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11 teams competed in the first race of the Grant Thornton Season Championship 2019-2020

Simpson Bay, St. Maarten – November 7, 2019


Last Saturday 11 teams divided in five one design classes sailed five races in the first racing day of the Soons Series. Competitors were challenged by light to medium winds coming from a southerly direction. This was the first race of the Grant Thornton Season Championship 2019-2020 part of a 2-day series called the Soons Series. The next race in this series is next Saturday 12 October.


The Sint Maarten Yacht Club (SMYC) hosts the Grant Thornton Season Championship, sponsored by the Global Financial Serviced Company, Grant Thornton. It is open to Optimist, Laser Pico, Laser, RS Vision, RS Quest and Sunfast 20 and consists of several 2-day and 3-day races. This first 2-day race is called the Soons Series, named after the commodore of the Yacht Club, Michel Soons. This race will be followed by a 2-day race series on 23 November and 14 December called the Stuyvesant Series, named after Pieter Stuyvesant. The Sint Maarten Yacht Club will award a Seasonal Championship award at the end of the season, which will end on 20 June.


Race committee, consisting of Rien Korteknie, Clenda Pecht and Merel Abels, ran 3 starts on each of the 5 races.

3 participants sailed in the Laser Pico class. Jayden Aventurin and Melina de Vries, who sailed together in Bart’s Bash and showed great progress by winning third place, sailed individually in day one of the Soons Series. Jayden came in third place, Skylar Peterson in second place and Melina took home first place with 5 bullets. Skylar and Jayden both showed lots of enthusiasm coming off the water: “it is not about winning, it is about participating and it was a fun day!”.


The Optimist fleet saw two experienced young sailors this week. Chris de Wilde got second place and Caii Banting got first place with 5 solid bullets.


The RS Vision class consisted of 2 teams. Summer Jean Morton and Matthijs Detering showed their competency by sprinting ahead of the four Sunfast 20’s that shared the start with them. They got their starts consistently right and used their asymmetrical effectively. 5 bullets showed how well they raced. “There wasn’t a lot of wind, but the racing was fun. I hope that next race we will have more boats on the water to increase competition” commented Summer afterwards. Reinier Calkhoven and Grace Cheasley ended up in second place.


The Sunfast 20’s saw four boats in close racing, three were crewed by trainees from the Kidz at Sea Program. Robbie Ferron managed to hold off most attacks on the lead and finished first followed by Pieter Soons in second place, Iain Mobbs came in third and Paul Soons fourth.


In the Laser class a group of four followed each other closely around the course with Jolyon Ferron in front all but once, allowing him to take first place followed by Bart’s Bash winner Chris Cilliers in second place. A smaller version of the Laser is the 4.7 and Jordan Pieterse might not have looked ahead on the course but corrected out to third place overall, which resulted in Ryan Hope Ross ending up in last place.


The interim scores will add up to next week racing. The next race day for the Soons Series is next Saturday, October 12 and the winners will be declared for this first series of the Grant Thornton Season Championship after racing at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.

The Championships will continue throughout the season until June 2020 when a club champion will be determined. The next series, the Stuyvesant two-day race series, will take place in November. All races start at 2 pm and after every race day results will be announced during a short ceremony back at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.

The Grant Thornton Keelboat Series starts on Sunday November 17th.

If participants missed this race but still want to join the other races of the season than they can contact Leonde Vermeulen: Leonde@smyc.com


Sint Maarten Yacht Club

Established in 1980 with the goal to promote sailing on the island of St Maarten. It organizes multiple sailing events throughout the year, with the St Maarten Heineken Regatta as its crown jewel. A youth sailing program stimulates local youngsters to become part of the sailing community, teaching them life skills like team work, perseverance and confidence. Always looking to further develop sailing on St Maarten, the Club is active in promoting the sport, as well as the beautiful destination it is located at. For more information visit www.smyc.com


For more photos click here.




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