Mostly clear


Mostly clear

Island News

Mother Nature Smiles on St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

For the last day of racing at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Mother Nature smiled on the race course with exhilarating conditions to test the competitors. One race was completed by all classes and the Final Results can be viewed at:

Maxi Class

St. Maarten's veteran ocean racer Nico Cortlever racing x-612 Nix, won the last race of the regatta to seal victory in the big boat class. Kip Curren's American Swan 68 Simple Harmony hung on to the runner up spot, just a point ahead of Tony McBride's Antiguan Farr 65 Spirit of Juno.

Ocean Racing

Lionel Pean's French Volvo 70m completed a perfect score line of four straight bullets to win the class. Przemyslaw Tarnacki's Lithuanian Volvo 60 Ambersail was second in class with Chris Stanmore-Major's Whitbread 60 Challenger third.


Andy Middleton's British First 47.7 PYR EH01 corrected out to win today's race, their second race win of the regatta was enough to move into second place on countback in front of Jack Desmond's American Swan 48 Affinity. Ross Applebey's British Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster was second today, enough to secure the class win for the third year in succession.


Today's race winner was Ian Hope-Ross' St. Maarten Melges 32 Kick 'em Jenny 2. There was drama in the last race of the regatta, Sergio Sagramoso's Puerto Rican Melges 32 Lazy Dog retired from the race having entered an exclusion zone and despite their string of four wins finished the regatta in second place. Bernie Evan Wong's Antiguan RP37 Taz was third today and third in class for the regatta. Sir Richard Matthews' HH42 Oystercatcher XXX was second today, enough to win the class.


American J/122 El Ocaso, skippered by Bob Hillier, won today's race by just 43 seconds to clinch the class win for the regatta. Sam Talbot's American J/111 Spike, was second today and for the regatta. Philippe Charret's Guadeloupian A40 Sonodio III, finished the regatta in third place.


Sir Bobby Velasquez's St. Maarten Beneteau 45 L'Esperance won the last race of the regatta to take the class title on countback from Robbie Ferron's J/39 Micron 99. John Streicker NY40 Defiant was second today, but that was not enough to make the podium for the regatta. Sir Hugh Bailey's Antiguan Farr 45 Rebel was third today, just enough to hold onto the final podium spot.


Dave Cullen's J/109 Pocket Rocket was 6th today, but that was enough to secure the class win with Peter Lewis' J/105 Whistler disqualified. Rob Butler's Canadian J/88 Touch2Play won the race to move up to second overall with Whistler in third for the regatta.


Sandy Mair's famous bushy Scottish eyebrows will be bristling tonight after his first bullet at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Racing his Antiguan First 35 Cricket, Sandy's win put the team into third place and only one point off winning the class. Tanner & Shari Jones Antiguan J/35 Caribbean Alliance Insurance was third today, enough to win the class by a single point. Rob Gormley's First 38 Elethea was second today, to claim second for the class on countback from Cricket.

Melges 24

There was no change to the ranking after the last race, Andrea Scarabelli's Gill Race Team scored their fourth win of the regatta to seal the class by five points from Frits Bus' Team Island Water World 1. GFA Caraibes, from Martinique, was third.

Offshore Multihull

Greg Slyngstad's Beiker 53 Fujin sealed the class victory by a single point with a bullet in the last race. Robert Janecki's HH66 R-Six was third today dropping to second place for the regatta by a single point. Kent Haeger's Dominator was third for the class. The Gunboat battle was won by Stephen Cucchiaro's Gunboat 60 Flow.


In Multihull 1, Shaun Carroll's Modified Australian Sea Cart Morticia won the final race to take the class on countback from Rodney Williams' Arawak. In Multihull 2, J. Michel Ricour's French Brazapi 41 Guimamalou, won today's race by just 18 seconds from St. Maarten Leopard 45 Spellbound but it was not enough to better a great series performance by Selika, skippered by Sergei Kischilov, which was the class winner. In Multihull 3, Andrey Arbuzov's lagoon 380 completed a perfect three wins to take the class.

In Bareboat 1, Alexei Dushkin's Kiev Racing Yacht Club won today's race to take the class win by a single point from John Jan Worwag's Sea Otter 2. In Bareboat 2, Jacques Pijenburg's Sitting Duck was today's race winner but Jan Soderberg's The Flying Swedes was second today, enough to win the class. In Bareboat 3, KHS&S Contractors, skippered by Mike Cannon & Neil Harvey, scored a perfect three bullets to win the class and Bareboat Overall.

Tonight, Sunday 5th March, over 3000 people will gather on Kim Sha beach for the Prize Giving, among them will be over 100 volunteers for the regatta. Chart topping British Reggae Band, UB40 and R&B Diva Mya, will be performing live, closing the regatta for another year. Pictures and quotes from the prize giving will be posted as soon as possible.

For more information:


St. Maarten Heineken Regatta makes significant steps to reduce the environmental impact of the event

heinekenregattaThe 37th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta confirms their participation in the Clean Regatta program from conservation organization Sailors for the Sea. The event has been a Clean Regatta member for many years and strives to minimize the impact the event has on the environment. The island of St. Maarten and its surrounding waters will benefit from several new measures put into place by the organizing authority. In addition to individual efforts by the regatta, they are also collaborating with local environmental organizations to maximize the efforts.

