HISTORY 2016

LAST YEARS’ REGATTA, 2016:

RESULTS 2016: Results Laserchamps 2016

PHOTO’S OF EVENT: BY ALLISON MOCELLIN – CLICK HERE

2015 LASER CHAMPS REGATTA:

READ THE NEWSPAPER REPORT FROM THE DAILY HERALD:

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and look at the great photo’s from the event here: Photo’s 1   Photo’s 2

2014 REGATTA:

READ THE NEWSPAPER REPORT OF 17 JUNE 2014 FROM THE DAILY HERALD

ORIENT BAY—Up and coming sailing talent Rhone Findlay’s blossoming career path remains on track with another entry to add to his résumé, winning Radial Class and placing fifth in the 24-boat fleet at the 25th Heineken Light Caribbean Open Laser Championships this weekend

The self assured18-year-old won all eight races, after discarding one over early. Much of the time he was racing up at the head of the fleet with seasoned Open Class veterans, defying big swells and E.S.E winds gusting to 20-22knots on Saturday.

It probably wasn’t as easy as it looked on paper, and Findlay agreed.

“It was challenging and I had a lot of people pushing me from behind. I wasn’t always in front,” he corrected.

Those behind vying to get a bite out of his boat’s transom were other talented young sailors from the region, making up a 12-boat Radial Class, the largest class of the regatta and a sign the older sailors are starting to slip into the shadows to make way for the new generation.

That will not sit well with Frits Bus who continues to stay in extraordinary shape at 58 years old; as lean and as hungry for success as ever. This year he placed third in class and second overall, trounced by a resurgent Olivier Bernaz who fought his way into second place in class and third overall with a string of second place finishes.

“I’m very happy with my performance,” said the experienced Bernaz who relished the blustery conditions of Saturday.

But nobody had the answer to Benoit Meesmaecker from St. Barths’s utterly dominant performance in winning Open Class where he won every single race, and like Findlay only had to discard one over early race.

Meesmaecker was pushed hard in every race by Bus, Bernaz and Dominican Republic’s Jorge Abreu who won the Masters Category and took fourth overall. Second in this class went to Francois de Corlieu from St. Barths and third Ian Mahon from Trinidad.

Out of the picture this year was Antigua’s Karl James who would have spiced up the competition with Meesmaecker. But the 5-time Open Laser champion was nursing an injured knee and instead brought with him four young protégés, Lewis Fitzgerald, Jules Mitchell, Rhone Kirby and Vincent Anfi who all raced in the Radial Class.

“It’s painful to watch not being out there,” rued James as he sat on the committee boat before jumping into a dinghy to coach his young hopefuls in between races. “This is Lewis’s first international regatta and the others have done a few small ones. But this one is a real test for all of them.”

Fitzgerald finished second in class behind Findlay and sixth overall, and Mitchell was third in class.

There were two prizes for the ladies in the Radial Class. Trinidad’s Kelly Ann Arrindell finished fourth overall in the class. The second prize went to Johanna Looser, 20th overall. Both girls sailed all nine races in difficult conditions.

Race Officer for the regatta was Laurey-Ann assisted by Andrew Rapley. The sailors complimented the race committee for the courses and smooth transition from race to race. There were no protests from the water.

The regatta was organised by St. Maarten Yacht Club and sponsored by Heineken Light, Island Water World, Sunsail, and Club Orient.

Six Inches determines the 2013 champion…!

Daily Herald 11 June 2013 : Herald June 11

SATURDAY was a superb day of racing which started off slowly in very challenging 4 knots of wind, fortunately steadily picking up to 9 knots by lunchtime. Then the afternoon afforded everyone longer courses in higher winds of up to 13 knots, and six races were completed. Yet there were so many close finishes and the points are very close. Everyone enjoyed the competitors dinner at Bikini Beach Bar and are ready for great conditions again today.

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Click to see all photos from 2013 regatta

SUNDAY started out with 10-12 knots and built up to 19 knots with heavy seas and big swell, so the weekends’ racing had a bit of everything for every ability. After the final three races the overall winner was still to be determined at the very last race and, the two contenders crossed the line within centimeters of each other in a photo-finish nail-biting conclusion to a Championship fought out with great competition from around the Caribbean and beyond! The final winner was Ari Barshi from Cabarete, Dom Rep fame, closely followed by hot 17-year-old Kevin van Otterdijk from Curacao. Third overall was Masters winner Carlos Palambo from Argentina.

