Brits break string of bullets
The three scheduled races were sailed in a building breeze, starting in about 20 knots in the morning. For the first start in the afternoon, a shower with gale-force winds hit the open class of the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta. There the runners-up John Moret and Paul Smissaert pitch poled and destroyed their F18's mainsail. Meanwhile competition in the Dart 18 fleet was full on, with the Swiss team Heynisch/Gysi as a newcomer to the top five. Ultimately podium positions changed in both classes.
Palm Tours Race 4 - Unfortunate start for French couple Wibaux
At the start Dutchmen Goudriaan/Damen chose for the pin-end, whereas the Atol Sailing Team of Dodé/Moreau crossed the line in the middle while Lloyd/Jones-Pierce were at the committee boat. Thierry and Christine Wibaux (FRA) had bad luck, when their mainsail hook came off minutes after the gun. They had to return to the beach to fix it.
The French title defenders and the Dutch went into the left corner and had taken a clear lead at the top mark, with Dodé and Moreau comfortably holding first place. Both frontrunners hung on to their position until the finish, but there was a strong battle for the third place. This was held by Werner Heynisch and Markus Gysi from Switzerland until Nicolette van Gorp and Ruud van Gisbergen (NED) overhauled them on the second beat. As Van Gorp explained: "We went through the middle, which paid, but we lost our place to the Germans, by going to the left on the last upwind. The gusts were troubling us."
Setar Race 5 and 6 - Tough competition in the top
In the first race after the lunch, the heat was on. Dodé and Moreau thought they were OCS and went back to re-start. Lloyd and Jones-Pierce took advantage of the situation and were first around the top mark. As Lloyd explained: "We were fired up after such a bad race this morning." In this the British duo had finished ninth. "The Swiss gave us a good battle. They caught us up on a gust downwind and on the second run Emmanuel had a massive comeback." Moreau explained: "We had to attack, so we tried to play the shifts and gusts." But this was only good enough to gain them second place, behind the Brits. "At least, we have saved the British record of Gereth Owen this week. He became the 1998 Dart 18 World Champion by winning every race." Huber and Volke finished third.
Although Dodé and Moreau re-established their perpetual string of bullets in today's last race, it wasn't an easy win. They were first round the top mark, but with Huber/Volke directly in their wake. Dodé: "We had a great battle with Matthias and Dominik. Our upwind speed is a bit better and they are a little quicker downwind."
Huber commented: "We even overtook him at one point, but they are pointing higher and the crew is working the mainsheet on every wave. They sail perfectly."
Thus the Germans have climbed to a third place on the overall leaderboard. Thierry and Christine Wibaux have dropped to the seventh position, as they pitchpoled close to the last gate.
It was a busy time for the rescue boats of the Aruba Watersports Center, as many boats capsized and several helmsmen fell overboard and had to be picked up.
Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta
"I have never ever started in 40 knots of breeze", said Xander Pols as he returned to the beach. Just before the first race in the afternoon, a squall with gale force winds descended on the fleet. John Moret and Paul Smissaert tried to bear away for the line, but pitch poled nonetheless. That was the second unfortunate moment for the Dutch F18 sailors on this fourth day of racing. Their mainsail had came undone in the morning, so they missed the first gun but had fought back to a sixth position. But this second spell of bad luck ended their racing today, as they fell through the mainsail and they struggled to get the boat upright again.
Leo Ambtman and Maarten Kroon (NED) sailed their Tornado well and overtook the second position overall.
Although the Pols brothers won every race, there were also some surprises on the course. The Dutch F18 sailors Willie van der Heijden and Arthur Moerman finished second and third in the afternoon. And the mixed Aruban/Dutch team of Friso Bakker and Henk Hankarth was first over the line in the morning. Bakker commented: "We finished ahead of Xander, which is a legendary moment." They are sailing a Dart 18 and have to do one lap less. Bakker: "We were too late with entering the Worlds. That is why we are participating at the Aruba Regatta, but we are enjoying it very much."
After a day full of action, the participants and their families are welcomed to the Holiday Inn dinner party on the beach.
Their program for tomorrow includes another three races in windy conditions.
Top five Dart 18 Worlds 2009 after five races and one discard:
1. FRA - Emmanuel Dodé & Fred Moreau, 5 points
2. GBR - David Lloyd & Joanna Jones-Pierce, 13 points
3. GER - Matthias Huber & Dominik Volke, 15 points
4. NED - Ruud Goudriaan & Bart Damen, 20 points
5. SUI - Werner Heynisch & Markus Gysi, 30 points
Top three Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta after races and one discard:
1. NED - Xander & Mark Pols, 5 points
2. NED - Leo Ambtman & Maarten Kroon, 26,5 points
3. NED - John Moret & Paul Smissaert, 28 points
More photos on the following pages...
In addition to the title sponsors Aruba Tourism Authority and Heineken Aruba NV, this year's Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta and Dart18 World Championships are also supported by Martinair, GILS Worldwide, Setar, Holiday Inn, Does & Cadushi, Tropical Bottling Company, Coca Cola, AWA, Aruba Aloë, VR Shipping, Aruba Watersports Center, Palm Tours, Pelican Watersports, Seaworld Explorer, Moomba, Zwitserleven, TNG, Patria and AMI Kappers.