Sep 21, 2022, Robbie Ferron
CMC IV – CMC V
Caribbean Multihull Challenge Is the Right Idea for the Right Time. All over the Caribbean, islands have been trying to replicate the enormous promotional success of Antigua Sailing Week and the Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta. These events not only bring direct economic value to the territories in which they are held but they also carry powerful low-cost promotional messages about the territories in which they are held. The core of that message to the world is that the destination is active and exciting; and the value and success of this message has been clearly proven.
But the yachting world is changing. Just like in music and clothing fashions change is constant our successful territory – Sint Maarten – is adapting to that change. In the case of the yachting world much energy is moving towards multihulls which come in the form of catamarans and trimarans. There are also more regattas in many more islands that provide different options to potential participants and Sint Maarten wants to capture the broadest audience possible.
In order to stay with these developments, in 2019, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club decided to focus on what is clearly identified as a growth area. Multihulls are the largest growth category in yacht construction and represent an increasing share of yacht inventory. In February 2023 there will be the fifth edition of the Caribbean Multihull Challenge which is focused on this huge niche. For the first time the event will include both a Race and a Rally. The goal is to build a second strong regatta event on Sint Maarten which will reinforce the island’s position in the field of regatta events and optimize the share of the market for Sint Maarten.
Multihulls are the fastest growing yacht types globally. They come in many versions. There are those with two hulls (catamarans) and three hulls (trimarans). They come in large versions that are superfast and can make ocean crossings at speeds not previously though possible. They come in luxury comfortable versions that are as comfortable and expansive as a luxury villa (without swimming pool). They come in comfortable models that a husband and wife team can handle and still provide a fantastic cruising home in the Caribbean.
They also come in smaller, fast versions like the Diam 24’s of which there is a strong fleet in Sint Maarten. These boats have attracted the more sporting sailors who appreciate the high speeds and don’t mind getting very wet.
The Caribbean Multihull Challenge has been the target of great effort by volunteer Steve Burzon who has ensured that the event has got strong recognition in the global multihull audience. Numerous local sponsors have played a major role and if the growth of this event is maintained, the entire island will benefit. The Tourist Bureau has chosen to support the entire regatta as well as a component of the 2023 event being a 52 mile “Around Saba Dash”. CMC contacts have been made with many decision makers in the multihull industry including Burzon’s April visit to the dedicated multihull show in Grand La Motte, France.
Sint Maarten has a unique claim to multihull sailing in that it was the location of the Caribbean’s earliest and most recognized early multihull construction. In the 1970’s Peter Spronk built catamarans on the island in Cole Bay which became world famous and he organized the “Tradewinds Race” which covered a large swathe of the Caribbean. Many of the Spronk catamarans were the first very effective day charter boats that went to St Barth’s and names like Maidwell and Court were early operators. The present team is simply refreshing the old focus of Sint Maarten’s dominance in multihull sailing.