Holmberg seeks third title at St. Maarten Heineken Regatta opener

POSTED: 01/10/12 3:04 PM

St. Maarten – Virgin Islands sailing legend Peter Holmberg – the only Caribbean sailor to win both an Olympic Medal and the America’s Cup – will return to one of his favorite sailing venues next month to compete in the fourth running of the Budget Marine Match Racing Cup. The annual event, scheduled for February 28, will serve as the official kick-off to the 32nd edition of the world-renowned St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, which begins on March 2. Holmberg will also be racing in aboard the new Reichel-Pugh IRC 52, Highland Fling.

Holmberg, who won the first two editions of the innovative Budget Marine Match Racing series, was denied a third trip to the winner’s circle last year when he was upset in the finals by New Zealand ace Gavin Brady. The memory remains fresh in his mind.

“I will definitely go in to the Budget Marine event looking for a win. Last year Gavin got the better of us in the finals, so I would like to erase that memory if I can,” he said.

Eight teams of sailors will once again gather in St. Maarten to compete for the $8, 000 purse. The winning team will get $5, 000, the runner-up will get $2, 000 and the third-place finishers will get $1, 000. Holmberg believes the prize money is only a small part of the attraction in competing for the Budget Marine Cup.

“The racing is held in the Simpson Bay Lagoon to promote spectating, so we are often racing in between moored boats and marinas. This can make the racing quite tricky, but that’s all in the spirit of the event. St. Maarten itself is a very friendly island, which always makes for a fun time visiting,” he said.

Thus far there are two confirmed entrants joining Holmberg for the Budget Marine Cup. One of them, Colin Rathbun of the British Virgin Islands, is a veteran of the regatta, and will be looking to better his third-place showing in last year’s contest.

“After falling in love with match racing, I’m all about bringing more of it to the Caribbean and the Budget Marine Match Racing Cup does just that. It’s tight, close-water sailing with some of the best in the world, all flown in to sail the big boats in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. I can’t wait to do it again this year,” he said.

The third confirmed entrant in the eight-boat fleet is American David Storrs, a 67-year-old American from the East Coast with extensive experience racing on Long Island Sound. David is currently ranked 20th among U.S. sailors in the International Sailing Federation list of top match racers.

Sailed in identical Jeanneau SunFast 20s with three-person teams, after an initial ten-flight round-robin series, the field is narrowed to a final four that compete for the prize money and bragging rights as one of the top match racers in the Caribbean. And opportunities are still available for teams looking to mix it up against living legend Peter Holmber.

“Anyone who is an accomplished match racer, male or female, who would like to enjoy match and fleet racing, perhaps win a pile of cash, and enjoy some of the finest regatta parties in the Caribbean should email the regatta office (director@heinekenregatta.com) and submit their sailing CV for consideration. The cost of participation is only $100 though a refundable deposit of $500 is required to confirm the slot,” said Regatta Director Heather Tackling.

For full information on the 2012 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including entry information, the Notice of Race, photos, videos, party and band information, and much, much more, visit www.heinekenregatta.com

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