Text from the St. Maarten Yacht Club
On June 3 and 4 the Budget Marine St. Maarten National Dinghy Championship was sailed in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. 30 boats competed in the third edition of this annual event. The National Dinghy Championship is a collaboration from the Sint Maarten Yacht Club and the Sint Maarten Sailing Federation (SIMSAF) and was hosted as a standalone, 2 day event this year.
Even though the event is called the St. Maarten Dinghy National Championship, the event is open for other nationalities to join. Only the title St. Maarten Dinghy National Champion can be won by a St. Maarten resident. The race committee was able to complete 10 races, 7 races on Saturday and 3 races on Saturday morning.
“As we were challenged with a southern wind, we decided to race in the lagoon and not in Simpson Bay, says Paul Henriques, Race Officer. Simpson Bay was filled with sargassum weed and wasn’t good for racing. The Simpson Bay Lagoon gave us great tactical racing, with strong and challenging wind conditions for the competitors”.
In the International Laser Class (ILCA Class) 13 competitors participated. Sam Peeks, our well-known Team SXM Racing Coach and sailing instructor, sailing a ILCA 6, came in third place. Rio Stomp, sailing a ILCA 4 came in second position and Jules Fortunati sailing a ILCA 4, from the Saint Barths Yacht Club took the win in the event in the ILCA class.
Stomp not only took the 2nd place in the overall ranking, but he was also rewarded with the title: St. Maarten National Dinghy Champion in the ILCA 4.
The title for the ILCA 6 fleet went to Francener Faustin, and Alex Speetjens won the title for the ILCA 7 class.
The RS Quest fleet was sailed by 2 boats. Lucca Magnan and his crew Taxor Lewiy, representing the Saint Barths Yacht Club won the overall event, even though their mast came down on the second day of racing. Joris van den Eynde and his two children, Axel and Louisa, gave the team from Saint Barths strong competition. Vanden Eynde family took home the title: St. Maarten National Dinghy Champion in the RS Quest fleet for the second time in a row, as being the best team in the RS Quest fleet from Sint Maarten.
Three boats competed in the Sun Fast 20 Class, skippered by Jolyon Ferron sailing for Budget Marine, the title sponsor of this event, Iain Mobbs sailing for the Maritime School of the West Indies and Garth Steyn, representing IGY Racing. Ferron kept the title of St. Maarten National Dinghy Champion in the family, as he won the event with all bullets, 10 wins in 10 races. Last year the title was won by his father, Robbie Ferron. Steyn came in second and Mobbs came in third.
“It was a fantastic weekend racing in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. As usual it came with shifty winds and especially as we went from heavy winds to light winds over the 2 days of racing. We were competing against 2 experienced sailors, they know these boats well and it showed on the starting line, but my team managed to sail the better angles. Of course, we are happy with the win, but the racing was great fun as well and well organized.” Stated Jolyon Ferron, Sales Manager at Budget Marine.
Budget Marine is well known as the leading retailer and wholesaler of pleasure boat marine equipment in the Caribbean. It’s vision is not simply commerce; it’s a commitment to people. It’s why they support sailing programs and events throughout the Caribbean. It has supported the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, and specifically its youth sailing program, for decades. It provides the committee boat for most of the racing and has supplied life jackets for the young sailors to be safe on the water. Giving back to it’s community is one of the company’s key values.
Thirteen young competitors raced in the Optimist Class. As the National Champion in the Optimist Class will be decided later this year during the Optimist Championship in November there was no title rewarded in the Optimist Class. Even though, there was stiff competition going on in this class. Thomas Magras representing the Saint Barths Yacht Club took third position. Clement le Norman from the SMVT and Tao Carmona from the Saint Barths Yacht Club ended in a tie for first and second place. Carmona broke the tie and took home the first place in the Optimist Class.
“What a great event, there is no better way to end the dinghy racing season than with deciding who is the Sint Maarten National Champion per fleet, said Saskia Revelman, Manager at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. The conditions were challenging, the competitors showed lots of boat handling skills and tactical decisions had to be made in a split second, as 30 boats were crossing each other on the racing course.
We would like to thank our volunteers, the race and protest committee, and our title sponsor Budget Marine. Thank you for the ongoing support in our sailing and social events!”
The winners were rewarded during the prize giving. Results can be found online on https://smyc.com/sint-maarten-dinghy-national-championship/