COVID-19 UPDATE – COPAC and the Sint Maarten Canoe Federation are pleased to welcome you to the 2020 PAN AMERICAN Ocean Racing Championships

Dear Paddlers

The Sint Maarten Canoe Federation regrets to announce that the 2020 Pan American Ocean Racing Championships and the 2020 Soualiga Challenge Reloaded, scheduled to take place on Saturday 28 March 2020, will be postponed for a period of at least 60 days due to recently imposed travel restrictions and health concerns for our competitors, logistical staff and the community in general.

We know that you understand and hope that you will join us for the event at a future date later this year.

The 2020 Pan American Ocean Racing Championships will be held on 28 March 2020, in Sint Maarten.

The organisers can be contacted by email
Additional information cam be found at

The current ICF rules for Canoe Ocean Racing and SUP Canoe Racing will apply. Additional safety rules contained in Attachment B will apply. Foiling SUP will be accepted as a demonstration class.

The race will be conducted in the Atlantic Ocean in the channel between St. Barthelemy, French West Indies and Sint Maarten. The area normally has winds of 15 kn and swells of 1.5m from the east or southeast at this time of the year. The race will consist of a single 24km down-wind run starting in Isle Fourche, St. Barthelemy and finishing in Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten. Additional course details are described in Attachment A. In case of adverse conditions on the day, an alternate course will be selected to provide optimal downwind racing.

The event will be open to the following Pan American Championships classes:
Surfski Single (S1)
Surfski Doubles (S2)
The event will also be open to the following non-championship classes:
Outrigger Canoe Single (OC1)
Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP)
Foiling Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP Foil) as Exhibition Class
Classes will be split into age groups as follows:
Junior Male and Female
Under 23 Male and Female
Open Male and Female
Veteran age groups in five year increments for Male and Female from 35 years old
Note that there must be a minimum of four entries in each age group. If there are fewer than four entries, age groups will be combined.

Prizes will be awarded as follows:
Floating trophy for overall winner.
Presentations for first, second and third in each age group.
Only competitors registered with Federations affiliated to COPAC will be eligible for the Pan American Ocean Racing Championship awards.

Entry fee for all competitors is USD 50.00.
Entries will only be accepted from persons who are affiliated to a National Federation.
Entries can be made via email to

There are a limited number of craft available for visiting paddlers. Please contact the organisers if you need to borrow or rent a craft locally. For paddlers wishing to transport their craft to Sint Maarten, this can be accomplished with minimum of formalities.

Friday 27 March 2020
16:00 Registration and craft inspection, Simpson Bay
18:00 Welcome and race briefing
Saturday 28 March 2020
09:00 Load craft onto catamaran in Simpson Bay
10:30 Depart Simpson Bay for Isle Fourche
13:00 Arrive Isle Fourche
13:45 Start SUP race
14:00 Start Surfski and OC race
15:30 First finishers expected at Simpson Bay
16:30 Cut-off at Point Blanche
18:00 Award Ceremony, Simpson Bay

To help with identification at sea, adhesive numbers will be provided that must be displayed on the starboard (right side of the) bow of the craft. All advertising material supplied by the organisers will be displayed on the craft as instructed. Failure to comply can result in disqualification.

The first three places of each age group in each class will receive awards. To maintain the dignity and solemnity of the presentation ceremony the competitor receiving awards must be neatly attired.

Security will be provided by a fleet of motor boats accompanying the race. The safety regulations as described in Attachment B must be observed.

The organisers will assist with transport from the airport to team accommodation, to the race venue and to the airport where possible. Please contact the organisers with your requirements.


The course will be as follows:
1) The race will be started using a stationary water start. The start-line will be between a stationary mark and an anchored boat displaying an orange flag in the southern bay of Isle Fourche.
2) Competitors proceed westwards around the south-west point of Isle Fourche. It is not permitted to pass through the narrow gap between Isle Fourche and the small island to the south.
3) Surfski and OC classes proceed north-west around the north of Rocher Table. SUP classes do not pass around Rocher Table.
4) Proceed towards Simpson Bay, passing Point Blanche.
5) Enter Simpson Bay. Competitors may pass over the small reef at the entrance to Simpson Bay at their own risk.
6) Finish on the beach at the centre of Simpson Bay.
7) The finish line will be on the beach, approximately 4m from the water’s edge and will be conspicuously marked. You finish by exiting your craft and running with your craft up the beach, finishing when the nose of your craft crosses the line.

