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3 June 2008, 05:01 pm
Massive Entry For Round Texel Race
Cats lining up on the beach
Over 450 cats will contest this year's Round Texel Race

Zwitserleven Round Texel Race 2008
Texel, Netherlands

Five days prior to the start of the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race 2008, the Dutch organization received over 450 pre-entries.
The colourful fleet of cracks and recreational sailors represents eleven countries. Last year's overall winners Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) are not present, since they have a training session in China in preparation for the Olympic Games. The Dutch Olympic representatives Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS do line up for the impressive start on Saturday 7 June. Not with their F18 Hobie Tiger, but with their Tornado. Regarding the number of high performance carbon multihulls that entered the race, it is going to be an interesting battle for the line honours. At 10:00 local time, hundreds of beach catamarans will set course to the famous red light house in the north.

In 2007, Xander POLS and Tjiddo VEENSTRA (NED) took the line honours with their carbon M20. They will meet strong competition at the 31st Zwitserleven Round Texel Race. Record holder Wouter SAMAMA and his crew Paul BUYSE (NED) will be eager to power up their brand new Extreme 20 to set the fastest time ever. In the windy and wild 2005 edition, SAMAMA and Jeroen VAN LEEUWEN were absolutely flying their Tornado and set the record of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 11 seconds. Herbert DERCKSEN, second over the line as skipper in 2007 and overall winner in 2004 with BOOTH on the helm, will again try his luck on the Extreme 20 with Mark BULKELY (GBR) on the wire. Both sailors competed against each other in the 2004 Olympic Games.

Although Dutchman Vincent HUNTELMAN was on the Texel podium before, he is new to the battle for line honours. His crew Sven DE LAAF (NED) already knows how it feels to be first over the line, after being the fastest in 2003. They will sail an Eagle 20 carbon. Göran MARSTRÖM, the Swedish builder of the M20, Tornado and Extreme 40, will once more challenge the younger competitors. In 2006 at the age of 63, he beat everybody else with his M20. He is ready to match this success with Thomas PETERSSON crewing for him. The first finishers of 2004, Hans BOUSCHOLTE and Ruurd VAN WIEREN (NED), are lining up with their Eagle 20 XXL small spi.

Different from other years, Team Zwitserleven BOOTH and NIEUWENHUIS will race its Olympic Tornado around the biggest Dutch Wadden Island. Going into the last two months leading up to the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, these top sailors are in good form. They are fast in all kinds of wind conditions, proving that with their silver medal in Medemblik, and are therefore likely to be the fastest on Saturday.

Favourites for overall victory

Generally speaking and depending on the wind, the top F18 teams have the biggest chance to win the overall cup on handicap. Two times winner Mischa HEEMSKERK (2002 and 2005) and his crew Bastiaan TENTIJ (NED) were close in 2007 with a second position. They are favourites for this year's title. Gunnar LARSEN (winner in 1999) and Stefan DUBBELDAM (NED) will certainly give them strong competition and so will Willem GEIJSSEN and Rico VAN CAPELLE (NED) and the 2006 F18 World Champions Helge SACH and Jens-Christian SACH (GER). The 2007 bronze medallists Jean-Christophe MOURNIAC and Franck CITEAU from France return to Texel to win another colour..

Texel Dutch Open

Prior to the massive start of the well-known spectacle for beach cat sailors, the Texel Dutch Open will be held at Paal 17 close to De Koog. From 4-6 June about 60 teams will compete for the official Dutch National title Cat Sailing. Meanwhile, spectators have the opportunity to learn more from this challenging sport in the special pit lane on the beach. During the Round Texel Week, every day ends with musical highlights in the party tent.

Besides from Zwitserleven, the Round Texel Race is also sponsored by TNG Swiss Watches, Repeat Sales Promotions, W&H/Liebherr, Yamaha Nederland, Nissan, Bizzmark, Teso, VVV Texel, de Mondriaan Onderwijsgroep, Rabobank, de Meeuw, Zeilen, Texeler, Stiehl Entertainment and Paal-17 Events.

Zwitserleven Round Texel Race - www.roundtexel.com

Diana Bogaards
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