DSCN7858In the Standard class Benoit Meesemaeker from St Barths came in third. In the Masters Class Frits Bus from St Maarten and Jorge Abreu from Dom Rep filled in the second and third slots respectively. The Radial Class had such diversity with Rhone Findlay from St Maarten dominating the field, followed by  St Barths’ Cindy Brin (overall Womens’ Champion), with seasoned veteran Robbie Ferron in third spot. The 4.7 class was soley represented by talented youngster Johanna Looser from St Maarten who gamely competed and finished every race and chalked it all down to valuable experience in tough conditions against the top racers of the Caribbean and beyond!

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Click Here to see more photos taken during the 2013 regatta…

2012:

WELL… IT IS ALL OVER, BAR THE CHEERING !

What great racing! What ideal conditions!
and what fantastic competition!!!!
Thank you to all sailors, volunteers and sponsors…

Raul Aguayo of the Dominican Republic won the 23rd Heineken Light Open Caribbean Laser Championship 2012 (Overall and Standard). 17-year-old Kevin van Otterdijk of Curaçao dazzled everyone with his talent, managing to beat all the other top sailors to come in a close second (Overall and Standard). Kevins’ performance was all the more remarkable when he had a premature start, came back to clear the line, then clawed his way back to the top of the fleet to win that race! Third place overall was multiple champion, Karl James from Antigua.

Last years’ champion, Benoit Meesemaecker of St Barths, came in 3rd in the Standard Class.

Click to see all the Photos

Twenty-two laser sailors from around the Caribbean competed in nine races spread over two days. Weather conditons were ideal, with fair and steady 9-12 knot winds.

The regatta featured three other classes:

Local teenage sailor Rhône Findlay, sponsored by Maclaren, won the Radial Class, ahead of Jonathan Woods from Tortola. 3rd and 4th place tied in points, with Jolyon Ferron of St Maarten breaking the tie with Henry Fondeur of the Dominican Republic.

Click to see all the Photos

Karl James of Antigua took the honours in the Master Class, just breaking the tie in points with 2nd place Markku Harmala of St Barths, with Frits Bus coming in 3rd, in this very competitive class.

The Junior 4.7 Class was won by Matthew Oliver (15), very closely followed by the only girl competing in the regatta, Mollee Donovan (15) – both from Tortola. 3rd place was Jose-Luis Riviera (15) of Puerto Rico.

Click to see all the Photos

Co-sponsor Club Orient was the host hotel and provided the chalets right on the beach of Orient Bay for the sailors and families. Thank you to Sunsail for providing the start boat. Heineken Light providing much appreciated beverages after racing. There was a great competitors’ dinner at Bikini Beach Bar, and Papagayo Restaurant hosted the lunches for both days, plus the prizegiving on Sunday. Race Officer was Andrew Rapley and the St. Maarten Yacht Club was the overall organiser of this Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) sanctioned regatta.

SEE THE GREAT ARTICLE IN “ALL AT SEA” MAGAZINE:  

 http://bit.ly/QukhFQ

SEE THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE IN THE DAILY HERALD :

2011:

BENOIT MEESEMAECKER WINS 22ND CARIBBEAN LASER CHAMPIONSHIPS

Article by Robert Luckock – as printed in THE DAILY HERALD 13th June 2011

ORIENT BAY – Benoit Meesemaecker of St. Barths emerged the winner of the 22nd Heineken Light Caribbean Championships on Sunday, sailing the Standard rig, after having dominated the regatta from start to finish.

Superb concentration and tactical skill saw the Frenchman win every race except one to nudge Dutch St. Maarten’s most successful sailor Frits Bus into second place. Bus was unable to break Benoit’s vice-like grip on the fleet and had to be content with all second place finishes except the penultimate race, which he won.

“I was more consistent this year than last year”, remarked Benoit, who finished second last year, losing out to up and coming Dutch sailor Denis van den Berg. “I would have preferred more wind, because I’m in good shape and Frits is also in good shape. You have to be in good shape to sail Lasers.”
Third place in the Standard Class went to the Dominican Republic’s Sebastian Bros.(17yrs).

