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St. Maarten and St. Martin News

10th St Maarten Deep Sea Challenge

Another Hemingwayesque performance from Lee Halley (of Lee’s Roadside Grill fame) aboard Challenge grabbed top honors in the Presidente Deep Sea Fishing Tournament, organised by the St Maarten Big Game Fishing Foundation, and held out of Chesterfield’s on November 11-13.

Halley and crew wrestled onboard a 56lb Yellow Fin Tuna from the drop-off near Anguilla. None of the other 11 competing boats – coming from afar as Antigua – could top Halley’s Tuna for weight, leaving the popular island restaurateur $1,000 richer in prize money.

Although no Billfish were boated during the tournament, the overall haul was worth the diesel – 62 Wahoo, 9 Yellow Fin, 8 Mahi Mahi.

Bobby’s Marina has new production manager, car park

Among the many changes taking place at Bobby’s Marina in Great Bay this season is the arrival of a new production manager. Hailing from False Bay, Simonstown, South Africa, Graham Heard took over the running of the yard in late August.

Listening to Heard’s every word will be a staff of 22 yard technicians, who between them average three hauls a day minimum, as well as the ongoing maintenance of local charter boats, inter-island ferries and cruise ship tenders.

“Keeping everyone working together as a team,” and “communication” are Heard’s immediate priorities, as well as helping to train local schoolchildren in marine industry skills.

Visitors returning to Bobby’s this season will also notice some striking structural changes. A substantial part of the boat yard has been emptied, levelled and turned into a car park. The much-needed space was liberated by auctioning off abandoned boats and clearing junk.

On the water side, pilings are already driven in, ready for the planned expansion of the marina to incorporate up to 12 mega yachts (see All At Sea, December 2004). The project will see the marina expand and modernise, with a parade of small retail outlets opening up on the dockside currently occupied by the smaller boat lifts.

Still waiting for the rubber stamp, however, is the construction of the $5 million boat yard in Cole Bay (see AAS, September 2004) which will include a 500-ton travelift.

12-Metre Yacht Club

A new restaurant with a marine theme has just opened at Bobby’s Marina, on the site of the old ‘Blue Peter’. Launched by Colin Percy, the ‘St Maarten 12-Metre Yacht Club’ is a 130-seat, fully computerised eatery that blends New England, West Coast Canadian and local flavours. While the Yacht Club is an extension of the 12-Metre ‘brand’, the Canadian team behind the launch has gone beyond simple yachtie grub. The evening menu is upscale and eclectic while bar innovations include special Martini chillers and ice troughs to put your beer bottle in.

Golden Rock Regatta makes impressive debut

Eight boats and some 60 Dutch and Belgian sailors made the trip to St Maarten in mid-November for the first Golden Rock Regatta, in association with the Dutch Flevamore Yacht Club. The seven strong Bareboat fleet, chartering out of the St Martin Moorings base, completed the five-day regatta that began with a midnight sail from Great Bay to St Kitts, which was diverted to Nevis due to bad weather. Day two was a dash to St Barths, followed by a more benign run down to Statia on day three. Day four’s racing was around Statia, as part of the island’s annual celebration as the first foreign nation to recognise American Independence, in 1776. Day five was a sprint back to St Maarten.

Team La Torsa, sailing a Moorings GibSea 43, captained by Robby Schutte took overall honors. Day three’s winner was the only entrant from St Maarten – perennial local campaigner Jan van den Eynde winning the Open Class in his 29-foot Soca. Second overall went to ez2sail.com, with De Wilgen Vastgoed taking third.

Course de l’Alliance disappoints

The 2nd Course de l’Alliance, switched this year to November from June, drew only six entrants, with the Dutch side of the island unrepresented. Despite an extended format, to include a feeder race from Guadeloupe, and racing between St Maarten, Anguilla and St Barths, numbers were disappointingly down on last year’s debut tally of 18 boats.

The Regatta was won by Guadeloupe’s Marina Bas Du Fort, sailed by Daniel Segalowicz, with St Martin’s Philippe Herve, aboard Vanille, coming in second. Guadeloupe’s Lynx Optique took third. Winner in the one-strong Multihull class was St Martin’s Jean Allaire aboard Rhavy.

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