The main Heineken Regatta event began today, with winds still in the high 20's and a significant swell at sea the conditions will make for some spirited sailing for all of the classes. Sunsail had required that at least one reef be put in the mainsails and the contestants that we started adhered to that, although in one class on the other start boat they skippers had agreed that they wouldn't fly any spinnakers that day but once they went on their downwind runs we saw the chutes pop out after all.
During set up we had some issues with the horn system that Paul Miller had set up for us. He used a simple relay to keep the high current used to blow the horn from the very long line leading to the button, but during dismantling of the horn the day before one of us had pulled all the plugs off the relay rather than just the battery and horn connectors. We sat down with a multimeter to re-connect it but I couldn't see a way to do this (it turns out that a pigtail connector was in the hidden) so we called Paul and he had a backup unit shipped out to us. The first boat with "RC" that approached us didn't use the fenders that we'd put out and threw something in a bag that got caught by the wind and went into the water. Mark quickly got his dinghy going and picked it up - but it ended up being two (waterlogged and very recently expired) cell phones. Leo was not happy at losing his cherished push-button phone! We still cannot understand why that boat didn't just come alongside to the fenders we had set up and merely handed over the item. Several minutes later a large water taxi service tender came up and used that system to successfully hand over the new relay assembly for the horn. Although we put it together in a hurry and tested it, the day's starts were done with a backup handheld horn for some reason.
My task for the day was to assist Nancy with identifying starting boats and those who might be over the line during the start sequence. So, armed with my binoculars, I spent a lot of time identifying starting numbers and we did an acceptable job. There were often fewer competitors on the line than in the sign up sheet, so we did spend some time looking for boat numbers that were in actuality not present. Nevertheless the Committee Boat “B” made it through the day with few problems and returned to the anchorage, via a short detour around the gorgeous Stad Amsterdam at anchor, for a relatively early end to the day.
Since we were all quite busy during the start sequences for the races there aren't too many action pictures so I'll make it up by posting more non-action ones.

Mark at the Helm Mark, our skipper, at the helm of Yazawa II.
(2015-03-06 11:28:42 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/7.1, 1/250s] ISO 200)
Mark at the Helm
Traveling to our start position Aboard our trusty committee boat "B" enroute to our day's start position.
(2015-03-06 08:28:25 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/11.0, 1/40s] ISO 200)
Traveling to our start position
Arnd on the committee boat Arnd taking a break after the starting sequence
(2015-03-06 10:44:53 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/7.1, 1/500s] ISO 200)
Arnd on the committee boat
Race committee tender at work Race committee tender at work
(2015-03-06 11:29:02 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/7.1, 1/250s] ISO 200)
Race committee tender at work
Incoming Boeing 747 KLM's Jumbo on final approach to SXM airport.
(2015-03-06 11:59:06 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/13.0, 1/160s] ISO 200)
Incoming Boeing 747
Two lottery-class racers going upwind A racing schooner and Hallberg-Rassy going to weather after starting.
(2015-03-06 10:44:32 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/7.1, 1/400s] ISO 200)
Two lottery-class racers going upwind
Brazilian Schooner going upwind Brazilian Schooner going upwind
(2015-03-06 10:44:12 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/640s] ISO 200)
Brazilian Schooner going upwind
Stad Amsterdam in Simpson Bay This beautiful square-rigged clipper ship makes for a wonderful backdrop to the Simpson Bay of Sint Maarten.
(2015-03-06 11:32:53 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/13.0, 1/160s] ISO 200)
Stad Amsterdam in Simpson Bay
Island Waterworld catamaran The IWW catamaran doing some sailing in Simpson Bay during the Heineken Regatta (but not as race participants).
(2015-03-06 11:33:03 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/13.0, 1/200s] ISO 200)
Island Waterworld catamaran
Working aloft on Stad Amsterdam These crewmembers are working aloft while the Stad Amsterdam rolls a bit at anchor in Simpson Bay Lagoon
(2015-03-06 11:32:56 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/13.0, 1/160s] ISO 200)
Working aloft on Stad Amsterdam
Stad Amsterdam figurehead Stad Amsterdam's bare-breasted figurehead points ahead while holding a globe in her other hand.
(2015-03-06 11:32:00 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/6.3, 1/320s] ISO 200)
Stad Amsterdam figurehead
Go-fast catamaran The IWW catamaran doing some sailing in Simpson Bay during the Heineken Regatta (but not as race participants).
(2015-03-06 11:33:01 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/13.0, 1/80s] ISO 200)
Go-fast catamaran
Stad Amsterdam in Simpson Bay The picturesque Stad Amsterdam makes for a wonderful addition to the Simpson Bay anchorage and is certainly impressive, even when compared the megayachts which are both larger and more modern, but somehow lack the elegance this ship has.
(2015-03-06 11:29:59 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/7.1, 1/320s] ISO 200)
Stad Amsterdam in Simpson Bay
Bowsprit and figurehead of Stad Amsterdam Stad Amsterdam's figurehead to calm the seas and the large bowsprit for the stays.
(2015-03-06 11:31:56 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/640s] ISO 200)
Bowsprit and figurehead of Stad Amsterdam
Part of the Start Crew departing after work The first boatload of volunteers returning to shore after we put the committee boat "B" to bed for the day.
(2015-03-06 11:55:43 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/13.0, 1/80s] ISO 200)
Part of the Start Crew departing after work
 
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