The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
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.
Starting with the one-day Gill Commodore’s Cup and continuing with the three 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.
Gill Commodore’s Cup
The Commodore’s Cup was added as extra racing day to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta in 2005. Five years later, in 2010, the Commodore’s Cup secured Gill as the title sponsor. The Gill Commodore’s Cup will take place on February 28, 2019 as pre-event of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The Gill Commodore’s Cup will maintain individual results, allowing sailors to practice and perfect their racing without influencing their main event results. With 90 entries, the Gill Commodore’s Cup is ranked among the top 5 largest regattas in the Caribbean.
Boats can enter this one day event while entering for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and collect all paperwork at registration, making it easy to enter two events at one time.
Title sponsor Gill is an apparel and accessories leader in the worldwide marine industry for over three decades and specializes in high tech, breathable waterproof clothing.
Winners of the Gill Commodore’s Cup will be awarded Gill gear during the prize ceremony, which will take place on Thursday February 28th.