Avid sailors and enthusiasts gear up and prepare for some fun in the sun and racing during the 32nd Annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The traditional three-day event, scheduled March 1 – 4, 2012, kicks off the racing season with two pre-events, the Gill Commodores Cup on March 1st which is a one-day race for spinnaker classes only and the Budget Marine Match Racing Cup a one-day match racing event on Feb 28th which will bring the world’s best Match Racers to the island for a day of intense sailing. These events take place prior to the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta which will rev race-goers up for the main event.

The annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has become a world-wide, one-of-a-kind sailing event with exciting entertainment, musical performances and parties that has attracted tens of thousands of sailors and enthusiasts over the years. The actual competition consists of round-the-buoys contests and point-to-point destination races against the backdrop of St. Maarten’s breathtaking coastal views.

Each night during the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, there is a veritable battle of the bands, with the celebration ending with an awards ceremony on Sunday night. Famous headliners previously have included The Black Eyed Peas, Ziggy Marley, The Wailers, Shaggy, The Marley Brothers, Jimmy Cliff and Wyclef Jean.

St. Maarten has it all, from cafés and sizzling beachside barbecues; boutique hotels and high-rise resorts and some of the best shopping and nightlife in the Caribbean, there is truly something for everyone.

Sailing enthusiasts and competitors from around the world will join this year’s St.Maarten Heineken Regatta, including many local names that are familiar and long-time Caribbean racers such as Ian Hope-Ross’s Beneteau First 36.7, Kick ’em Jenny; Richard Wesslund’s J/120, El Ocaso; Sergio Sagramoso’s latest Lazy Dog, a Grand Soleil 54; and the Melges 24, Budget Marine/Gill.

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will also showcase some of the grandest, most impressive super-yachts participating in the Caribbean 600 ocean race. This remarkable contingent included Aegir II, a Carbon Ocean 82; Bella Pita, a Tripp 75; I-SEA, a Farr 78; the Swan 100, Varsovie; and POS, a Reichel/Pugh 78 in 2011.

(Source http://www.eturbonews.com/26431/gear-countdown-st-maarten-heineken-regatta)