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Winners from all classes celebrate at the awards ceremony
Winners from all classes celebrate at the awards ceremony

Aruba International Regatta

Veteran Sunbelt Realty Dash skippered by Remco van Dortmondt stormed to victory taking the the coveted Budget Marine Cup in a thrilling sixth edition of the Aruba International Regatta sailed August 16th – 17th.  Twenty eight teams competed in the sixth edition of the regatta hosted at Surfside Beach in Oranjestad harbor.

Strong winds tested many of the crews but all participants reported enjoying the best Aruba Regatta ever. Challenging sailing conditions along with great ambiance ashore and a display of beautiful home-built boat exposition kept hundreds of sailing enthusiasts happy. “A weekend I’ll never forget,” remarked one participant from Curaçao.

A hundred and twenty-four sailors registered ranging from young optimist sailors to sunfish, beach cats, yachts, kitesurfers and windsurfers. A micro boat competition attracted some of the more senior participants in the regatta. This competition is new to the regatta, but not to the island of Aruba and, following tradition, skippers carefully trimmed sails on their 30, 35 and 40-inch boats for races that added color to the event. Fourteen micro boat captains participated with several boats each. With more than 100 sailors in other classes, this put over100 sails on the water.

Winds of 20 knots on Saturday morning built to 28 knots with gusts up to 38 knots by Sunday afternoon. The yacht Chipi, skippered by Javier Galdo, was dismasted. No one was hurt during the incident and thanks to good seamanship on the part of race director Capt. Anthony Hagedoorn and Capt. Galdo, the yacht was safely towed back to the regatta beach.

A series of mishaps overtook the beach cat class. Due to a navigation error in the lead boat, the entire class overshot a buoy and hit shallows, four boats damaged their rudders and another lost its rudder later in the races.

Windward/leeward courses of six miles, designed by race director Anthony Hagedoorn, ensured fast tactical racing with crews negotiating currents, changing wave patterns and shifting, variable winds.

Overall cup winner Sunbelt Realty Dash, from Curaçao, beat the competition in racing class, whille Nawati with Captain Werner Haan finished second. The Aruban team of Ocean 505, skippered by Maurice Hagedoorn, finished third. In the open class Eva Luna, sailed by regatta founders Eric and Anita Mijts and crew, took first place and finished second overall. The strongest competition in open class came from Curaçao with Captain Hans van der Straaten’s Venus Callipyge, and Melody, skippered by Winfried Merkies who finished in second and third place respectively.

First place in beach cat class went to the father and son team of Rob and Sil Grijpma, they outwitted second place finishers Francis Grijpma (yep, the mother) and Henk Steenbergen, and Patrick Melchiors and Frank van Kan who finished third.

In Sunfish class, Richard van der Wal (Aruban champion) won ahead of Robbie Ferron (Sint Maarten) and Randy Brown.

Optimist II class saw Alexander van der Velde finished ahead of Vivian Hankart and Tijn Hartmans.  The win in Optimist I class went to Jort Hartmans with Luna Upegui and Enric Braamskamp finishing second and third respectively. The youngest Optimist sailing class was won by Feike Benega who beat Lucas van Hest and Sophie Dings.

Following the event, the organizing committee, comprised Eric Mijts, Joost Horward and Anthony Hagedoorn, received positive feedback from participants.

“More and more sailors recognize the goal of the Aruba International Regatta. It’s all about sailing,” the committee said.

For more information and dates of the next regatta, visit www.aruba-regatta.com or check their page on facebook.

* Report submitted by Eric Mijts. Photos by Joost Horward for Aruba International Regatta.

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