St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - For doers and dreamers

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 2012
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 32nd edition is being held from 1st to 4th Match 2012 and there’s more than one way to enjoy the legendary 'Serious Fun' that’s become the trademark for the annual event.

Thanks to a website that links sailors looking for boats and skippers searching for crew, as well as the pay-to-play opportunities from Ondeck ocean racing, all you really need is a pair of boat shoes and a plane ticket to sunny St. Maarten.

Ondeck offers a couple of different ways to get on the racecourse. You can charter one of the yachts – with a skipper or as a bareboat – from their race-ready fleet that includes a Santa Cruz 37, a Beneteau First 40, Beneteau 40.7s and Farr 65s. Or, you can sign up for a slot on one of Ondeck’s official entries. No experience necessary!

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta crew forum at gocrew.net is another great option for sailors to get out on the water and in the middle of the action. Registering is free and easy. Log on to the website, check off your experience (beginner, medium, good, expert or pro), note your preferred crew position, and even jot down a note. The active site is not only for sailors looking for rides, but also for skippers with space onboard for an extra hand or two.

The 48-footer Scarlet Oyster is one of the latter. 'We have one crew vacancy left,' reads their note on the forum. 'Scarlet Oyster is a very successful UK-based Oyster Lightwave 48 that’s been recently refurbished to optimize her racing rating and is fully equipped with top racing sails. Our skipper Tim Thurbron is also highly accomplished, and won his St. Maarten Heineken Regatta class in 2011. He is an excellent skipper, incredibly knowledgeable and with a ‘non-shouty’ coaching approach.'

'Sailor Stuart,' on the other hand, is an experienced sailor looking for a hot boat. 'Looking for a ride on a serious racing boat,' he writes. 'I own and campaign a Figaro and have experience in all areas. Have done foredeck on J/105s, Beneteau 36.7s and J/24s. Thousands of miles double and singlehanded. Very easy going and laid back but competitive and very capable with 30 years sailing experience.'

The crew forum is most definitely not just for guys, though. 'I am a 26-year-old female who is interested in sailing the Heineken Regatta this year to expand my sailing experience,' writes Carly Meyer. 'I have been racing in Southern California for over three years. I have done many major local regattas on boats including the Farr 30, Farr 40, Express 37, and have sailed from Honolulu to Kauai on a Peterson 68. Feel free to email me and I can provide a sailing resume.'

While many of the listings are free, there are also some individual boats with space available on a cost basis, including a Jeanneau 49 with a professional skipper. The slots, which cost a little over a thousand dollars, 'include race entry, berthing and food while racing.' On the other hand, there’s 'Captain Ron,' who has a 'competitive Grand Soleil 50, (and is) looking for fun crew with experience.' Yes, there’s something for just about everyone.

But the most intriguing note of all might be this one: 'Looking for a boat to crew on. It will be a big surprise for my husband. Please make his dream come true!!!!!'

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: For doers and dreamers. Is this the year your wish will come true?

For full information on the 2012 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including entry information, the Notice of Race, photos, videos, party and band information, and much, much more click here.

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta website