Feb 03, 2023
Herb Mc Cormick
Fujin Crushes Inaugural Dash Around Saba; Rally Sets Sail for Anse Marcel in Sensational Start to Caribbean Multihull Challenge V
Above: Race Competitor CMC V: Fujin. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
Simpson Bay, St Maarten (Feb. 3): On a classic St. Maarten day under crystal-clear skies and with pumping easterly tradewinds, the Caribbean Multihull Challenge V Race and Rally began today in classic, memorable fashion. For the first time ever, the CMC was a two-part affair, with a dedicated fleet of racing catamarans and trimarans competing in a series of competitive contests while a separate rally of cruising multihulls set sail to Anse Marcel, on the island’s French side, on the first of three legs of a mellow cruise in company. The one common denominator? Everyone enjoyed a perfect day of champagne Caribbean sailing conditions.
One boat, however, rose above the rest. In the inaugural running of the Around Saba Dash, a 52-mile power reach from Simpson Bay, around the nearby Dutch island of Saba and back, Greg Slyngstad’s 53-foot Fujin pulled a serious horizon job on the CSA 1 fleet, besting the half-dozen rivals in its class in merciless fashion with a time of 3h, 21m, 35s. Fujin’s closest competitor, the Gunboat 60 Cui Bono, was almost an hour in arrears on elapsed time. And Fujin also was CSA 1 overall winner on corrected time, with Anthony McVeigh’s well-sailed 53-foot 2 2 Tango placing second by a mere minute and Aussie Guy Chester’s Crowther-designed trimaran Oceans Tribute rounding out the podium with a third.
On the eve of the Around Saba Dash, Fujin crewman Jonathan McKee said, “There’s going to be a course record to Saba because nobody has ever done it before. And we intend to set it!” After the race, when informed his boat had established a time and mark that may be difficult to beat, Fujin’s owner Greg Slyngstad laughed. “Well, maybe until a Mod 70 sails it,” he said, referring to the 70-foot one-design trimarans considered to be ocean thoroughbreds. It speaks to Fujin’s power and performance, as also demonstrated in previous CMC’s, that a Mod 70 would be mentioned in the same breath.
Race Competitor CMC V: Cui Bono. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
There was initial confusion on the starting line, when both Fujin and Cui Bono mistakenly believed the 10-minute starting sequence was 5 minutes, and both took off before realizing their error and returning late for the actual start. (Cui Bono later lodged a protest that was dismissed.) Principal race officer Rein Korteknie also gave competitors the option to round Saba from either direction. “We went downwind, and left the island to starboard, with a couple of other boats,” said Slyngstad, who also said the top wind speed his crew experienced was about 22 knots, and Fujin’s boat speed topped off at around 25 knots.
Meanwhile, Korteknie sent the five boats that constituted the CSA 2 and CSA 3 classes on a 29-mile course upwind along the south shore of the island, then up St. Maarten’s eastern flank and around the island of Tintamarre before returning to the finish line in Simpson Bay. The winners of the respective divisions were another pair of veteran competitors, Arthur Banting in the Newick tri Tryst in CSA 2 and George Coutu’s Leopard 50, La Novia, in CSA 3.
Race Competitor CMC V: Diam 24 – Cry Macho. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
In the Diam 24 class of one-design trimarans, the first of two races was abandoned under CMC rules when one of the competitors capsized early in the contest, and the boats then sailed the identical course as the CSA 2 and CSA 3 boats. In the staunch trades, the sailing and boat-handling of the trimarans, with their 3-person crews, was nothing less than spectacular. When the spray had settled, Pierre Altier’s Cry Baby was the clear winner.
Rally Participant CMC V: Catalyst. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
Soon after the racing fleets were underway, the dozen cruising cats in the rally group, led by a contingent of a half-dozen of the slick Balance Catamarans built in South Africa, also gathered in Simpson Bay and set sail west towards Anse Marcel in stately company, with each boat crossing a makeshift departure line a minute apart. It was nothing less than a beautiful parade of sail which will take the participants to three separate destinations, with an overnight anchorage off the island of Anguilla on Saturday.
All in all, what was no less than a St. Maarten “Festival of Sail” enjoyed competition and camaraderie across the board, and CMC V, nicknamed “Five Years of Flight!” for this fifth anniversary edition, had spread its wings and taken off.
Rally Participant CMC V: Joline. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
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.