The finals of the Delta Lloyd Open Dutch Sailing Championships on Sunday were exciting. Star-team Mark Neeleman and Peter van Niekerk lost three of its four points lead, but they won the national title.
Only the 49er got a new leader on the last racing day, as the Belgian Blondiau brothers beat the Dutch Schutte brothers.
Star: Fierce competition
At the starting gun of the last race, there was a four point difference between the numbers one and two. Team Heiner/Bergsma took the offensive and it almost succeeded. At the first upwind mark, Heiner and Bergsman were in first position. In the following reach they lost three boats, because they were too much focused on Neeleman/Van Niekerk. Dirk de Ridder with his occasional crew Simon Keijzer, took the lead. While sailing upwind, Heiner went to the left side and passed the upwind mark again in first position. Neeleman/Van Niekerk had to defend their fourth place, in order to secure the national title. The victory in the last race was for Heiner/Bergsma, followed by Kats/Martens who won bronze overall. Neeleman/Van Niekerk got fourth and the title was theirs. Next spring, there will be a 'sail off' in Medemblik. The winner goes to the Olympics in Athens. The competition will definitely be strong.
470 women & men: Evident winners
The competition in a mixed field of eighteen 470 teams was evident. Sven Coster did not sail with his brother Kalle, who is recovering from a back injury. Robbert Baggers replaced him during the championship and the occasional team won all races with a huge lead. Except for the first race, when they did not read the notice on the board. They sailed two loops in stead of three, with a DNF as a result. The Dutch Olympic women team Marjon Kooistra and Petra de Goederen wished for strong winds, in order to train their skills under these conditions. And they got it in the first two racing days, as the wind force was between 4 and 6. Kooistra: "It was tough, because physically we are in rest after the World Championships. Nevertheless, for us it is good to have a strong wind, because we need to improve under these conditions."
The girls got a third position overall and they won the women title.
Finn: Jaap Zielhuis is dedicated
The Finn sailors completed two races on the last day. Since the World Championship in Cadiz, Stefan de Vries has received a priority status of the Royal Dutch Sailing Federation. Jaap Zielhuis will be his sparring partner in 2004, but he already started during the Deltal Lloyd Dutch Championships. He took the lead on the first day and he seemed dedicated to keep it until the end. The difference between him and De Vries was two points after the second racing day. At the first start on Sunday, he was too early. He returned and started again. In the same race he got a yellow flag, but he still managed to finish in fourth position. Ewout Meijer won, followed by Stefan de Vries who decided to stop. De Vries: "I could not win anymore, so I went back to the harbour". Zielhuis won the final race and became the national champion 2003. Aaron O'grady from Ireland won bronze.
The Delta Lloyd Open Dutch Championships 2003 took place from Friday 10 October until Sunday 12 October 2003. Regatta Center Medemblik hosted the event. About 200 hundred sailors, representing 6 countries, competed for the national titles in the Olympic Classes.
The Delta Lloyd Open Dutch Championships 2003 were sponsored by: Delta Lloyd, Armada, TNG, Gill en Heineken.
Dutch champions 2003:
1. Jaap Zielhuis, 7 point
2. Stefan de Vries, 10 points
3. Aaron O'grady (IRL), 18 points
1. Joeri van Dijk, 6 points
2. Casper Bouman, 11 points
3. Cedric Willems (BEL), 22 points
1. Nikki van Riel, 30 points
2. Priscilla Houtkamp, 42 points
3. Saskia Smoorenburg, 61 points
1. Sven Coster/Robbert Baggers, 6 points
2. Francis Proot/Wietse Heyninck (BEL), 14 points
3. Coen de Koning/Wilco Stavenuiter, 21 points
1. Marjon Kooistra/Petra de Goederen, 17 points
2. Mandy Mulder/Gea Jutjens, 56 points
3. Pim Kalf/Toos Zandstra, 93 points
1. Marc de Haas, 12 points
2. Pieter-Jan Postma, 21 points
3. Michiel Peeters, 26 points
1. Mark Neeleman/Peter van Niekerk, 9 points
2. Roy Heiner/Han Bergsma, 10 points
3. Serge Kats/Jean-Pierre Martens, 16 points
1. Christian Schafer/Anna Hoell/Vero Lochbrunner, 25 points
2. Adse Jelles/Sybren Jelles/Tjac van Olst, 35 points
3. Marcel de Jong/Redmer Bootsma/Van der Broek, 37 points
1. Janneke Hin/Lobke Berkhout/Hanne Buis, 37 points
2. Annelies Thies/Annemieke Bes/Marcelien de Koning, 56 points
3. Marije Faber/Evelien Veenhoven/M. de Boer, 92 points
1. Carolijn Brouwer, 7 points
2. Merel Witteveen, 12 points
3. Christiane Petzke (GER), 14 points
1. Quentin Blondiau/Lionel Blondiau (BEL), 8 points
2. Daan Schutte/Willem Schutte, 9 points
3. Jeroen van Catz/Constantijn Weber, 17 points