19/11/11West Indies Day
Mischa Heemskerk still in the lead
West Indies racers are winners
Collision for John Casey 30 mile around the island race for the Saint Barth Cata Cup
In Saint Barth, the nights are as fantastic as the days. After regattas in absolutely ideal conditions, the participants of Saint Barth Cata Cup gathered in an exceptional beachfront locale for an unforgettable evening, with dinner by the pool at the Guanahani Hotel & Spa, in a romantic decor that evoked a film set reflecting the spirit of this West Indian island.
On Saturday morning the flotilla arrived on the beach in St Jean for the most highly anticipated race of the Saint Barth Cata Cup, a 30-mile around-the-island race under simply incredible conditions.
A tour around the island that sadly finished too quickly for John Casey, specialist of long-distance racing and the big favorite for this race. During the pre-race preparations, Casey, who was in second place overall, had an accident with another boat that had priority. The only solution for the American champion: return to the beach and work on repairing the boat.
Out on the water with 15 knots of wind, Mischa Heemskerk “Emeraude Plage” was at the head of the flotilla. At ease in the waters of Petit Cul de Sac, king of the turquoise surf of Saline and Gouverneur, the Dutch champion ran into some difficulty between Public and Gustavia and lost time to Puerto Rican Enrique Figueroa “St Barth Sailor,” with local Saint Barth teammate Yan Van den Haute. “I have this incredible opportunity to sail with a champion like Enrique,” explains Yan. “I still can’t believe it, and I am learning all the time. Enrique knows exactly when to tack, it’s impressive. Our overall standing doesn’t reflect my real level. I have had this incredible chance. We are always among the boats at the front of the race. On Saturday there was three-way competition with Manu Boulogne and Mischa. It was during the last leg under spinnaker that made the difference for us. We were the only ones to catch a gust if wind and that gave us a solid lead of five minutes. What a thrill!”
The day had a strong West Indian accent. Two sailors from Martinique, Michel Sastre and Timothée Serraz “Easyway Cin,” finished in tenth place for the around-the-island race. “When I saw our place today and our overall standing, I couldn’t believe it—Michel and Timothée are 17th, I am blown away. It has been a year that we have sailed with Michael. We meet when four or five years ago during a mini race on the beach in Martinque. We were looking for a rapid, fun, class and opted for the Formula 18, but we didn’t expect anything like this regatta. It is now the benchmark for sports cats in the Caribbean. The ambiance is excellent, the racers are happy to share information, and mostly the level of competition is incredible, with some of the world’s best on the starting line. Where else are there conditions like those of the Saint-Barth Cata Cup, it’s unique!”
On Sunday, the racers complete the final legs of the Saint Barth Cata Cup 2011, before setting on Monday toward St Maarten for the annual, yet informal, race to PInel.
The schedule :
Monday, November 14: Arrival of participants
Tuesday, November 15: Assembly of boats and sailing to Saint Jean
Wednesday, November 16: Registration and free sailing
Thursday, November 17: First race of the day at 2:00pm
Friday, November 18: First race of the day at 9:30am
Saturday, November 19: First race of the day at 9:30am
Sunday, November 20: First race of the day at 9:30am; Awards ceremony at 5:00pm
Monday, November 21: At 9:00am, start of informal race to Pinel
With strict design specifications, the Formula 18 boats are the kings of racing catamarans. Those who race them are also found on the America’s Cup circuit and important multi-hull sea races. A sport that is high-speed, tactical, technical, and spectacular.
Specifications: Length: 5.52 m; beam : 2.60 m; Sails: 21.15 m²; Mainsail: 17.00 m²; Jib: 4.15 m²; Spinnaker: 21.00 m²; Weight: 180 kg; Price: approximately 20,000 euros.