The J35 Dash has now won the Aruba International Regatta an unprecedented six times in a row. Some 35 vessels from around the ABC Islands crewed by people from as far away as the US, Colombia, Venezuela, the Netherlands and Belgium, participated in the event.
Hailing from Curaçao, and having taken part in every Aruba International Regatta, Dash, manned by Capt. Remco van Dortmondt and his crew clearly set the pace in Racing Class. Dash finished ahead of his Curaçao rival Melody skippered by Capt. Winfred Merkies, and newcomer Gitana under the command of Aruba’s Capt. Arjen Wassenaar, who finished second and third respectively.
In the Open Class it was Aruba all the way. First place went to Capt. Eric Maris with Robaina, then came Aruban Eva Luna with Capt. Eric Mijts, and Anouk skippered Ruud Ypenburg.
The Sunfish races were won by Randy Brown who pushed Job Laboyrie into second place. Third place went to Venezuela’s Kristiaan den Blanken. In the Beach Cat races Jose Dassen took the winner’s cup, followed by Jort Hartmans in second and Greg Marchena in third.
The Aruba International Regatta again received silver status from Sailors for the Sea – Clean Regattas and, living up to that expectation, sustainability officer Anita Aerts set up a number of campaigns to promote and stimulate responsible resource management during the event. Symbolizing this effort, she produced the coveted regatta awards from reclaimed glass, steel, stone and wood. No one-time plastics were used during catering and participants and spectators joined in the effort to make the footprint of the regatta as small as possible. As a result, the volunteers charged with beach cleaning following the regatta could devote their attention to other tasks: no trace was left behind.
Special regatta guest for 2016 was American marine biologist Mike Gil who gave a speech at the closing ceremony on science and coral reefs. He underscored the role sailors can play in convincing people of the value of our marine ecosystems and the way in which human activity affects coral reef systems. In closing, Gil gave the regatta participants and spectators an uplifting message on the impact individuals can have on sustainable development.
Regatta organizers Eric Mijts, Joost Horward and Anthony Hagedoorn look back on a successful regatta.
“The event brings together the sailors of different disciplines and from different places in the world, to celebrate sailing and friendship in a sustainable fashion. Special thanks need to be given to the sponsors that made the event possible, and to the valuable support provided by the Dutch Marines who provided safety and support at sea,” the organizers said.