Manuel Lehoux (16yrs) of the Dominican Republic won Radial Class, ahead of sailmaker Ernst Looser, and Stephane Ferron in third place.

Francois de Corlieu won the Masters Category, regular stalwart Rien Korteknie was second and Henry Fondeur took third place.

Light conditions prevailed both on Saturday and on Sunday, producing a South-easterly breeze of 10-11 knots. Six races were run over the windward leeward course on Saturday and three on Sunday.

“It was ideal conditions for Laser racing, because everyone from the youngest to the oldest could handle it,” said Race Officer Andrew Rapley. “We had flat seas and no breakages. The wind shifts were slow and somewhat predictable and there were no gusts.”

“Heineken’s Managing Director John Leone had the unusual distinction of being both a participant and sponsor.

“It’s one thing sponsoring and another to be a participant,” said Leone, who raced his own Laser. “It’s the first time I participated and I’ve got quite a bit of catching up to do to these experienced sailors. But it does give you an appreciation for the hard work that goes into organizing the event.”

The regatta saw just 15 sailors participating – the lowest turnout in years. Frits Bus attributed the low turnout to the general economic crisis and expensive inter-island air fares.

Winners in each class won Antoine Chapon paintings. The regatta was sponsored by Heineken Light and Club Orient Resort and organized by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.

2010:

VAN DEN BERG WINS HEINEKEN CARIBBEAN OPEN LASER REGATTA

ORIENT BAY–Dennis van den Berg, a teen sailing sensation from Curacao, won the 21st Caribbean Open Laser Regatta sponsored by Heineken Premium Light and hosted by Club Orient last weekend with a faultless run to upstage many seasoned Laser veterans.

The 18-year-old sailing for the first time with the Standard rig won five of the eight races sailed, finished in second place twice, and dropped only to third place in his worst race.
Antigua’s Karl James wasn’t able to get dialled in to the light air but still managed second in the Open Class (third in the overall standings) with St. Barth’s Markku Harmala taking third in the Open (fifth overall).
St. Barths’s Benoit Meesemaecker sailed consistently well to take first place in Masters (second overall) while St. Maarten’s Frits Bus was fourth overall and second in Masters. USA’s Timothy Landt finished third in Masters and placed sixth overall.
Bus, sponsored by Caribbean Liquors, was denied a higher finish after discovering at the end of the last race Sunday that he had forgotten to put the plug in his Laser and hadn’t noticed the boat filling with water so focused was he on sailing the course.
The Radial Class was won by Rodrigo Delgado, Manuel Lehoux was second, and St. Maarten’s Ernst Looser third.
Van den Berg, first in Radials at this event last year, put his success down to a gruelling training regime. “I’m training to qualify for the Olympics and all I did last year was sail constantly,” he noted. “Now I’m combining school, sailing and gym. I trained in Argentina for eight months, Brazil, Uruguay, and then I went to Europe where I did three big championships. It’s been non-stop.”
“The light wind here was perfect,” he added. “I’m fit but I hadn’t trained for the Standard sail. Yet I was strong enough to keep the boat flat and maintain speed.”
Karl James, a 5-time consecutive winner here in the past, won both the first and last races but fell off the pace in between. “I was well prepared physically coming here, hoping for heavy wind, but it wasn’t to be,” said James. “But it was good to see the others sailing well. I think I’m a very good light air sailor too but when you see light guys passing you, you start to wonder.”
A squall greeted the fleet before the first race on Saturday and then sucked up the wind creating light and shifty conditions on the course. Sunday returned to more stable, but still light conditions.
Yacht Club Commodore Robbie Ferron presented Dominican Republic’s Omar Bros with a yacht club bergee, noting that the amiable sailor has participated in the regatta no less than sixteen times.
Lyn and Andrew Rapley were Race Officers for the regatta that attracted nineteen entrants. Prize winners went home with framed Antoine Chapon paintings.

2009:

RAUL AGUAYO SWEEPS LASER CHAMPIONSHIPS

Strong winds and waves marked the 20th Edition of the Heineken Premium Light-sponsored Caribbean Laser Championships held in Orient Bay June 6 and 7. A total of 19 sailors from around the region participated in the event with the weather taking its toll on both sailors and equipment.

