Mar 10, 2014

Gunboat Fleet Racing at Heineken Regatta 2014







Above Gunboats racing at Heineken Regatta 2014. The problem for these Gunboat owners is going to be when the flying G4 enters the race... that will bring the Cruiser-Racer Multi to another level.

Report below by Louay Habib. 
More pics at Gunboat fb
Results at heinekenregatta.com



Gunboat Grand Finale
"The closest contest in the ten year history of the Gunboat Class played out to dramatic conclusion on the last day of the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta. Shifty winds with a massive rain squall provided high drama for the decisive race for the Gunboat fleet. Right from the start line, in Marigot Bay, the battle was on. Coca de Mer and Slim came in on Port with Tigerlily, Tribe and Elvis choosing starboard. All five Gunboats hit the line in unison and something had to give. Gunboat 66, Slim fouled Tigerllly and returned to restart.

Once again Gunboat 62, Elvis got the mojo going and made the top mark first, leading the fleet across the Anguilla Channel. However, Gunboat 62, Tribe chose to play the current and shifts along the St.Maarten shore line and came out smelling of roses, making a massive gain,

A huge rain squall at Blowing Rock caused the fleet to compress

and Gunboat 62, Elvis threw the dice, choosing to sail offshore looking for the gradient breeze and they found it to win the race and the Gunboat Class overall. Elvis' tactician Danny Pletsch spoke about the decisive move at Blowing Rock. “With the breeze dying under the heavy rain squall, the race literally restarted and we could see that the boats in other classes were just flopping around heading for the next mark. We decided that the best bet was to head offshore as that is where the gradient breeze should come in first but it was a big gamble but when the fleet didn't follow us we knew we were either going to come first or last. It was a tense few minutes that seemed like hours but we got it right and there were smiles all round when we crossed the line. Winning by a single point shows how competitive this fleet is, Heineken St.Maarten Regatta has been a real blast.”

Slim fought back valiantly from their foul at the start to cross the line in second place but the real eye-opening finish was between two Gunboat 66s, Tigerlily and Coca de Mer. Both yachts rounded the last mark and raised their spinnakers for the sprint finish, there was nothing between the two, as the crews dug deep for one last push and Tigerlily won the duel by a whisker.

After three days of sensational Gunboat racing, Gunboat 62, Elvis was crowned King of the Gunboats by a single point. Gunboat 66, Coca de Mer had sailed consistently all regatta to claim a worthy second place with Gunboat 62, Tribe in third.

A fun prize giving was held at Jimbo's Mexican Restaurant attended by all of the crews. A fun filled night was made extra special by the camaraderie within the class. “I can't believe that it is ten years since Gunboat was started, but I guess time flies when your having fun. “ commented Gunboat CEO and founder, Peter Johnstone. “The standard of sailing and the boats has just blown me away this year and with more gunboats on the way, we are already planning next year's big bash. I would like to say a big thank you to the owners and their crews for supporting this event, both on and off the water, the atmosphere has been just insane.”

To stay tuned in to this year's action go to: www.facebook.com/gunboatcatamarans

Words by Louay Habib. Pictures © Ocean Images.

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