November 13 2003 the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta was thrilling. Tornado teams were fighting the Formula 18 sailors Gunnar LARSEN and Xander POLS (NED). William SUNNUCKS and Mark SELF (GBR) took the lead on the reach and they won the race.
At 10:30 hours, the coloured fleet of catamarans left the beach for the first race. The wind force was about two to three, but it decreased later on. The small boats had to sail two laps instead of three, which made their competition more interesting. The Hobie 16 teams Rowen/Baring from England and Heilbron/Bogaards from the Netherlands, were fighting hard for the first position of the smaller catamarans. Meanwhile, it was team Sunnucks/Gummer that took the lead of the fleet. Until the finish, the competition remained close. Sunnucks: "Gunnar crossed the finish line in about four minutes behind us, which is enough to beat us".
Both teams were now leading the overall ranking. Richard Allen got a third place and the gap with the numbers three, Graat and Koene, decreased to just one point. The pressure was on. The Dutch Hobie 16 team beat the English and moved into 11 position overall.
Due to light conditions, the race committee put a smaller long distance course down after the lunch. On the starting line, the teams on the pin end were better off. Simon NORTHROP and Mike SPELLER were first at the upwind and downwind mark, but while reaching it were Sunnucks and Self that passed them. Northrop: "We had a good start at the pin end. We finished fourth, but we prefer more wind." He felt the hot pressure of Richard ALLEN, who was going after him. Allen: "It was a nice reach with finally a better wind. We caught up on William and Simon. We passed Simon and than we had a good competition with Gunnar LARSEN, John MORET and Simon NORTHROP."
Unfortunately, their main sheet broke just before the finish. As a result, John MORET was ahead of them on the finish line. The Formula 18-sailors Rikkert GRAAT and Daan KOENE from the Netherlands, had problems with the spinnaker and had to abandon the race, so they dropped to the fourth position overall. The gap between first finishers Sunnucks/Self and Larsen/Pols was big enough for the victory and for the first place overall for the British. Today's last race will be decisive for the first two positions.
The Aruba Heineken Regatta will be held from November 9 until 14 2003. Eight races are scheduled, included a long distance race on Thursday November 13 2003. The regatta is sponsored by the Aruban Toerist agency, Heineken, Hapag Lloyd, Holiday Inn, KLM, TNG, Magic Marine, Coca Cola, AWA, Tropical Bottling Company Aruba, Does & Cadushi, Pelican Watersports, Palm Tours, Aruba Watersport Center, Anthony Veder & Co, Astec, Meta Corporation, Seaworld Explorer, Kodak, Meta Corporation, AS Aruba and the Caribbean Mercantile Bank.
Top five after 7 races and two discards