By Herb McCormick
Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten – 22 November, 2019: When Ian Pederson, the senior marketing manager for the world-renowned yacht-charter firm The Moorings, first came onboard with the company almost 10 years ago, catamaran trips were a hard sell. “It was a challenge trying to convince people to take a sailing cat on vacation,” he said. “People had a mental block about cats.”
As the old saying goes: Times change.
Now, nearly a decade later, Pederson says, “Since then, globally, our company has been completely transformed, and the majority of our fleet is now catamaran driven.” Which is one of the primary reasons The Moorings has thrown its support behind the upcoming second edition of the Caribbean Multihull Challenge Sint Maarten, and has joined the event in its growing roster of corporate sponsors. The second annual CMC will take place from February 14-16, 2020.
The Sint Maarten operation is an important one for The Moorings, and also one that took a devastating hit when Hurricane Irma ravaged the islands just over two years ago. “The damage in the British Virgin Islands received most of the publicity in the charter community, but Sint Maarten was hit just as hard,” said Pederson. “The entire marina where the fleet was located was destroyed. We had to take a step back. That was a real gut check.”
But out of the ashes arose opportunity. “We ended up relocating to Marigot and the Marina Fort-Louis, which was a huge upgrade, as it’s a world-class facility,” said Pederson. “It’s right next to the airport, and very convenient for people going on vacation. It’s not as big as our base in the BVI, but it plays a huge role in our company’s presence in the Caribbean. It’s really good to have Sint Maarten back on top.”
Of the 30-odd boats in The Mooring’s fleet in Sint Maarten, there are currently eight catamarans, representing both sail and power, and available for bareboat charter or all-inclusive crewed trips with a dedicated skipper and mate. “The overall trend is definitely shifting more towards catamarans for charter vacations,” said Pederson. “Now it seems we can’t build them fast enough or big enough.”
Which is one of the primary reasons a partnership with the CMC and The Moorings is such a natural fit. “The fact that the CMC now exists speaks to that shift towards cats,” said Pederson. “You couldn’t have established an event like this very long ago, where it was completely multihull driven, and actually have enough boats in the Caribbean to accommodate something like that. Especially from a charter fleet that’s really exciting.”
Pederson added, “We’re all for getting as many people to our destinations as possible. Over the next few years the potential for growth with the CMC, and chartering cats in Sint Maarten, is massive. When we start getting calls from people in Europe and the U.K. and South Africa who want to come and participate in the regatta, we’ll be here to accommodate them in any way possible.”
Yes, The Moorings and the Caribbean Multihull Challenge are all in together.
About the Caribbean Multihull Challenge Sint Maarten:
The Sint Maarten Yacht Club will host the second annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge from February 14-16, 2020. The event is open to all multihull sailors on racing catamarans and trimarans as well as chartered cats and cruising multis. For more information visit www.smyc.com/caribbean-multihull-challenge.
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