Whilst the United States and Europe were suffering severe cold, a small group of sailors enjoyed an outstanding regatta in idyllic conditions when racing from Simpson Bay, Dutch Sint Maarten to the very protected and hospitable marina at Anse Marcel on French Saint Martin in the Budget Marine Challenge.
Starting off in stiff breezes they flew down the Dutch shoreline and then took the direction of Anguilla’s Blowing Rock. At this point the fastest moving boat “Kick em Jenny “sailed by Ian Hope Ross lost their rudder and did some spectacular broaches giving nearby Jan vanden Eynden a free hand to reach Blowing Rock first.
After the long beat up the Anguilla channel, the participants were warmly received by the marina hosts and many were heard to comment about how they entered a very different (and peaceful) world as they arrived in this well protected marina. The results on the first race showed that up and coming sailor Erwan le Normand sailing “Caraibes Diesel”had the goods. Caraibes Diesel is a young French team that has recently upgraded an old hull and has already scored some successes in the competitive Melges 24 class and they were declared winners in this race too.
In the Cruising Class last year’s overall winner of the Heineken Regatta Bobby Velasquez led the J39 “Budget Marine Micron 99”around the course on both days in spite of being behind at the start. In the first race he dominated in spite of losing his steering along the way and having to complete the race with an emergency tiller.
The Budget Marine Challenge concept involves race starts being from an anchored position, thereby introducing some teamwork and seamanship that is different to regular race starts. On both days Garth Steyn on “Moondance”outshone the other entrants and was awarded the starting prize.
The social side of the event started and finished in the Lagoonies Bar and Bistro, increasingly the home of sailors in Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, where sailor camaraderie is at the same high standard as the food quality!
The Budget Marine team wishes to thank its partners in Anse Marcel as well as Marine Time Charters for the excellent collaboration and sponsor Mount Gay for supporting yet another type of sailing.