The First Clean Regatta of the Caribbean Serious Clean Fun! - Sailors for the Sea

The First Clean Regatta of the Caribbean Serious Clean Fun!

Press Release

Organizers of the 29th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta commit to Clean Regatta standards set forth by Sailors for the Sea.


St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles – October 30th 2008 – Organizers of the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta, one of the Caribbean’s longest running regattas, are pleased to announce their commitment to team up with the Sailors for the Sea, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the world’s oceans, to help make the 2009 event a “Clean Regatta.”

The regatta, which takes place March 5-8, 2009, will see many simple changes aimed at making the sailing event more environmentally friendly. Always working to make the event better year over year, organizers have made changes designed to bring awareness and sensitivity to environmental protection around St. Maarten as well as the importance of recycling. These changes include re-usable bow numbers, educating all participants about the rules that exist in the Natural Reserve on the French side of the island, and encouraging the island’s youth to create boat models with recycled materials. Over the years, the regatta organizers have teamed up with Heineken St Maarten, the event title sponsor, selling bracelets to raise money to protect the natural environment of both the French and Dutch marine parks on the island. During the last three St. Maarten Heineken Regattas almost $8,000.00 was raised for the nature foundation of St. Maarten and the Marine Reserve of St Martin. In fact, the 2006 slogan on the bracelets was “Serious Clean” Fun, a play on the regatta’s motto of “Serious Fun”. This was done to raise the awareness of keeping the beaches clean during and after the events. Heineken St. Maarten has made similar efforts with its bright beaches program, initiated with the cooperation of the St Maarten Pride foundation, to provide funds to groups willing to clean the island’s beaches.

For the 2009 event, the regatta organizers aim to implement a nearly paper-free registration system, which will significantly reduce the total paper use. They will also follow the rules to obtain a Bronze level “Clean Regatta” certification from Sailors for the Sea. Chris Mancini, Program Manager at Sailors for the Sea said, “Clean Regattas is a great program for regattas and yacht clubs that need guidance in reaching higher environmental standards. It also serves to help publicize the ongoing efforts of other clubs and events, and lets them lead by example. Our goal is to have every regatta, club and program be a “clean regatta” whether they are certified by Sailors for the Sea or not.”

Some of the Clean Regattas requirements include:
  • No Discharge—DO NOT allow discharge of untreated sewage or blackwater in harbor areas or no-discharge zones (NDZs).
  • Trash Free Regatta—Keep your shores and waters clear of debris. Overboard discharge of trash and littering at shore facilities (e.g., rigging tape, cigarette butts, beer cans) is prohibited
  • Green Cleaning Products—include a list of “green” cleaning products in skipper’s packet.
  • ​A volunteer will be assigned as a liaison between the two organizations to ensure that all steps are taken and a report is filed at the end of the regatta.

Sailors for the Sea is a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers the boating community to protect and restore our oceans and coastal waters. Clean Regattas a third-party certification program that helps regattas, yacht clubs and sailing programs voluntarily achieve higher environmental standards. Participants have the option of choosing a Bronze, Silver or Gold level of engagement, and work to fulfill each of the requirements necessary to be certified at that level. Sailors for the Sea provides support and materials and the final certification that a club or event is a Clean Regatta.

Organizers are pleased with the efforts made by their title sponsor, Heineken, to make the on shore side of the event environmentally friendly as well. Efforts in the past include the removal of drink stirrers from all bars at the venues and implementing the principle to leave the beaches cleaner (after the parties) than they were before the parties. Heather Tackling, regatta director states “We are proud to have visitors grace our shores and by making the effort to help the environment of St.Maarten we know it will not only benefit our event but the entire island as well.”

About St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 2009
It is said that the winners write the history. This is certainly true for the Sint Maarten Yacht Club’s Heineken Regatta. The winners in this case being the volunteers, the sponsors and the participants, forming a unique triangle, which is coincidentally the strongest of geometric shapes. And upon this firm base that 28 years of Regatta history have been built. From modest beginnings to the 29th edition which will take place March 5-8 2009, our regatta has become not only the largest sailing event in the Caribbean, but has also become world renown as a first class event. The racing and parties are of course legendary, but the overall atmosphere is equally appealing. For more information on participating, volunteering or regatta related details visit

About Sailors for the Sea
Founded in 2004 and based in Boston, Mass., Sailors for the Sea is an action-oriented, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education, programs and resources to motivate and empower sailors and other boaters to preserve, protect, and enjoy the harbors, bays and oceans upon which they sail. For more information on or to participate in any of the Sailors for the Sea programs, or to become a member and support the organization, visit A full list of Clean Regatta certification requirements is also available online.