Twenty-four sailors took part in the second Sunfish Youth Worlds, while 72 sailors competed in the 41st Sunfish Open Worlds, which took place in Curaçao from June 8th – 19th. Both events were sailed in strong winds and high seas along the island's south coast. After ten days two new world champions were crowned and Curaçao looked back on two successful events, often sailed in extreme conditions.
A total of nineteen races were sailed off the Lions Dive Hotel, eleven of these were in the open class.
During the first days of the youth competition the three top sailors all won a race and successfully maintained their top positions in the rankings. Eventually, Jean-Paul de Trazegnies, from Peru, won the coveted title after a thrilling final race, with just one point separating him from Curaçao's Kevin van Otterdijk. Van Otterdijk's fellow countryman Eugène Hendrikx won the third race and finished third overall.
In the open competition Curaçao's 1980s champion Cor van Aanholt won race eight, and there was a single victory for triple World Champion David Loring from the USA. However, it was the South Americans who dominated with Matheus Dellagnelo from Brazil crowned new world champion, and Alexander Zimmerman from Peru and Francisco Renna of Argentina taking second and third place, respectively.
Cor van Aanholt's son, Ard van Aanholt, sailed a strong series but could not break through the South American cordon, although he had an excellent start by winning the first race. Although unable to shake the South Americans young van Aanholt showed plenty of character, scoring a third place in the last race to retain an honorable fourth place in the final standings.
Alexandra Siebels, also from Curaçao, pluckily held out against the men. She finished in 41st place and was crowned 'first lady' for the second time.
Although Curaçao couldn't count a world champion amongst their sailors, local organizers were highly satisfied. In the Open Championship the Curaçao flag appeared three times in the top ten, a feat equaled by no other country.
The oldest participant, great grand master Dolf van der Giessen (74), missed only one of the eleven races and beat 15 younger sailors before the competition was over.
For Matheus Dellagnelo it was a glorious day and he deserved his first world title.
As the 89-year-old Curaçao Sunfish guru Rudy Dovale said at the start of the event: "May the winner be the best!"
For detailed results, photos, and information, visit: www.sunfishworlds2011.com
Els Kroon is a Dutch former teacher who now lives and works as an award-winning freelance photojournalist on Curaçao.