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This video promotion is for the 2010 Heineken Regatta, scheduled from March 4-7 in Sint Maarten. The Heineken is one of several regattas planned this winter in the Caribbean, with other favorites including the Superyacht Cup Antigua from January 27-30 and the St. Barth's Bucket from March 25-28.

Booking a charter yacht for a regatta is a more detailed proposition than booking a regular vacation. Yes, you can book most charter yachts to serve as spectator boats during any regatta if you simply want to be part of the scene, but not all yachts are available for charter as actual regatta competitors. Some owners, quite frankly, don't want the wear and tear that comes with hard-core racing.

Thus, if you're interested in actually participating in a regatta this winter, you must work with a reputable charter broker to specify in your contract that your charter yacht will actually race.  Your broker also can help you with any extra insurance provisions that are required. Good brokers are familiar with the yachts that typically are available for these types of charters and can even talk with you about any given yacht's track record pertaining to previous regatta performances. Some captains and crew really thrive on these types of charter bookings.

To help whet your appetite, I just posted this article suggesting the 10 Best Charter Yachts for Winter Regatta Season. Some of the yachts on this list are available for racing, while others are meant to be head-turners on the sidelines. Some are newly launched go-fast cruisers, while others compete in the classic divisions just as they might have in the 1920s.

No matter which style appeals to you, the time to book is now.  Regatta season is just a few months away, and the best racing yachts typically book up first.