat to St.Barths; we clawed our way through the fleet and got into a good position for the big reach to Guadeloupe. Scarlet Oyster is very well set up for reaching and we edged ahead. The whole IRC Two fleet was south of Guadeloupe together, so we were never comfortable, especially as Andy (Middleton) stayed with us all the way. I am never going to pretend Scarlet Oyster is a Maxi72, but we are proof that you can come to play on a charter boat and win at one of the world's greatest offshore races. Scarlet Oyster has a regular core crew and I always tell new members to the team that the '600 is a tough race and we push hard."
 
IRC Three
After a tremendous battle between Conor Fogerty's Irish Sunfast 36, Bam and Susann Wrede's German Swan 44, Best Buddies. Bam took line honours in an elapsed time of 3 days 11 hours 1 mins 7 secs. Bam also won the class win after IRC time correction by just over six minutes. The team on Bam are all Irish, bar Welshman Roger Smith and all live in Dublin. Bam crew member, Simon Knowles has competed in five Round Ireland Races and one Fastnet: "Conor and all the team were over the moon; we have never sailed together as a crew before, so to come here and win our class is brilliant. As the smallest boat racing in IRC and an amateur team, we knew it was going to be tough and the most important thing was just to keep going. Best Buddies kept reeling us in on the upwind legs and we were faster downwind. At Redonda we had a six mile lead but we knew they would be eroding that. It was very tense at the finish, especially as there was confusion about the location of the finish line. From a navigational point of view this is the toughest race I have done, but the race course is fabulous and you are always thinking about the next move. We celebrated when we finished, but we still have something in the tank for tonight's prize giving."
 
Grand Soleil 46, Belladonna finished the RORC Caribbean 600 yesterday after just over three days and nights at sea. The crew of 14 (including T-Bear a stuffed toy to avoid the unlucky number) are all RORC members, including skipper RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine, Commodore, Michael Boyd and three former Committee members.
 
"This is my seventh race and I have done it on lots of different boats. I started racing on a 46-foot boat and I seem to have gone back to a 46-foot boat," laughed Admiral Andrew McIrvine dockside. It was a great race, but also the slowest time I have completed the course, so this time I got my money's worth! We are a bunch of elderly gents, kept in tow by two super guys in Alex Gardner and Tim Thubron. Alex spent the last five hours of the race inside the transom, holding the rudder together. Last night we went around La Desirade in a lot of breeze and we had planned to hoist the jib top but Tim said that the angle was much more free so we put up the S4 spinnaker and we took off on big seas, fully loaded - fantastic! A lot of the course was upwind for us but the boys were great hiking out for many hours. They are a brilliant team but we did give up on cooking and survived on nuts and Peter Morton's carrots!"
 
Congratulations to Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies, racing J/120 Nunatak, for winning the IRC Two Handed class in an elapsed time of 3 days 14 hours 19 minutes and 44 seconds. The smallest yachts in the race were also racing with just two crew; the three Figaro IIs from the Guadeloupe Grand Large Offshore Sailing School. Figaro II Sor, sailed by Arthur Bouwyn & Alienor Fleury was first to complete the race in 3 days 9 hours 50 minutes 50 seconds. Bandit Mancho, sailed by Benjamin Augereau & Keni Piperol was second, just over an hour behind Sor. Bato 1 sailed by Joan Bernard & Tom Saliot was third.
 
Antiguan entry Bernie Evan-Wong, racing RP37, Taz completed the race on the fourth day of racing having spent over three days and nights at sea. Bernie is the only skipper to have competed in all eight editions of the race. "I had an awesome crew for this race and it is the fastest that I have ever done, so that is just great. We pushed really hard, we blew out a few sails but I didn't want the crew to say we didn't really go for it. The most memorable moment for me was passing within a boat length of the 100ft Comanche at night; absolutely amazing. She was gone with a flash. I was very thankful that we had a night moon and that they saw us."
For more information visit the RORC Caribbean 600 mini-site: www.caribbean600.rorc.org
SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten - With the entry list nearing the 200 mark, organizers have confirmed that the regatta will have a strong range of participants.
 
The scratch sheet reads like a who's who of Caribbean sailing and competition is guaranteed to be one for the books. At present there are 169 total entries, which include the largest Mulithull fleet in the region.
 
Classes include Maxi, Former Volvo/Whitbread, CSA Monohull, Multihull, Bareboat, Beach Cat and Lottery. Entries are still possible and registration will begin on Tuesday March 1st 2016.
 
