A Collection of All-Star “Rock Stars” Dominated the Action in the 6th Edition of the Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally

With the 6th edition of the Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally now in the books, it’s time to look back at one of the growing trends on the competitive, racing side of the event. The top sailors in the sport are known as “rock stars,” and the CMC has attracted several in the past, including American Olympic gold medalist Jonathan McKee and Italian offshore legend Giovanni Soldini. But for 2024, the fleet was especially studded with numerous rock stars, and there’s no question the regatta is now attracting top-level sailing talent. Here are a few from CMC VI:

All-around multihull wizard Benoit Champanhac is one of the top names in the catamaran and trimaran worlds, and he proved that once again as the key member of Alexis du Boucaud’s Diam 24, Merlin, which not only won the highly competitive Diam 24 one-design class, it was also named the CMC’s Most Worth Performer for 2024. Fellow Merlin crewmate Ivan Skobtsoy heaped high praise on his teammate: “He made all the difference,” Skobtsoy said. “He’s the man.”

French sailors have long been leading the way in transatlantic and round-the-world solo and crewed racing, and the squad aboard Marc Guillemot’s MG5 catamaran Dazelad had a trio of world-class talent aboard. Skipper Guillemot is perhaps best known, a veteran of multiple Route du Rhum and Jacques Vabre trans-oceanic contests. But it was his third place in the 2008 running of the Vendée Globe that sealed his reputation as a certified French legend. Joining him for the CMC were two more well-known Frenchmen, including all-around pro sailor and journalist Nicolas Raynaud and Bruno Jourdren, a three-time Paralympic competitor who has a National Championship in the Melges 24 class to his credit. “These guys are all great sailors,” said French sailing journalist Emmanuel van Deth, who has chronicled their brilliant careers.

Ricardo Pavoncelli’s Gunboat 66, Mana, had a pair of rock stars aboard who are well known to one another. Loick Peyron (brother of another French legend, Bruno Peyron) is a two-time America’s Cup veteran who also set a stunning Route du Rhum record of 7 days, 15 hours in his maxi trimaran Banque Populaire VII. Brit Brian Thompson also has a stellar offshore resume, including a victory in the 2006 Volvo Ocean Race aboard ABN AMRO One. And together, Peyron and Thompson teamed up to win the 2012 Jules Verne Trophy for their round-the-world passage aboard Banque Populaire V. Talk about a tandem for the ages.

Finally, there was the all-star assemblage aboard American Todd Slyngstad’s Nemo, the winner of the CSA 1 division. Though they may not be as well-known as the others, in the close-knit world of yacht racing, three-time Guinness World Record/World Sailing Speed Record holder Ryan Breymaier; Californian sailmaker Mat Bryant; and Jan Majer, a navigator who guided the Volvo 70 Warrior to a record-setting win in the tricky Annapolis-Newport Race, are all as good as it gets.

Finally, in other CMC news, the event has now been named one of four prestigious regattas that now comprise the International Maxi Association’s Caribbean Maxi Multihull Series. There’s no question that, as the new series gains traction in the years ahead, more and more rock stars will make their way to St. Maarten to test their skills and their reputations in the Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally.

About the Caribbean Multihull Challenge:
The St Maarten Yacht Club will host the seventh annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally from January 30-February 2, 2025. 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 not-for-profit Club is active in promoting the sport, as well as its beautiful island destination. For more information visit www.smyc.com.