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Top Boats Make Statements at the 2013 Gill Commodore’s Cup, the Kick-off to the 33rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

 

Simpson Bay, St. Maarten (February 28, 2013) – In a stunning preview of coming attractions, forty-five boats in four spinnaker-flying divisions set sail today in the sparkling waters of St. Maarten to race in the Gill Commodore’s Cup, the tune-up event to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The traditional warm-up series is sponsored by Gill, the regatta’s official technical apparel supplier.

 

On a day that appeared to have been ordered up by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau—with crystal clear skies and an ideal 10-12 knot east-southeast breeze—the race committee conducted three windward leeward races in the waters off “the Friendly Island’s” southern shoreline. Some crews fared better than others, performing crisp spinnaker sets and douses and displaying excellent boat-handling skills. But there were also the usual gaffes and mistakes to be expected from other teams that are ramping up programs after some time off the racecourse; those crews took advantage of the venue and the ideal conditions to get in a strong day of practice.

 

Among the boats that were in top form and served notice that they will be forces to be reckoned with in the upcoming St. Maarten Heineken Regatta were Jan Rupert’s sleek Tripp 75, Blackbird, and John Wilson’s 78-footer, Idea, in the Gill 1 class. In Gill 2, Greg Slyngstad’s J/125, Hamachi; perennial contender Sergio Sagramoso’s J/122, Lazy Dog; and Richard Wesslund’s J/120, El Ocaso, were all in fine fettle. Gill 3 standouts included Lawrence Aqui’s pretty blue Dufour 40, Wild T’ing, and Raphael Magras’s X-Yachts 34, Maelia. And in Gill 4, all-star crews aboard a pair of Melges 32s, Mark Plaxton’s Team INTAC and Jaime Torres’s Smile and Wave appeared ready to wage a wicked duel once the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta gets underway.

 

When the preliminary scores were tallied, and the cream had risen to the top, Blackbird was the winner of Gill 1 with three consecutive first-place finishes. However, the big-boat competition will become stiffer in the days ahead with the inclusion of Kip Curren’s Farr 60, Venemous, and Tomasz Bozyczko’s Open 60, Energa, neither of which competed in the Gill Commodore’s Cup.

 

From the looks of Gill 2, the division may well be packed with the most competitive boats in the fleet. And when the dust had settled on Thursday, Wesslund’s El Ocaso picked up where she left off at last year’s St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, when she won her class and the title of Most Worthy Performance Overall. El Ocaso was joined on the Gill Commodore’s Cup division 2 podium by Lazy Dog and Hamachi, respectively.

 

In Gill 3, Maelia nipped Wild T’ing by a single point to take top honors in the 16-boat class. And finally, in Gill 4, Team INTAC was the winner by virtue of three consecutive bullets, with Smile and Wave second. In third, Andrea Scarabelli’s Melges 24, Budget Marine/Gill, was the top finisher among the half dozen 24s in the field.

 

This year Gill awarded again the best boat of the day for outstanding performance. El Ocaso can check of another overall performance by taking the Gill Commodore’s Best Boat award home.

 

For over three decades, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has showcased the top boats and sailing in the Caribbean, and has become equally famous for its world-class slate of parties and musical entertainment. Now recognized by sailors around the planet as one of the sailing world’s best regattas, each year the event lives up to its worthy motto: Serious Fun.

 

For full information on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including entry forms, photos, videos, party and band information, and much, much more, visit www.heinekenregatta.com.

 

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