For yachting connoisseurs who enjoy the sleek lines of the Swans and the Bruce Farr designs, they will most certainly not be disappointed.  With 10 entries so far in the Maxi class, spectators and competitors alike will have plenty to admire out on the water. Speculation is that competition will most likely be best in the cruiser part of the class with Swan 100 Varsovie, Swan 82 Ptarmigan , Shipman 80 Paula R,  Bordeaux 60 Zampano as well as a Pendennis 77 Ocean Phoenix in the line-up. Kip Curren has entered as well with a carbon 1998 Carrol Marine 60 footer called Prospector, which once sailed the regatta under the name of Hissar. The odd boat out would appear to be Highland Fling which is an ultralight and a better competitor for the Volvo racer Brunel than the Swans and Shipmans. It will certainly be a sizable grand class that is sure to deliver a great racing experience and produce some incredible pictures.
 
A tight race is expected in the CSA classes with top Caribbean contenders like Dingo from Trinidad and Taz from Antigua as well as three Melges 32's from Puerto Rico and St. Maarten. High end racers like British Botin TP52 Sorcha will also be on everyone's radar. Helmed by Americas Cup sailor Campbell Field, she is sure to catch your breath as she makes her way around the marks. Amongst the heavier boats there are some old Heineken hands on deck like Alan Edwards on the Swan 65 Spirit, Jack Desmond on his Swan 48 Affinity and Hank Schmitt on Avocation. These teams are all crowd pleasers and frequent visitors to the podium in St. Maarten.
 
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In the forty foot range there is an abundance of good entries including frequent victor El Ocaso who will be challenged to repeat his winning ways by boats like Liquid, another J122 with Richard Archer driving Pamela Baldwin's well prepared boat which just recently won the Valentine's regatta in Antigua. There is also Jings, the J133 from the UK with a slightly higher rating, Quokka the Grand Soleil 43 that rates lower and the First 40 Team Boston
Additionally there are two J120's entered (Paulista and Sunset), two Beneteau 47.7's (EHO and Dauntless),  two J105's (Solstice and Dark Star)  and two Dufour 40's (Wild Ting and Por Favor)  that make this  grouping reminiscent of Noah's Ark planning.

One of the Caribbean talents to keep an eye on is Jonty Layfield of Antigua who will be at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta for the first time with a J111 called Sleeper which has done well in Antigua but has not yet been seen at the Heineken. He won Antigua Sailing Week overall in a borrowed boat with an outstanding and surprising performance.

The Gunboat group shows 6 entries composed of mainly 62's. We will see some entries that have shown great performances at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta before like Elvis, CoCo de Mer and Tribe. This year the fleet will also include the new Arethusa from Phillip Lotz who has been at this regatta with his Swan 42 in the past. With such a nice Gunboat turnout, organizers have confirmed that they will indeed have their own class, separating them a bit from the other Multihulls.
Whilst the Multihull class is large, the racing Multihulls that are currently entered do not exactly constitute a close rating bunch. Phaedo3 is of course the fastest while the Formula 40 Soma is quick and could have a close race with Arawak. The cruising multihulls, on the other hand, are a different matter. There is a wide group of Catanas, Lagoons, R and C's, Fontaine Pajots and now a new Open 40 from Bavaria which is an interesting design and all of whom together will certainly make for attractive racing.

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Rounding out the herd are some of the old and successful hands in the bareboat class. Family Kees Jan, Rene and Martijn Baartmans have both been on the podium many times and are entered again with the well-known Harten Heer, Gruppo Sportivo and BZN. The well established women's team Something Hot with Marieke Poulie is back as well. Neil Harvey, the famous Aussie, has returned with an American team called KHS&S Contractors who have won the division before. Karst IJstma, a one-time Sint Maarten resident now in Curacao is back with a team again, as is Michel Ruijter and Hans van der Gulik from Curacao. But to top it off there is the entry of the great Jan Soderberg the Swede who won bareboat classes in the Caribbean regattas so consistently for so many years nobody could understand how he did it. Turns out he is just a fantastic (and humble) sailor. That said, organizers are positive that this division will have a stellar year.
 

For any sailors interested in rubbing elbows with this amazing group of sailors, entries are still being allowed and competitors will be able to enter during registration as well, which takes place on Tuesday March 1st through Thursday March 3rd 2016.

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