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17 November 2009, 11:14 am
Dart 18 Worlds 2009 Brings Strong Competition to Aruba
action from the 2008 Dart 18 Worlds
Action from the 2008 Dart 18 Worlds

Aruba

This year's Dart 18 Worlds catamaran sailing brings strong competition to Aruba including title defender and European champion Emmanuel Dodé (FRA).
The current Dutch and Belgian Champions David Lloyd and Joanna Jones-Pierce (GBR) are also on their way to the Caribbean island. The 41 teams, representing nine countries, are going to fight a tough battle for victory on the Caribbean Sea. The first starting gun will be fired on Sunday 22 November, on the same day as the nineteenth Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta commences with fourteen participants.

Dodé and Lloyd/Jones-Pierce are considered as favourites. David Lloyd is the only sailor who competed in all previous Dart 18 World Championships. In 1998, the British duo won its first bronze medal at the Dart 18 Worlds and number three followed last year. They took silver in 2007. So far into this season, they have beaten Dodé in all meetings. The French couple Thierry and Christine Wibeaux will absolutely try to repeat its winning performance at the 2004 Worlds. From Germany, the former European Champions Matthias Huber and Dominik Volke will line up.

Aruba Heineken Regatta Open Class

The annual Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta will be held simultaneously with the Dart 18 Worlds. Twelve races are scheduled for the fourteen beach cats in the open class. Former winners Xander Pols (NED) and John Moret (NED) are believed to be the biggest favourites. Pols also took the line honours of the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race twice. The fleet represents the Dutch, German and Aruban flags, so it is going to be a match between these three nations.

For the majority of participants, the long distance race is always the highlight of the week. It takes the fleet down the Aruban coast, along the harbour of Oranjestad and on the way back through a beautiful lagoon. The course racing around the marks takes place on the Caribbean Sea off Palm Beach. Due to the prevailing offshore trade winds, the water is flat. This allows competitors of all levels to participate. Both competitions will finish on Friday November 27, with a lay-day on November 24. Traditionally, the organization offers an extensive social program, including beach parties and happy hours.

Dart 18 - Younger sister of Tornado

In 1975, Rodney March (GBR) designed the Dart 18 as a One Design Class. The concept originates from his earlier creation, the ex-Olympic Tornado from 1967. The Dart 18 is 5.5 meters long, has a mainsail and jib, one trapeze for the crew and no dagger boards. The boat is easy to sail and therefore still popular. Thanks to the lack of continuous development of equipment, the Dart 18 remains an affordable class for a wider group of sailors.

Organization

The nineteenth Aruba Heineken Regatta and the Dart 18 Worlds are organized by Edwin Lodder of Sailing Management International and Discover. His company is specialized in and full-time focussed on the organization of sailing events, such as worlds' biggest cat race the Zwitserleven Round Texel, Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta, DELTAWEEK, Delta Lloyd 24 Hours Sailing Race, 470 Worlds 2010 and the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta.

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.
Diana Bogaards
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