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16 November 2003, 08:18 am
Long Distance Winners Pipped at the Post
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Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta

The Dutch Formula 18 team Gunnar LARSEN and Xander POLS won the 13 Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta. On Friday they beat the British Tornado duo Sunnucks/Self in the last race by four minutes on rating.
After the light conditions in the last couple of days, the wind was back and therefore the smiles on the faces of the competitors.

The promised sea breeze at breakfast was established. The race committee once again laid an Olympic course. In the strong breeze the competitors were looking forward to their final day on the water. Several catamarans capsized under spinnaker but there was little damage to equipment and everybody enjoyed sailing.

While as on the first racing day, it was again the Tornado's that dominated the race, it was Gunnar LARSEN and Xander POLS on their Nacra Formula 18 that proved themselves among the olympic catamarans. They had to finish less than five minutes after Sunnucks/Williams in order to beat them. The gap turned out to be only one minute and in the end victory was theirs.

"It was hard work to beat the Tornados, but fortunately we had more wind during the last race," commented Larsen afterwards. For Xander Pols it is the second time in a row that he has won the event. Last year, he helmed a Tornado to the first position overall. "In 2002 we had a tough competition as well, but it was different," recounted Pols. "We had lots of trouble with the equipment and that was nerve breaking. This year, we had to deal with very good sailors. William is a fantastic competitor, so we are happy that we finally beat him."

Richard Allen and Stuart Gummer got a third place. "This was my seventh time racing in Aruba, but I still did not win the event," said Allen. "Last year, we were second and this year third. So, we are going backwards instead of forwards, therefore we need to come back. We have to win it one year."

It is the first time the first and second placed boats in the Aruba Regatta have levelled on points at the end of the regatta. Larsen and Pols were the winners, because they had won more races. "We sailed as fast as we could," said Sunnucks after racing. "They were just to close to us. Anyway, it was a good race and competition."

After the finish, all competitors began to pack the Hapag Lloyd containers for the transport to Europe, where they will be unloaded in the middle of the winter with perhaps snow-showers. The organisation looks back on a successful and fair sailing event.

Organiser Edwin LODDER: "Thanks to the support of all sponsors, this year's edition was again a success. The conditions were lighter than last year, but we could complete all planned races. We had two days with more wind and in a way it makes the competitions more fair. Although it was the first time with such a big group, the atmosphere was great."

Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Diana Bogaards
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