The Caribbean Multihull Challenge
In early 2018 Robbie Ferron; a founder of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club (founded 1980) and the Heineken Regatta convened a small meeting with SMYC members Stephen Burzon and Petro Jonker to discuss the creation of a new regatta to be held in Sint Maarten and the surrounding NE Caribbean that would be dedicated exclusively to multihull sailing yachts.
Robbie pointed out the rapid growth of catamaran and trimaran sailing vessels in the Caribbean and described the future growth of this category of pleasure yachts as remarkable and robust.
The three formed a Steering Committee for what would be called the Caribbean Multihull Challenge (CMC) with Petro as event chair, Steve as marketing and operations chair, and Robbie as chair of the event sailing committee. Then forthwith…we presented the idea to the Board of the Sint Martin Yacht Club and received enthusiastic approval to move ahead.
The CMC is important to yacht racing as prior to this event all major regattas included both monohulls and multihulls in their starts and courses; and we believed that by mixing both hull types the true qualities and excitement of multi-hull racing was lost. Plus, by holding a multihull only regatta; owners, captains, and crews of these unique boats could assemble, bond, and celebrate their community. The first event was held in February of 2019 and was an acclaimed success. In 2020 the second event hosted 20 entries; up from the original 12 in 2019. From the beginning impressive sponsors such as Oris Swiss Watches, Mount Gay Rum, Moorings Yacht Charter, Port De Plaisance Marina and Resort, the Multihull Company, and Caribbean Multihull Yacht Brokerage jumped in and enjoyed great brand building.
In the unfortunate Covid year of 2021, CMC III was held with mostly local boats participating. Lockdowns, event restrictions, and an overall constriction on flights caused the 2021 regatta to be quite subdued. But it did take place and those that participated had a great time. CMC IV held on 4,5,6 February 2022 began to build the momentum for this event again; with CMC V on the first weekend of February 2023 breaking new records with entries jumping 80% to 33 boats. This was the year where we introduced a cruising rally for multihull skippers who do not want to race could join in regatta fun. Also, in 2023 we added three distance races for CSA 1 boats where the speed of large multihulls could cover great distances in only a few hours.
Looking ahead to our sixth annual, we are adding a fourth day for racing and cruising – adding an overnight in St. Barth’s to the rally schedule. Henceforth the event will be known as the Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally™️. See you there!