Feb 09, 2022, Herb McCormick
Above: Competitor CMC: 2 2 Tango. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
It was a wet and wild weekend of highly competitive yacht racing with a little bit of everything: squalls and sunshine, gusts and lulls, surprising finishes. In other words, the fourth running of the annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge, which took place over the first weekend of February from the 4th through the 6th, was a resounding success. Let’s take a look back at this edition, and ahead to the next, already labelled with a catchy nickname: “Five Years of Flight.”
The Racing: Race officer Rein Korteknie had an ambitious schedule, and hoped for the conditions to run two of the CMC’s signature contests: the classic round-the-island of St. Maarten race, and the 60-Mile Sprint from St. Maarten to St. Barth’s and back, sponsored by FKG Marine Rigging and Fabrication. He pulled them both off, and a full series of races for all four CMC classes, as well.
The Sprint showcased the talents of two brothers, Greg Slyngstad on Fujin and Todd Slyngstad on Nemo. It was a sensational, neck-and-neck battle, with Fujin completing the course in less than four hours, while topping Nemo in elapsed time by under three minutes. That made Fujin the favorite to take top honors in CSA 1, but an unfortunate mainsail problem on the event’s second day forced them to miss both races dashed those hopes. That opened the door for Anthony McVeigh’s lovely catamaran, 2 2 Tango, which scored a first and second on the regatta’s final day to win the division, and to win the beautiful Diver’s Watch provided by Oris Swiss Watches with the honor of Most Worthy Performer and Overall Winner.
CSA 2 was perhaps the most competitive group in the 2022 fleet of 16 boats, and after a tremendous battle over four races with constant lead changes, the victor was the CMC’s Steering Committee Chairman Petro Jonker’s tight team aboard the Leopard 47, Seaduction. CSA 3, comprised of five well-sailed trimarans, marked the debut of the Diam 24 one-design class, and the zippy water bugs provided some of the regatta’s best visuals. When all was said and done, it was Pierre Altier’s Diam, Cry Baby, at the top of the leader board. Last but hardly least, the all-fun Pirate Class was won by an all-women crew sponsored by Fope Fine Italian Jewelry on a slick Moorings catamaran (provided by the Moorings), My Treasure, smiling the entire time.
Competitor CMC: My Treasure. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
My Treasure’s vastly experienced skipper, Annie Gardner, was one of several sailing luminaries sprinkled through the fleet, which also included another fine woman sailor, Cary Byerley (2 2 Tango), long-distance ace Ryan Breymaier (Nemo) and two-time Olympic medalist and America’s Cup veteran, Jonathan McKee (Fujin).
Competitor CMC: Arawak. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
The Sponsors: The CMC has attracted a tremendous roster of supporting sponsors that help make the event what winner McVeigh on 2 2 Tango calls “the happiest regatta in the Caribbean. “We welcomed back our repeating sponsors like Oris Swiss Watches, Fope Fine Italian Jewelry, Caribbean Multihulls Brokerage, Yacht Club Port De Plaisance, Budget Marine, the Moorings, Ballerina Jewelers, Wyndham Hotels, Eagle Tours, and others who joined us previously,” said CMC Director of Marketing Stephen Burzon. “Plus, we added new ones this year including American Airlines, the Sint Maarten Tourist Board, and Real Estate SXM. All happy and satisfied; and we look forward to a long association with each.”
Competitor CMC: Diam 24. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
The Promotions: Going forward, the CMC aims to attract an ever-growing fleet of catamarans and trimarans to the annual February event, and to that end marketing maven Burzon plans to hit the road to promote the regatta in advance of the 2023 edition. “We did well this year in that regards, which will allow us to do even more pre-event marketing,” he said. “The Sint Maarten Tourist Board sponsorship especially will allow me to travel to the key multihull shows, including the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, in October, and the International Multihull Show in La Grand Motte in the south of France in April. At both shows, we’ll fly the CMC flag and personally invite more owners and sailors to enter the 2023 event.”
Competitor CMC: Honey Badger. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.
The Future: It’s almost hard to believe that the 2023 Caribbean Multihull Challenge V—scheduled for February 3-5, 2023—will be the fifth anniversary event. For that, said Burzon, “We will shortly unveil a new poster with the working title of ‘Five Years of Flight’ that highlights the thrill and excitement of catamarans and trimarans flying a hull when they are reaching in good winds. Add this to the debut of another distance race within the three days to accompany our 60-Mile Sprint called the ‘Around Saba Dash.’ Like the Sprint, it’s a power reach from St. Maarten to the island and back, a 52-miler that promises to be epic. We can’t wait!”