Victory on countback

Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaan Tentij clinch Zwitserleven Dutch Open Catamaran Sailing

Friday June 18th 2010, Author: Diana Bogaards, Location: Netherlands

Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaan Tentij (NED) have won the Zwitserleven Dutch Open Catamaran Sailing. They raced in close competition with Hugh Styles (GBR) and Ferdinand van West (NED), the two rivals finishing on equal points, but Heemskerk and Tentij won the tie-break with more wins. Willem Geijssen and Rico van Capelle (NED) took bronze. The other topic that kept everyone occupied today, was whether tomorrow's Zwitserleven Round Texel Race will actually take place, as extremely strong conditions are expected.

The final day of the Zwitserleven Dutch Open Catamaran Sailing wasn't flawless for the champions. As Heemskerk explained: "We didn't get the details right. In the first upwind leg of the second race a daggerboard broke, so we had to deal with that during the following rounds." Eventually their final score was sufficient to earn the title. But tomorrow is the big day for Heemskerk as he explains: "If we're going to sail, we're going to win. We'll go for it at full speed." In 2002 and 2005 Heemskerk managed to gain the overall victory. Both times the breeze was strong.

Hugh Styles (GBR) and Ferdinand van West (NED) sailed a consistent series of 2-4-4. "We were well in control of our most important opponents," said Van West. "Our speed was fine. This event was a good preparation for the F18 World Championships." About the prospect of a rough Zwitserleven Round Texel, Van West said: "This is going to be my first Round with lots of wind. I've been participating since 2008 and we've had light conditions since then. So this is going to a new experience. As long as we get through the surf in one piece, we'll be fine."

Even though Willem Geijssen and and Rico van Capelle had some problems along the way, they managed to hang on to their bronze. Van Capelle said: "The waves were even higher than yesterday, but it was superb." According to the Dutch duo F18 sailors Mischa Heemskerk, Gunnar Larsen, Darren Bundock, Hugh Styles and Coen de Koning are most likely to gain the overall win tomorrow. "Those conditions are not favourable for the M20, so we don't expect those boats to win. The F16 Viper on the other hand stands a good chance as well."

For Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis the Zwitserleven Open Dutch Catamaran Sailing came to a turbulent end as well. In the first race they saved a swimmer in distress and dropped him off at his boat. In the final race a French cat collided with them. The former Olympians received a redress (average score of all races) for both races and finished fourth overall, but with a damaged boat. The hole in the hull is going to be fixed tonight, so tomorrow they will join the race again. Booth about his expectations: "It's going to be tough, but that's Texel. Sometimes you have to challenge extreme weather. It's been a few years since we had a full on Texel."

The Australian F18 Champions Steven Brewin and Jack Benson, sailing a C2, had their best day so far. They started off with a bullet and a third. "In the last race, we hit the start mark," said Brewin. They finished seventh were 12th overall . "We only discovered last night that our diamond was too loose, therefore we couldn't use the Cunningham properly. We fixed it and we had a totally different boat today. That is why we are here. We don't have much time to prepare for the Worlds, so this is a perfect training." As to their expectations for tomorrow's Zwitserleven Round Texel Race, Brewin said: 'I am a light wind master in the A-cat class, but I don't care about the conditions. If we get our boat together, we should be alright."

'It was a great day", commented Glenn Ashby, while his crew BMW Oracle Racing helmsman James Spithill was taking a nap on a bean bag. The Aussies scored a fifth and third. They retired from race seven, as they had a port/starboard situation with Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaan Tentij. As a result, they dropped to 13th position overall. "A bit more training on beforehand would have been nice, but we are having a lot of fun. And we are looking forward to tomorrow. It is going to be James' first Round Texel Race." Spithill says he is amazed by how much energy it takes. He laughs: "But people keep saying this is an extraordinary week in terms of sailing conditions. It is good to do this with Glenn and have an idea about it for the Worlds. I am just excited about tomorrow to be honest." According to Spithill, their target will be to get off and on the beach through the wild surf.

Last year's Zwitserleven Round Texel winners Rob Wilson and Marcus Lynch were calmly preparing their boat for tomorrow's trial of strength. "It's going to be pretty brutal. A survival of the fittest. The waves will be huge, so I'm glad to be aw windsurfer as well", said Wilson.

TNG Round Texel Record Attempts

The strong wind shifted to the NNthis morning, ideal for a TNG Round Texel Record Attempt. 11 cats took up the gauntlet, with three M20s and a Nacra 20 carbon among them. This was going to be the first time for these fast 20-foot racing monsters to meet up in battle. Herbert Dercksen and Ed Barney again sailed the fastest time of the week: 2 hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds. Hans and Ronald Bouscholte (NED) followed almost five minutes later. "At some legs the M20 was faster and maybe we performed better downwind. It's going to be interesting tomorrow", said Ronald Bouscholte. Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser were the fastest F18.

For the small cats, the Zwitserleven Dutch Open Cat Sailing is not valid, since the minimum requirement of 20 participants was not met. The Dutch Hobie 16-duo Joep Wijnand and Mathijs Pauli won in this class. Darren Bundock (AUS) and Wouter Samama (NED) won the TNG Short Track races 2010.

Top five Zwitserleven Open Dutch Championship after eight races and one discard:

1. NED, Heemskerk/Tentij, F18 Hobie Wild Cat, 23 points
2. GBR, Styles/Van West, F18 Nacra Infusion, 23 points
3. NRD, Geijsse/Van Capelle, F18 Nacra Infusion, 37 points
4. NED, Booth/Nieuwenhuis, F18 Hobie Wild Cat, 42 points
5. AUS, Burvill/Duffield, F18, 60 points

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