SIMPSON BAY—Thanks to agreements reached between organisers of 2019’s first Caribbean Multihull Challenge, measurer Stuart Knaggs, and Bobby’s Marina owner, Bobby Velasquez, competitors will not have to pay fees for measuring and weighing, a bonus that will add extra appeal among the multihull fraternity for the much-anticipated event.
The development was announced during a meeting in Sint Maarten Yacht Club between the principals involved; Robbie Ferron, Bobby Velasquez, Petro Jonker, Stuart Knaggs and Stephen Burzon.
Stuart Knaggs indicated he will be using the updated International Multihull Rating Rule (IMHRR) he was part of developing in 2013. He already has some 40 measured boats on his data base and it will just be a matter of weighing and measuring any new boats and adding them to the list. The rating given can be used at other regattas. “Weighing is an expensive exercise,” noted Petro Jonker, Chairman of the regatta’s steering committee. “You’ve got to book a measurer, book a travel lift. Then we asked what if we can do it as part of the regatta as we’ve got the facilities and the yards here. We approached Bobby and he very kindly agreed to provide a lift free of charge for the two days on the weekend before the regatta.
“Then we asked Stuart to see what he could do to provide ratings at low cost because at the end of the day you want entries and not sailors paying huge sums just to get here. So, thanks to Stuart and Bobby, this has all come together and we’re very excited. “ Said Bobby: “We’re always happy to help to make an event a success. Next year and years to come with new facilities installed everything will be sweeter, faster and better.” Robbie Ferron, who came up with the idea for the regatta, described it as a “breakthrough” regatta, the first dedicated multihull regatta in the Caribbean “Multihulls have become very much mainstream and we are seeing this incredible growth with new technology coming in,” he said. “Yet somehow multihulls never fitted in before with other regattas except at the Heineken Regatta. “It was always a different mindset but now we can match everything to that mindset. With other boats you can measure weight equivalents fairly well but it’s not possible with multihulls. But if you weigh them you can get very accurate results. Introducing this free weighing brings it all together.” Organisers have a generous lead-in time to prepare for the big event and are keen to maintain the momentum. That’s helped in no small measure by the efforts of Stephen Burzon who is in charge of promotion and marketing of the regatta. “Enthusiasm and interest for the event is considerable, from everyone I’ve been talking to in the Caribbean and the USA,” Burzon states. “We’ve captured the attention of Cruising World and Sailing magazines. They are giving us US$25,000 worth of advertising to promote the regatta in September and October. People want to be part of it. It’s very exciting to be involved at the birth of this event. It can develop into something with a very long lifespan. Burzon plans to have a mini boat show at the yacht club docks, where sponsors will be invited to bring boats and host tours of the boats. “We’ve been talking about how to invite the right visitors and sailors to come to the yacht club that weekend to see the boats. We’ll have tents and booths set up. People will be able to meet potential buyers.”