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St. Maarten News Update - Apr 06

4th Electec Regatta

Postponed a week because of excessively strong winds, the 4th Electec Regatta finally sent 13 local St Maarten teams out onto Simpson Bay Lagoon on February 4. With winds still gusty, it was a case of ‘Once more into the broach’, as seven days’ pent-up energy saw crews push each other to the limit with extra vigour.

The Electec, sailed on Lagoon Sailboat Rental’s fleet of one-design Jeanneau Sunfast 20s, is where St Maarten unofficially crowns its own sailing champion; the North Sails and Women’s Keelboat championships are made up mainly of international entrants.

Even though Frits Bus’ Carib Team took the title for the third successive year, his close, one-point victory over second-placed Luc Knol (the only other skipper to win the Electec) showed that this is no annual walkover. In fact, Knol won five out of his eight races, and Bus just four, but a disappointing fifth place for Knol in one race was enough to allow Bus through.

Shag Morton’s FKG outfit, always good for a podium place, again finished third, while Ian Martin took fourth. In all, 13 teams (including one team from a visiting megayacht, Fidelitas) raced 8 races each.

Next year, a new sponsor will be taking over the regatta for the fifth edition – possibly the only way a new name will find its way onto the trophy for the time being, with Bus on such form.

Captain Oliver’s Carib Beer Regatta

The 2nd Captain Oliver’s Carib Regatta will take place out of Oyster Pond over the weekend of May 20/21, it has been announced. Last year, 35 boats came to Captain Oliver’s resort for a day of great racing on Saturday, and a day of fine dining on Sunday when the winds refused to come out to play.

This year, racing, cruising and multihull classes will try a new course – an 11-mile beat to Gustavia, St Barths, round a mark off Ile Frigate, and back downwind to Oyster Pond. On Sunday, the racing classes will resume last year’s leeward/windward course off the east coast which provided so much entertainment last year.

Whatever the wind decides to do, guaranteed are great parties, warm Gallic hospitality and sumptuous buffets.

Marine Professionals

Budget Marine’s prestigious ‘Marine Professional of the Year Award’ was conferred on two worthy winners this year. Ernst Looser of Tropical Sail Loft and Rob Gilders of St Maarten Sails were each recognised for their enormous contribution to St Maarten’s marine industry. Looser has been an active force around the yacht club, organising regular racing for youth and adults, while Gilder’s award caps 25 years of keeping St Maarten boats under canvas.

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