Another high number of entrees for this year’s Heineken Regatta – Michele Korteweg: “My magical number is 200 entries”

POSTED: 02/27/13 2:00 PM

St. Maarten – This Friday the 33rd edition of the Heineken Regatta is going to start with again a high number of entrees.

“Last year we had around 187 to 190 entries, we were hoping to get around 225 entrees for this year,” Michele Korteweg, Director of the Heineken Regatta said. “But I’m happy if we reach the 200 that will be my magic number.”

And happy she will be because just yesterday the number of participants past the 200-mark

Korteweg who has worked for the regatta for the past four years replaces Heather Tackling and is now director for the first time of the biggest event on the island. “I always felt responsible for the regatta but now that I am the one in charge, it gives you a whole different look at it,” she said.

“It takes a lot of work to organize the regatta; we started already last year with the preparations. For now everything went well but the main work will have to be done during the regatta itself, to see if everything falls into place. After four years it is still a lot of fun to do.”

Like previous years the regatta is well-known for its headlines during the parties after the race. International artists such as: Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers, Shaggy, the Black Eyed Peas and Wycleff Jean rocked the stages before. Last year Maxi Priest was the main act at the closing night of the regatta at Kim Sha Beach. “This year we decided to do it a little different than previous years,” Korteweg said. “We have two big headlines that will cover our final concert on March 3. First, we will have legendary Motown, funk and soul band, The Commodores, who will be performing in the beginning of the evening. After their performance we will close the night off with a big bang when International Dutch DJ’s Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano will take over the crowd with their beats. This will be a nice concept for all ages.”

For the regatta 150 volunteers will be helping out, of those volunteers a set group of 70 to 80 people helps out every year. “We are very thankful with all these volunteers helping us out on the busiest weekend of the year. I am sure that without them we couldn’t have done such a good job as we did the previous years.”

As for the changes Korteweg made as director she says “I didn’t made that many changes, it’s my first regatta to organize as a director. For the volunteers we did it different this year; instead of doing a volunteer party which we always held in October or November, this year we held a volunteer fest, where all the coordinators were attending. This was a much more productive get together; for the new volunteers to ask questions and everyone could get to know each other.

Korteweg says that she could observe more while being on the side line of the regatta for several years. “Of course it won’t be the same than the ones who had the opportunity to do it before me, I’ll handle situations in a different way and I have a different look on certain things, I believe that’s normal. But that does not mean that this year’s regatta will be completely different. Because I did the regatta for so long, different relations with sponsors, sailors and volunteers will only get better now.”

Last year the government decided to raise the subsidy for the Heineken Regatta to put St. Maarten more on the map internationally. “The government wants to make St. Maarten more a destination island. They raised our subsidy so we can spend more money on advertisements in order to bring more people from all over the world to this event. This is a great opportunity for the government, so we will have to see how that has developed during the regatta.”

Yesterday the Budget Marine Racing Cup was held in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. This race was different from the regatta. “This was a more competitive race because they have to race one against one. A lot of well-known sailors were participating in this race that will also participate in the regatta. We wanted to highlight these names so it will attract more people.”

Besides the Commodores and Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano, St. Maarten‘s Orange Grove also will be performing on Friday at the Boardwalk together with Patrick Graham. During Friday evening’s party several stages will be located on the boardwalk were different artists gives act de presence.

On the other nights MC Gee Money together with DJ Chubs will perform at the Princess Pavillion at Port the Plaisance on Thursday evening and Saturday night a soca performance will be given by Destra Garcia in Marigot with many other local and internationally artists.

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Another high number of entrees for this year’s Heineken Regatta - Michele Korteweg: “My magical number is 200 entries” by

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