The Yachting Capital of the Caribbean
When Bob Dylan sang the times they are a changing he could have had the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta in mind. Regular visitors to the regatta will have noted the amazing changes, the advances in technology and the innovation brought to the Caribbean’s most successful regatta by a dedicated race committee.
Keeping the regatta at the forefront of Caribbean sailing takes a huge investment in time and money but the title sponsor, Heineken, have stayed true to their pledge to support the event, proving the regatta’s worth to the sport, the country and the economy.
Reading this year’s entry list is like reading the Who’s Who of Yachting as more top sailors, the celebrated rock stars of the sport, add the St. Maarten
Heineken Regatta to their ‘to do’ list. And why wouldn’t they? This regatta has it all. International Match Racing at the highest level, and a day of racing dedicated to the spinnaker class boats, all leading up to the three-day main event. And this spectacular festival of yachting is topped-off by a round of free parties featuring world-class entertainment. What sailor could ask for more?
Of course, St. Martin is not just about boats and sailing, and many regatta competitors return on vacation to enjoy the total island experience.
A destination with something for everyone!
Looking for nightlife? Then follow the bright lights to Maho with its entertainment and Vegas-like casinos and clubs such as the spectacular Bliss, home of the acclaimed Heineken Regatta After Party.
For duty-free bargains, Philipsburg is a shoppers’ paradise. Here, jewelry stores and outlets selling the latest in electronic wizardry stand shoulder to
shoulder along world-famous Front Street.
In an age of controls and security checks, you don’t need a passport to cross the border on the Friendly Island.
The French side offers a study in contrast that begins with the streets of Marigot, where a chic European mall forms a glittering backdrop for the hustle and bustle of the waterfront street market. Around the coast, the old fishing village of Grand Case, with its mix of local food and fine dining offers a culinary experience to remember.
Dotted around the island, both French and Dutch side, you will find a myriad of diverse activities such as zip-lining through the rainforest, horseback riding, kayaking, cycling and scuba diving. For those who want to live on island time and simply do nothing, St. Martin offers some of the finest beaches on earth on which to do it. And should you want to do nothing sans clothes then you can do that too, on the clothing optional beach at Orient Bay.
If you are interested in C
aribbean history, there is no better place to dig into the past than Dutch and French St. Maarten. Pirates, slaves, war, rebellion, rum, it’s all here like a Hollywood movie.
Although we would prefer you didn’t leave, St. Martin is surrounded by several islands. Dutch Saba, British Anguilla and French St. Barth are quite unique and a visit will enhance your Caribbean experience. The islands are easy to get to by ferry, or by air, and offer a fabulous day out.
This is just a little taste of what our sunny island has to offer – a sailors paradise steeped in history; a place of contrast, vibrant nightlife and golden beaches.
Welcome to our shores.
Gary Brown is the author of the sailing thriller Caribbean High. He is the Editor of All At Sea Magazine and a radio host on Island 92, 91.9FM.