Welcome to the "Friendly Island,"
It’s time for some "serious fun." I take great pleasure in welcoming all participants to the 31st St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and visitors to the island on behalf of the people and Government of St. Maarten.
Our regatta has grown over the years to become the biggest regatta in the Caribbean. The Heineken Regatta after 30 editions has become a way of life especially during the first week of the month of March.
Starting back in 1980 as a local event, the regatta has grown becoming the biggest sailing event in the Caribbean Basin and with international prestige and recognition. The first regatta started with 12 boats and each year it kept growing. In 1982 there were 38 entries.
By 1990, the entries had climbed to over 60 and by 1997 there were 220 entries. In 2008 there were almost 300 boats participating.
The event has grown by leaps and bounds over the years based on the efforts of a handful of people to a multitude of persons who love sailing, who love organization and who are into having some "serious fun."
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who work behind the scenes to make this four-day sailing event happen. Your dedication and hard work every year pays off with the successful conclusion of the regatta.
The regatta, besides being the Caribbean’s premier sailing event, also has a positive impact on our tourism oriented economy.
The competitive nature and the intensity of boat racing are renowned for testing the leadership of the captain and teamwork of the sailors to the limit. The regatta provides the ideal opportunity of this brinkmanship on the water.
I call on the nation to come out and revel in four days of entertainment after each race.
It’s time for some "serious fun."
Have a Happy St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and safe sailing.