The 2014 Interlux One Design Regatta with fourteen teams and with shore activities sponsored by Coors Light was a resounding success. The fourteen teams rotated through eight boats to complete a total of 16 races on the north side of the SXM airport runway. The winner by two points at the end of the two days was Han de Bruyn Kops sailing with brothers Pieter and Paul Soons. Second place went to Andrea Scarabelli of Team Budget Marine Gill who missed defending the title by two points. Crew was Chris Marshall and Ryan Hope Ross. Third place went to the visiting team from the Volvo 70 Monster Project helmed by Andy Budgen sailing with Ali Merridew and Pippa Kirchman.
Boathook PartsRegular winner Frits Bus took some low scores and in spite of two first places had to settle for a sixth place in the finals with Roel ten Hoopen in fifth. The friendly rivalry between the Sint Maarten chandleries is likely to continue unabated in other classes. Robbie Ferron held in for fourth place whilst John Gifford with previous winners Jolyon Ferron and Rhone Findlay had to settle for 8th.
Team Han managed to stay in the top three in every race except one which they were able to use as a discard. Team Budget Marine on the other hand fell out of the top three on two occasions and one of these (a fifth place had to be carried ) This finally made the difference of two points that gave Team Han the win . The relatively high crew weight might have made a difference but it is most likely that the win was a result of Han de Bruyn Kops using fine technical skills in the windward leeward courses.
Andy Budgen showed his capabilities; given that he is a skiff sailor and the boats sailed (Jeanneau 20’s) are on the other end of the design spectrum. He was able to get a average points award for redress on the second day but it put him 0.2 points behind the second place.
Robbie Ferron sailed with a crew who had been introduced to sailing in the 2013 off season training program (Antonia Martinez and Ruud van Hezewijk) and was able to stay in the top three for all except two races which were fourth places.
On Saturday the winds were highly variable and going over twenty knots in gusts. On Sunday however the sailing was much more sedate and the fleets stayed much tighter knit with some finishes being so close that it only took forty seconds for the whole fleet to cross the finishing line.
The regatta base was on the Budget Marine foreshore where a regatta village was the social base of the event the boats had to pass through the causeway bridge to get to the race course which required some wait times.
This was the twelfth year of lagoon events sailing the Jeanneau 20 boats owned by Lagoon Sailboats. These events have stimulated similar events and development of classes in the region some of which have come and gone in the interim. The lagoon sailing has managed to survive throughout this period and continues to involve sailors in that part of the sport that is focused on the sailing skills and competency.
Interlux Paint is part of the world’s largest coatings company and sells a wide variety of yacht paints including the well-known Micron 66 paint. Coors Light Beer is represented in Sint Maarten by Caribbean Liquors and Tobacco.
The winning race….
It turned out that after fourteen teams had competed in 16 races the two teams that were vying for the winning position were together in the semifinal race and the result of that race would determine the outcome of the final winner. Those two teams were Han de Bruyn Kops, an experienced Dutch sailor from Loosdrecht, one of the best known inland sailing lakes near the main cities in Holland, and Andrea Scarabelli, Italian resident in Sint Maarten with extensive experience in racing large sailing yachts and current captain of the Budget Marine Gill team.
The race started with Han getting the better start on the “pin” end (furthest away from the start boat) but with Andrea right on his stern. The majority of the two round races continued with Han just in front of Andrea but on the last beat Andrea got ahead. The “cross” just before the finish was so close that Andrea could not cover however and Han squeezed out enough boat speed to get to the line just one meter ahead of his competition. If the win had not gone to Han then the points would have been equal and according to the International Racing Rules of sailing, the tie would have been broken by the win in the final race which would have been Andrea with the Budget Marine Gill team. Instead it went to Team Han with Han de Bruyn Kops and brothers Pieter and Paul Soons as crew.
Many of the same teams that were battling so closely in the Interlux regatta will soon move over to the Melges 24 class where Andrea will want to continue his winning form but will Frits Bus (Island Water World) and Team AMCON (John Gifford) to ruin that party? Follow the Heineken Regatta to see who will come in first!