Simpson Bay, St. Maarten – March 29, 2021
The 2021 National Dinghy Sailing Championships under the auspices of the Sint Maarten Sailing Federation SIMSAF had a strong entry both from the Dutch and the French side with 37 boats on the water who battled stiff breezes in two racing areas. This event continues the strong participation and competition in the 20/21 sailing season. Besides being the National Championship, it also constitutes a component of the scoring of the Grant Thornton Season Championship series. "We are very happy that we were able to organize this event, with the high number of participants. Having two racing fields contributed to this. And we are very proud of all the kids sailing, who have shown tremendous progress", according to Saskia Revelman, sailing instructor at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.
The competitive Laser class was dominated by St. Barths sailor Benoit Meesemaecker who scored 5 wins in 7 races. Close behind was Frits Bus who scored one win but was always in the top three. Jolyon Ferron came third after some unplanned swimming. All the above were using standard rigs. The winner in radial rigs was Justin Pieterse who also scored fourth in the overall Laser scoring and in the smaller 4/7 the winner was Emma Lennox who scored fifth overall. The national champions in this class were Frits Bus, Justin Pieterse and Emma Lennox. Meesemacker, not being a resident of Sint Maarten was not eligible for the National championship status. Mention should also be made of positions 6 and 7 which were filled by small frame ladies being Jordan Pieterse and Stephane Ferron who showed that with the right sails and skills it is unnecessary to be a big frame male to succeed in this class.
The Optimist class with 11 entries was dominated by Caii Banting who had a bad race in race five where visitor from the French side Emilien le Normand took a win. Adriaan Coppelmans came second and Veronica Destin third. There is every reason to expect the very active Club de voile the friar's bay to be more competitive in the future as indicated by the fact that Emilien le Normand took two wins (but had some bad races) and Sarah Micheax also took a second in the final race.
The Laser Pico class was dominated by Boo Faustin with Melina de Vries taking second. Boo Faustin clearly took the title National Champion.
The RS Quest class was dominated by Summer Jean Morton and Sahil Khatnani who were winning everything until the last two races when Mathijs Detering and Delhan and Arthur Banting and Caoimhe Brennan suddenly improved themselves, but Summer and Sahil were very deserving of being the National Champion.
The Jeanneau Sunfast 20 class was dominated by yacht club commodore Garth Steyn who won all races from race 4 to race 8. His response: "Sailing is alive in St. Maarten. What a great day!" Behind him there was a mix of results but Nils Jannichsen managed to break a tie with Robbie Ferron due to having two wins with Andrea Scarabelli just inches behind the podium.
The prizes were awarded by globally recognized sailor Peter Harken whose expertise in sailboat racing stretches from ice boats to America’s cup and who was, with his late brother Olaf, responsible for the development of much of the high technology sailing hardware currently used on racing sailboats.
Due to the damage incurred to the yacht club dock as a result of the superyacht accident, the regatta was creatively managed using alternative locations like Explorer island and other dockage solutions in order to run the regatta.
The Sint Maarten Yacht Club will cancel the first racing day of the Hope Ross series that was scheduled for the Easter weekend. The weekend following will be the two-day Grant Thornton Multiclass Regatta on 10 and 11 April, that is hoped to attract a similar number of competitors.
For results, photos and more got to: https://www.smyc.com/dinghy-series