SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Twenty-one participants competed in the opening day of the Hoedemaker Series, held last Saturday, February 17th. This event is part of the Grant Thornton Dinghy Season Championship and is organized and hosted by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. Sailors from various clubs such as French Saint Martin, St. Barth, Dutch Sint Maarten, and others joined the competition.
Under the guidance of sailing instructor and race officer Wessel Tangenberg, the race committee successfully started four races across two classes: Laser and Optimist.
The Optimist class was the biggest class with 11 participants. Lourenço Rolo Couto Jorge from St. Barth Yacht Club clinched the third spot, while Carmona Bouvrais Tao, also representing St. Barth Yacht Club, secured the runner-up position. Thomas Magras, also from St. Barth Yacht Club is in the lead of the Hoedemaker series. Remarkably, showed consistency throughout the races. Lourenço consistently finishing third, Carmona consistently securing second, and Tao dominating by clinching first place in all races.
In the Laser Class, featuring 10 participants, Pascal Belle from MDA claimed third place, Rio Stomp representing SMYC secured the second spot, and Emilien Le Normand, representing Club de Voile de Fryers Bay, is in first.
Reflecting on the day's events, race officer Wessel Tangenberg remarked, "It was a fantastic afternoon of racing; the weather was good, with just the right amount of wind. Unfortunately, this race marks my last Grant Thornton Dinghy race since I will leave the island in a month”. Tangenberg also extended heartfelt appreciation to Team St. Barth, highlighting their commitment to the sport. "I must give a special shoutout to Team St. Barth: they participated in the Sailing Week of Schoelcher in Martinique, they arrived in St. Barth on Friday and joined us in St. Maarten for the Hoedemaker series on Saturday. Their passion for sailing is truly inspiring," Tangenberg concluded.
The second and last day of the series is scheduled for Saturday, March 16, 2024, with registration currently open. It remains to be seen if the current frontrunners can maintain their current position.