Jan 29, 2023
Five Years of Flight! Record-Setting Fleet Gathering in St. Maarten for Fifth Anniversary Running of the Caribbean Multihull Challenge V. The countdown is in full swing. A record-setting field of over 30 racing and cruising multihulls are in the process of gathering and preparing for the fifth running of the growing, prestigious Caribbean Multihull Challenge V Race and Rally, scheduled to take place from February 3-5. And as the fleet and the regatta continues to expand and evolve on this fifth anniversary of the only Caribbean event catering strictly to multihulls, so too does the CMC. This year, for the first time, not only is a new and exciting series of offshore races on the calendar, but the organization will also be hosting its inaugural rally for dedicated cruising boats, the CMC Shipyard Brand Turnkey Rendezvous.
First and foremost, the CMC has always been a highly competitive regatta fueled by the staunch easterly trade-winds for which the Caribbean is famous. And once again, it has drawn a select group of outstanding entrants eager to test their boats and their crews on this elite sailing stage.
In the “big-boat” racing category, the CMC is welcoming back a pair of catamarans that have enjoyed resounding success in the event: Greg Slyngstad’s 53-foot Fujin, with an all-star crew from the Pacific Northwest led by Olympic Gold Medalist and recent National Sailing Hall of Fame Inductee Jonathan McKee, and Anthony McVeigh’s superbly prepared 53-footer, 2 2 Tango. Nipping at their heels will be an impressive pair of newcomers to the CMC: Freddie Mills representing the Antigua Yacht Club aboard Cui Bono, a Gunboat 60, one of the best-known brands of performance cruising cats, and Aussie Guy Chester sailing Oceans Tribute, from the board of legendary catamaran designer Lock Crowther, which he sailed from Australia to race off St. Maarten.
These boats, along with their fellow competitors in the all-out racing classes, will this year be contesting a trio of distance races called the CMC Trifecta, which include the CMC 60-Mile Sprint, a blast to St. Barth’s and back that’s a holdover from previous events; the Around Saba Dash, a brand-new 52-mile power reach to the isle of Saba and back; and a perennial favorite of all sailors who come to St. Maarten to compete, the SXM Circle Race, the tricky 27-mile circumnavigation of the island, which always holds numerous surprises when it comes to currents, breeze and tactics. The winner of the Trifecta will receive a beautiful new Aquis Depth Gauge dive watch from longtime CMC supporter and sponsor, ORIS Swiss Watches.
But CMC V is not just for the crews that enjoy close-quarters racing with the spray flying. No, this year, the event has drawn cruising sailors from near and far, all of whom enjoy their sailing and time on the water in more mellow, island-time circumstances. The CMC Rally component of the festivities has drawn 11 entrants, including several French-built cats from Lagoon and Nautitech; a couple of Leopards from the popular South African builder Robertson & Caine; and a half-dozen Balance cats, another performance-cruising outfit from South Africa with the company’s founder and guru, Phil Berman, preparing to join the fun on his own Balance 482, In Balance. While the racers are underway thrashing through the blue water, the Rally boats will enjoy a somewhat more civilized venue: a pleasant sail to the welcoming anchorage at Anse Marcel; a jaunt to Anguilla, with an overnight stay in Sandy Ground; and a return trip to St. Maarten’s Simpson Bay, where it will all begin in the first place.
The festival of sail and sailing will also showcase the half-dozen, peppy Diam 24 one-design trimarans; the return of the all-women crew aboard the Lagoon 380, Team Fope; local favorites Tryst, the classic Dick Newick-designed trimaran, and Island Water World, the sleek Joubert/Nivelt 52-foot cat; and so much more.
About the Caribbean Multihull Challenge:
The St Maarten Yacht Club will host the fifth annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge from February 3-5, 2023. 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.caribbeanmultihullchallenge.com.
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 island on which it is located. For more information visit www.smyc.com.