1) Sea conditions for the course will vary. The first 500m is usually calm. Thereafter one can expect a quartering swell of 0.5m to 1.6m for 2.5km until Rocher Table. From Rocher Table to Point Blanche, a large following swell can be expected. This swell will diminish from Point Blanche to Simpson Bay. There can be flat calm conditions on rare occasions and on other occasions, there can be a following to cross swell of up to 2.5m. A current of varying strength usually flows from north to south.
2) The wind is usually following to quartering, 10 to 25 knots, with 12 to 16 knots being the most common condition with a swell of 1 to 2m.
3) There will be a strict cut-off enforced at Point Blanche at 16:30. All competitors not reaching Point Blanche by 16:30 will be scored a DNF and will be instructed to board a safety boat.
4) Note that there has recently been a lot of sargassum weed in the area. Clumps of this weed can catch on your rudder slowing you down significantly. It is best to avoid large clumps and to clear your rudder promptly when you do pick up weed.
5) The race course will take you past the busy cruise and cargo terminal at Philipsburg and also the fuel bunkering berth at Kool Baai. You must obey the maritime rule of the road at all times and avoid interaction with commercial traffic.

Course from Isle Fourche to Simpson Bay. Start at (A), Surfskis and OCs pass north of Rocher Table (B), all craft pass by Point Blanche (C) (16:30 cut-off) and finish on the beach at Simpson Bay D.
The finish at Simpson Bay beach. Use the airport buildings as a guide.


The following safety regulations must be observed:
1) Each competitor shall wear a suitable PFD with a whistle attached.
2) Each competitor will carry at least 1 litre of drinks attached to their person or craft at the start of the race.
3) Each competitor must wear a brightly coloured PFD or over-vest. Safety orange is recommended.
4) Each competitor (only one in the case of a double) will be attached to their craft with a sturdy leash from before the start until the finish.
5) Each competitor will carry on their person, either:
a) One hand held signal flare with burn time at least 1 minute.
b) Three mini aerial flares with launcher. (Some flares will be available for loan but it is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure that they have one).
6) Each competitor must carry a waterproof VHF radio or cell phone on their person.
7) At least one paddle blade must be marked with a conspicuous colour to assist in attracting a safety boat’s attention when in distress.
8) A cut-off time of 16:30 at Point Blanche will be strictly enforced. Any competitor not reaching Point Blanche by 16:30 must abandon the race and board the nearest safety boat. There will be no exceptions.
9) If conditions dictate, the race committee will change the course to an alternate course, no later than 09:00 on 28 March 2020. Further, it is recommended that:
1) Each craft be equipped with a compass or GPS to assist with navigation.
2) Each competitor should ensure that they are appropriately protected from the sun.

1) It is the responsibility of each competitor to determine for themselves if they have the skills and conditioning required to compete in this event. This responsibility should be taken seriously. A competitor should not place themselves and others at risk by entering this race if it is beyond their level of skill or conditioning. There will be safety boats on the water during the races. If a safety boat is required to rescue an individual or feels the need to closely monitor them, then that safety boat is being taken away from the rest of the race course and the the other competitors, putting everyone at additional risk.
2) It should be kept in mind that weather and water conditions can change rapidly. If a competitor determines during the race that they are at risk, they should abandon the race and head toward a rescue boat. In this case, the competitor should ensure that the race officials at the finish are informed of their withdrawal as soon as possible.
3) It is a requirement that all competitors assist fellow competitors in need. Failure to lend assistance can lead to disqualification. A competitor lending assistance during the event will be awarded a time bonus to compensate them for their delay.
4) Any competitor can be instructed to abandon the race by the chief safety judge, should the judge be of the opinion that the competitor would be putting themselves or others at undue risk by continuing with the race.