Sunday will see the start of the 2003 Sunfish World Championships in St Maarten. These fast little sailboats are crowd favourites due to the colour and excitement of the races, but are well known for attracting some of the worlds most experienced sailors.
Robbie FERRON, Chairman of the Sunfish Steering Committee of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, remarked that "the abundance of highly skilled tactical and experienced sailors makes this class one that is as difficult to win as any other world championship."
Competition should be very stiff with the entry of no less than four previous World Champions: Stephen SMEULDERS from Curacao now resident in the United States, Cor van AANHOLT who now lives in Curcacao and was a European Laser champion, Panam Games silver medallist Malcom SMITH of Bermuda, and Donny MARTINBOROUGH from the Bahamas; plus Panam Games bronze medallist, Raul AGUAYRO of the Dominican Republic.
Fred van IMHOFF will represent the Netherlands, with Guy de CHAVIGNY and Matthieu MOURES representing Martinique. One time St Maarten residents Wim and Hans VAN DER GULIK, the doyens of Sunfish racing in St Maarten in the seventies and early eighties will also sail in the event. The competition will also see Dick TILLMAN, an early Laser champion, a top J24 sailor, and the author of the first book on Laser sailing, who is also the incumbent President of the International Sunfish Class Association; and the very experienced Dick BERGMAN. A total of sixty-eight sailors are entered.
The Sint Maarten Yacht Club in partnership with the International Sunfish Class Association is running the Sunfish World Championship Regatta. The opening ceremony will take place on Saturday 11 October and the Closing and awards ceremony will be on 18 October. Both will be at Divi Little Bay Hotel. Local sailors and supporters are invited to attend.
All races are open to the public and will take place in the waters off Little Bay daily from Sunday October 12 through Saturday October 18. Good viewing will be possible from Fort Amsterdam as the start and finish lines will be near to that point.