Dutch duo Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS have won the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta for the second time.
and Pim NIEUWENHUIS
(NED) were already secured of this year's victory, but they still came out for the last race and took the bullet in style on Friday. Mischa HEEMSKERK
and Eduard ZANEN (NED) took it easy and capsized in a moment of not paying attention. However, that did not affect their second place. William SUNNUCKS
and Simon FARREN
(GBR) remained in third position. Father and daughter Martin and Nicole VAN DER VELDEN (ARU) kept their lead in the small class.
"When it started to rain this morning and we were having a coffee, we had our doubts about going out",
admitted NIEUWENHUIS 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 (10 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 explained, "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. "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 It is not completely outdated, but we are of course looking forward to the new boat,"
There was no mercy for HEEMSKERK and ZANEN on the final day as they capsized on the fourth run, but lost only one spot on the course.
"We were in the relaxing mode and didn't notice a puff",
joked 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",
SUNNUCKS and 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,"
explained SUNNUCKS. The British skipper loved the competition with POLS: "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."
FARREN calls it their year of thirds: "We finished third in the Archipelago Raid as well."
POLS is more into the fourth places, as that was also his result from last year. He explained, "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 12th 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 came second in the last race of the series on Friday. MORET said, "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."
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 said, "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."
Organizer Edwin LODDER (NED) commented on the success of the 18th edition of the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta: "It was a successful week with 10 exciting races. The circumstances were sailable for everybody and it was a very pleasant group, so I am absolutely satisfied."
The prizegiving and party were held at Moomba Beach.
Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta - www.arubaregatta.com