“The most significant step to helping keep both St. Maarten and the environment clean is the ban on all Styrofoam use for all official venue vendors during the regatta. This simple step will significantly reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste that will end up in the local landfill. We will continue to ban straws at the venues, something which we have been doing for a number of years now. The party locations will also have bins to collect recycling and party goers who turn in a filled garbage bag will be rewarded with a free Heineken for their efforts. Recycling bins will also be placed at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club and at the Police dock in Simpson Bay. In order to keep the area clean, the bins will be picked up twice a day.” stated Nila Hoogenboezem, Regatta Coordinator for International Liquors & Tobacco.

Regatta Director Michelle van der Werff also spoke about the efforts being made by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club to help reduce the events environmental footprint. “In addition to steps that we have been making for years, such as paperless registration and the impressive beach clean-up we organized a few weeks ago, we are now working with the non-profit organization EPIC, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean, to offer a septic pump out service for competitors. This service will be available for a reduced price and competitors can schedule an appointment for a pump out at a time convenient for the competitor. We hope that through this initiative we can reduce the number of boats that pumps out into the ocean, and more specifically those who pump out near our shores. EPIC will also coordinate a ‘Green Team’ comprised of local students who will be present at the events.” stated Van der Werff.

The event’s well known Sol water taxi service will also be up and running during the racing days, allowing the sailors to ’carpool’ on the water. The general public is encouraged to join together and carpool to and from the party venues so that traffic congestion is reduced while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of the party goers. “Together we can all make a huge difference to the island’s environment, and as an organization, we take this very seriously and hope to be able to inspire the public to recycle right alongside us during the regatta. Obtaining a Clean Regatta certification is important to the event, and by implementing small changes we hope to also make an impact on the island, the youth and the visitors attending the event. Together we can help keep St. Maarten clean.” Said Van der Werff.

Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort recognized by partner Expedia


Expedia, a leading owner and operator of international global online travel brands, named Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino and Spa the 2016 Top Partner of the Year in recognition of outstanding performance and partnership in St. Maarten.

“We are thrilled to have Expedia acknowledge Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort for outstanding hospitality and this esteemed award will be shared with our staff, recognising their dedication and hard work,” stated Director of Business Development Eliska Hesova.

The annual Expedia partner appreciation event was held in The Bahamas on January 30, Sonesta team members were there to receive the award, including Hesova; Revenue Director Karlijn Van Eck; Director of Sales Kevin Matier, President Saro Spadaro and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Weinberg.

Westin first Marriott Brand on St. Maarten

The Westin Dawn Beach Resort Spa St Maarten Infinity Pool

Babitbay Beach Development, owners of The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa, have alerted Marriott Reward Members they can transfer their points to an existing or newly opened Starwood Preferred Guest membership and redeem their points at what is now the first Marriott property on St. Maarten.

The resort, part of Marriott International Inc. following last year’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., is the only Marriott product on St. Maarten. The 341-room resort is one of the largest upscale resorts on the island and offers a spa, fitness room, on-site casino, nearly 20,000 sq. ft. of function space, retail shops, an infinity pool, water sports and three oceanfront restaurants.

News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

Resorts optimistic over 2017 bookings

ConferenceCenter GrandBallroomThere was a general sense of optimism from St.  Maarten/St. Martin hotels represented at  Caribbean Travel Marketplace held this  week in Atlantis, Paradise Island, in the Bahamas. 

The “upbeatness” stemmed from gold meetings with existing tour operators that sell the vacations to the destination and new players on the scene.Ricardo Perez, General Manager of Oyster Bay Beach Resort, said response to his property and the destination has been very positive both with existing partners and new players. He has made significant inroads with a new tour operator from Argentina that sells quite a number of packages to St. Barths.

Having Oyster Bay Beach Resort work with this tour operator will be a huge plus, said Perez. “They are already passing through Oyster Bay, so it makes sense for me to look into stay at my resort either before or after a trip to St. Barths,” he said.

Jorge Diaz-Granados, marketing director at Princess Heights, reported a “slower time” on the Marketplace floor due to less scheduled appointments. He and his team persevered by drumming up their own business. The slow appointments were tagged to possible preference given to bigger markets and destinations by tour operators. Both St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and St. Martin Tourism Office along with several resorts promoted the upcoming St. Maarten/ St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow (SMART) slated for June.

Tourism Office attends Travel & Cruise Show

stmartintoursimlogo Representatives from St. Martin Tourism Office and Le Beach Hotel recently attended the 4th edition of the Guadeloupe Travel and Cruise Show organized by Penchard Voyages. The event was held at the World Trade Center in Jarry.

During four days, more than 5,000 visitors came to meet the 40 exhibitors distributed over 3000 m2 of space to discover or rediscover Caribbean travel ideas. It was also an opportunity to reserve attractive packages, such as the ones offered by the Penchard Agency for Christmas and New Year’s Eve in St. Martin. Tourism office representatives spent their time guiding and advising future tourists by promoting all the activities the island has to offer. Visitors coming and going at the St. Martin booth were greeted by a local festive musical ambiance and the new video campaign launched by the tourism office in September 2015, “Smile at life.”

The image of St. Martin is projected as a paradise where it is easy to be entertained, to go shopping and to enjoy wonderful traditional dishes, the tourism office noted in its release. When it comes to shopping, however, the Guadeloupians indicated that prices charged on the island on the whole are not as attractive as before.The Tourism Office’s Grégoire Dumel, Head of the Local and Regional market, said there were less visitors this year compared to last year.

“This was due to the date selected in December,” he explained. “We discussed with the organisers to have this show held in November like it used to be in the first editions. The event is even more important since cruising heavily impacts the popular destinations in the Caribbean which are St. Maarten, the Dominican Republic and Martinique. Because of this, the tourism office will continue its efforts in this key sector of the tourism economy.”