Booth and Nieuwenhuis again
“When it started to rain this morning and we were having a coffee, we had our doubts about going out”, admitted Nieuwenhuis (NED) while dismantling his boat in the Caribbean sun. “But it is too much fun, so we went out for the final race.” The sky cleared up and the breeze stayed variable and light (ten knots). Booth and Nieuwenhuis, who also won the 2006 edition, were first at the top mark and extended their lead all the way to the finish. Booth: “It was again shifty and that is what we like. It is easy to see puffs on this flat water.” The Olympic duo took eight out of then bullets. Booth: “There were a lot of good teams, so we couldn’t slack off. And it proofs that the Hobie Tiger is still competitive if it is sailed well. It is not completely outdated, but we are of course looking forward to the new boat.”
“We were in the relaxing mode and didn’t notice a puff”, joked Mischa Heemskerk. No mercy for Heemskerk and Zanen. They capsized on the fourth run, but lost only one spot on the course. Heemskerk: “That did not matter us at all, because we couldn’t drop to the third position anymore. It was a great regatta and we are the first non-Olympic team, so not too bad.” The two Dutchmen just returned from testing the M20. “Eduard wants to win the line-honours of the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race 2009, so he is thinking of buying a M20”, said Heemskerk. “But we will first participate in the Tybee 500”, added Zanen.
William Sunnucks and Simon Farren defended their one point lead on Xander Pols and Frank de Waard, by finishing fourth. That leaves the British sailors in third position overall. It almost went wrong, as Sunnucks fell off the boat in the first beat. “I was dragged along by my ankle, so I was lucky to get back onboard soon.” Sunnucks just loved the competition with Xander: “He has a nice attitude. We all made our mistakes. If we could actually see the wind on the water, then we were ten times faster. We thought it was more difficult to spot the pressure on sunny days.” Simon Farren calls it their year of thirds: “We finished third in the Archipelago Raid as well.” Xander Pols is more into the fourth places, as that was also his result from last year. Pols: “They deserved to win. We have a problem on the run in light conditions, as we are too heavy. It was a good day for lighter teams, which makes it an all-round event. This was my twelfth Aruba Regatta and I have never experienced these shifty winds here. It was an exciting battle.”
‘Lucky’ front runner
“We did alright…one more week would have been great for us”, said John Moret (NED) with a smile. He and his crew Paul Smissaert became second in today’s last race of the series. Moret: “The golden move was our bad start. We couldn’t free ourselves at the pin-end, so we had to tack and went on port-tack to right side of the course. We tacked and stayed with the front runners all the time. I don’t always see the shifts, so there was a bit of luck involved.”
Preparing for Dart 18 Worlds
Although Martin and Nicole van der Velden (ARU) scored a fourth this afternoon, they still won the small class regatta by two points. Manfred Thomasch (AUT) and Amanda Westera (ARU) came second, followed by the locals Henk-Johan Hankart and the Grijpma brothers, who took the final bullet. Mother Francis van Baaren and daughter Frederieke Grijpma (17) were fourth. According to Van Baaren, the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta is always a sailing highlight of the year: “The atmosphere is great and we learn a lot.” From now on, all Dart 18 sailors from Aruba will continue practicing for the Dart 18 Worlds 2009, to be organized on Aruba. About seven local teams will join the championship. Van Baaren: “The dads already talked about stop working earlier once a week, to train the youth. We miss a proper trainer on the island.” Mother and daughter hope to compete as well: “That depends on Frederieke’s time schedule, since she will start studying in the Netherlands.”
Organiser Edwin Lodder (NED) said about the 18th edition of the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta: “It was a successful week with ten exciting races. The circumstances were sailable for everybody and the it was a very pleasant group, so I am absolutely satisfied.” Tonight it is party time, as the prize giving and party will be celebrated at Moomba Beach.
Top five results:
1. NED – Booth/Nieuwenhuis, F18 Hobie Tiger, 9 points
2. NED – Zanen/Heemskerk, F18 Hobie Tiger, 19 points
3. GBR – Sunnucks/Farren, F18 Nacra Infusion 27 points
4. NED – Pols/De Waard, F18 Nacra Infusion, 31 points
5. GBR – Gummer/Bogaards, F18 Capricorn, 37 points
Top three >105 fleet (6 entries) after ten races and two discards:
1. ARU – Van der Velden/Van der Velden, Dart 18, 13 points
2. AUT – Thomasch/Westera, Dart 18, 15 points
3. ARU – Grijpma/Hankart, Dart 18, 16 points
The Aruba Catamaran Regatta is sponsored by Heineken, Aruba (ATA), Martinair, Hapag Lloyd, Holiday Inn, Setar, AWA, Coca Cola, TNG, Does & Cadushi, Aruba Aloe, Palmtours, Aruba Watersports Center, Atlantis, Pelican Nest, Moomba Beach, Zwitserleven and Alfons de Letter.