posted on July 14, 2014 10:53
Each year of the Heineken Regatta, boats are registered from many places around the world. Some have journeyed from as far away as Brazil and Russia, this 34th year, while there is always strong representation from the other Caribbean islands. That fact, plus the wonderful climate and people on the friendly island, attract spectators from all over, as well. Some of those draw paychecks at the same time, as members of the working media, so far, nearly seventy-five this year. Martine Vos is the one who makes sure they receive proper identification and all the support they need to tell the regatta stories that they want to share with readers, listeners or viewers back in their home markets.
Martine spends two weeks every year, traveling to St. Maarten from Medemblik, Holland, to organize and coordinate a wide range of media related activities for our regatta, including receiving and processing all requests for press credentials, preparing media kits and presenting gift bags for all folks coming to cover the event. In addition, she facilitates and coordinates interviews requested by media reps and will even try to sort out travel issues if necessary.
There are also "meet and greet" sessions, including the primary opportunity for the press to meet the captains and crews at Port de Plaisance on Thursday evening, before the races begin. Throughout the race days, there are many additional, unpredictable, details that need to be taken care of, so as to be sure the great regatta story will reach far out from St Maarten and interest even more participants and spectators, in the future. Martine's regular job of regatta organizing at far-flung locations, as a freelance, shore manager for a 130 foot racing yacht provides many challenges that she has learned to overcome regularly. She also enjoys sailing herself and reminisces about sailing cats, as well as flat bottomed boats, as a girl, to nearby islands when the tides were right.
Before taking over the media job in 2011, Martine oversaw the regatta water taxi operation, starting in 2008, after the previous year of training with the previous coordinator. Being responsible for seeing that fueling, maintenance and mechanical aspects would lead to a smooth operation, it was a job that kept her on her toes at all times. She remembers inheriting dinghies for which there had not been sufficiently shaded storage, leading to a heavy dose of patching and repair, on top of the other regular work. Thankfully, new dinghies and better storage ended that problem..
Meeting so many challenges over those years helped make Martine so well equipped to handle her current assignment, as press coordinator. Also, holding a degree in political science, from Leiden University, it is clear that she has mastered the politics of smooth operations! When asked what keeps her coming back each year, like so many other volunteers, she replies it is the people and the great fun to be had, working very hard together. She also compliments the island and its people who welcome the regatta and all the people who visit because of this event. That is a story the media should tell again and again, with Martine's able assistance.
John Merritt followed all our volunteers round during the regatta this year to find out more about them. This article is one of many that he wrote and we are very grateful for the voice he has given our wonderful volunteers especiallly as he was a volunteer himself.