The Dominican Republic’s Olympic sailor Raul Aguayo showed the rest of the sailors what a professional approach, focus and preparation can do, as he executed a perfect score in each of the event’s seven races. The 28 year old sailor was clearly on the top of his form with perfect boat control even in the 27 knot winds experienced on Sunday. He was enthusiastic about the event, commenting on the highly professional standard of race organization and excellent sailing conditions being perfect preparation for his sailing campaign which includes the June North American Championships in Canada followed by the Laser World Championships in August.

The USA took second place with Tim Landt pressuring Aguayo in every race. “This is the 15th time that I have participated here and the organisation just gets better and better” he said after the event. “I love the island and will be back to win next year”. Benoit Meesemaecker from St Barths got the final podium position in the overall standings.

Young Dennis Van Den Berg from Curacao was also clearly in a class of his own in the radial class and spent most of his time battling with sailors with the larger standard sails, creating an inspiration for St Maarten’s young sailors and tying for fourth place in the overall points standings. Jorge Abreu, also from the Dominican Republic, won the Masters class, edging out Brett Wright from Bermuda in second place and Frits Bus from St Maarten who was plagued by equipment failures in the first races of the event.

The commodore of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, Frank Hoedemaker, was present at the prize giving, thanking all sailors for attending the event despite the economy – and especially thanking John Leone from Heineken for his continued commitment to sailing on the island, especially in this event which provides a worthy goal for all youth sailors. Sunsail once again provided a perfect committee boat for the race officers for the weekend and were also shown the appreciation of the SMYC.

2007:

18TH ST. MARTIN OPEN CARIBBEAN LASER CHAMPIONSHIP

Antigua’s Karl James extended his domination of Caribbean Laser Sailing in June’s 18th St Maarten Laser Championships, emerging victorious for a fifth consecutive time. The seemingly laid-back Antiguan often comes away from these tournaments with more bullets than Charlton Heston, but on this occasion the opposition had him ruffled and he was pushed hard until the very last race.

An impressive ten participating nations came to Orient Bay to enjoy the steady 15 to 20 knot onshore breeze and challenging surf. Sponsored by Carib, the Laser Championships reached the age of majority with representative s from Antigua, BVI, Dominican Republic, St Barths, Bermuda, St Croix, St Maarten and beyond.

For once, James didn’t come to the tournament as outright favourite. Having spent a year on big boats, the Antiguan made the odds longer by opting to rent a Laser on the island instead of bringing a self-customised rig. Losing his security deposit wasn’t the only worry from there on. 24-year-old Raul Aguayo from the Dominican Republic, who came to St Maarten for the 2003 Sunfish World Championships, combined with Bermuda’s Brett Wright to snap at James’ transom throughout the weekend. Stiff winds made for energy-sapping conditions that eventually put paid to Aguayo’s challenge, but scores were close enough going into the final race to provide a head-to-head between James and Wright. Part of being a champion, particularly a five-time one, is knowing when to make it count, and James put in a winning performance to hold off Wright on both the windward and leeward legs to secure victory overall.

In the Radial category, Tortola’s Emma Paul came out tops ahead of Robbie Ferron and David De Vries both from St Maarten.

2005:

WRIGHT PIPPED IN THRILLING REGATTA FINISH

Bermuda sailor Brett Wright has finished second in the Caribbean Laser Championships after a nailbiting finale to the regatta off St. Maarten.

In a fleet of 25 boats, representing seven countries, veteran Wright became locked in a thrilling three-way battle with Raul Aguayo of the Dominican Republic and Antigua’s Karl James only to lose the title to James on countback after the pair tied for first.

Sailing in Orient Bay in rolling two metre seas and winds of between 15 to 20 knots, the fleet competed in five races on Saturday and two on Sunday.

Following Saturday’s marathon session, James led with six points followed by Wright on seven and Aguayo on eight, setting up a dramatic finish. Wright then took over the top spot by winning the first race on Sunday with Aguayo second and James third. And in the final race, Wright led in the early stages only to be passed by James on the second upwind leg.

Both sailors finished on 10 points but James was awarded the title on countback as he had three firsts and Wright only two. Aguayo placed third on 14 points.

Email us now at fritsbus@caribserve.net or sintmaartenyachtclub@gmail.com

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