Sailors from the Sint Maarten Yacht Club Sailing School Participated in the Heineken Regatta in 4 different teams. We have asked them all to share their experience.
"Be the flow!" That was the motto that got Team MaveriX through four rough days of sailing during the 42nd annual Heineken Regatta.
My name is Jordan. I'm 16, and the skipper of Miss Tyknight, a Sunfast 20 lent to me by Robbie Ferron from Budget Marine. As I'm sure many of you know, Team MaveriX has been a dream for me for the last few years; a group of under 18's competing in one of the biggest regattas in the Caribbean - and with your support, we've finally managed to make that happen.
On this team is Lucas (16), my amazing tactician. His knowledge and input throughout this process was invaluable - but don't tell him I said that.
Francener (15) was our jib trimmer, and he did all the most terrifying work for us, from lying on the leeward side of the deck to give our jib a proper shape, to standing on the bow as we ran downwind - trust me, no one else wanted to do that.
Darius, a fellow sailor at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, joined us on day 2 of the regatta to lend some extra weight for the rough conditions, and C'jai brought all the fun on day 3, never tiring from the constant hiking.
It's taken so much hard work to get to where me and my crew are now, but with their dedication and the support from all of you, we've finally made it. Today, I want to share the story of what went down between March 3rd and 6th - and what this means for us.
Day 1 of the regatta was mostly trial and error. I've never sailed the Heineken Regatta all the way through, so this was a whole new experience for me. The weather was about as demotivating as it could get for me and my two crew; the wind dropped completely halfway through, and our tack angles were frustratingly wide, but all our competition was in good spirit, and we shared some friendly jeers with small Jeanneau that was sailing against us, so all was well.
Day 2 rocked up hard; sailing up past Phillipsburg has never been a favorite of mine, but as we built up momentum, I realized I couldn't be loving the conditions more. I think we all gained confidence as the wind picked up and we made it through the swell; when we once may have called it a day and dropped the sails, we pushed onwards, and we realized we could actually do this!
I think we all began to get a bit nervous towards the last two days. The wind kept picking up, and things started to go wrong. We saw several other boats having trouble, but my crew - fearless as ever - battened down the companionway hatch and hiked out harder than ever. C'jai in particular seemed to be having a blast, and that in turn motivated the rest of us.
While I'd desperately wanted an extra crew member for the final (and certainly most hectic) day, we were forced to pull through with just the three of us.
I remember sailing up toward Beacon Hill, and Lucas and I looked up at this huge grey wall of wind and water barrelling towards us. The weather was dangerous - unforgiving to an inexperienced crew - but we weren't inexperienced, and we weren't afraid. I think maybe we didn't quite comprehend what was coming towards us. If I'd seen the forecast that morning, I would've have reconsidered my decision to go out - but staring it in its face, full sail and full hike, I think we were too tired to realize what it was. What it was, was howling wind and freezing rain that burned the water flat, and made my ears ache, but even to my own surprise, I somehow remained calm.
We pulled through safe and sound, thankfully, and in hindsight I'm quite surprised nothing went wrong.
We came fourth place overall, winning the prize for best youth team, and a lot of experience that I don't think we would've gotten any other way. There are so many of you who have supported us in this journey, and it means the world to me that we - all of us - have finally seen it happen.
About the 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