Serious Fun at the 43rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta


Mar 9, 2023

By: Allegra Smith-Herriott

Royal Van crewed Team Asterias took overall third in the Bareboat 1 class

Serious Fun! The motto of the 43rd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Canadian Yachting had the chance to attend this bucket list event to capture all of the action over the course of four days of world class racing. And world class partying!

Over 100 teams from more than 25 countries gathered in Simpson Bay for the regatta this year. Teams flew in from all over and many sailed across oceans to attend this event including Canadian team Bella J.

Canada was well represented at the regatta this year with several Canadian teams across the different divisions. And even some podium finishes!

bella j crew 400The Bella J crew celebrating after the around the island race on Saturday

Panacea 400

Panacea took overall first place in the CSA 6 class. After frantically finishing last minute hull repairs, they didn’t know if attending the regatta was even possible, but they came out on top with a stellar performance on the water all regatta long.

There were two Canadian teams on the podium in the Bareboat 1 class. Nauti Canucks took 2nd place, while Asterias took 3rd. Both from the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, most of the members didn’t even know each other before coming down to the regatta. It was friendly competition between the two of them and even more fun celebrating onshore with one another.

Team Panacea / Credit: Laurens Morel, Salty Colours

Team Bella J from Nova Scotia and Imaginaire both had great performances in the CSA 5 class. Salacia 1 raced against Panacea in the CSA 6 class and Little Wing joined other catamarans in the Multihull 2 class. For most of the Canadian teams, this was their first time attending the Heineken.

Fleet courses were scattered across the island and racers got to have a taste of many different windward and leeward races and a mix of shorter and longer distance races. Canadian Yachting got to join team Bella J for the around the island race on Saturday.

The Regatta Village opened at 3:00pm every day with plenty of local vendors and pop-up shops including the commemorative regatta gear. Awards every night at 6:00pm preceded music from local artists and partying into the night.

Heineken Party 400The Regatta Village by night / Credit: Souleyman T. Photography

At Port de Plaisance on Sunday, the grand finale evening was unmatched. Grammy award winning artist Koffee was the headliner for a stellar performance and a memorable way to end off the 43rd regatta.

Sunday was also the proclaimed bridge competition where boats put on their best show for spectators and judges at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. There was certainly no shortage of serious fun to be had by all!

As always, Canadians were spotted all over Simpson Bay. Volunteers, snowbirds, vacationers, residents – St. Maarten is a very popular place to escape.

The focus of the event this year wasn’t only on the sailing and celebration. Every day the regatta highlighted a different key value: sustainability, the next generation, women in sailing, and local talent. Creating a lasting impact was a big theme behind this year’s event. A special thank you to the amazing group of women that Canadian Yachting worked closely with: Michele Korteweg, Meg Reilly, Alice Driscoll and Hilda.

The racing was world class and so was the party. Can’t wait for next year!

Visit our Instagram and Facebook pages for more behind the scenes action that took place.

For more information on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, visit


Allegra Heineken Regatta 400

Allegra Smith-Herriott is the Associate Editor of Canadian Yachting. She is a Sport Media graduate from Ryerson University as well as an active sailor and power boater on Georgian Bay. She can be reached at








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