On Friday November 21 2008, Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis (NED) officially won the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta for the second time. They were already secured of victory, but came out for the last race and took the bullet in style. Mischa Heemskerk and Eduard Zanen (NED) took it easy and capsized in a moment of not paying attention. However, that did not affect their second place. William Sunnucks and Simon Farren (GBR) remained in third position. Father and daughter Van der Velden (ARU) kept their lead in the small class.
“When it started to rain this morning and we were having a coffee, we had our doubts about going out”, admitted Pim Nieuwenhuis (NED) while dismantling his boat in the Caribbean sun. “But it is too much fun, so we went out for the final race.”
The sky cleared up and the breeze stayed variable and light (ten knots) the last day. Booth and Nieuwenhuis, who also won the 2006 edition, were first at the top mark and extended their lead all the way to the finish. Booth: “It was again shifty and that is what we like. It is easy to see puffs on this flat water.” The Olympic duo took eight out of ten bullets. Booth: “There were a lot of good teams, so we couldn’t slack off. And it proofs that the Hobie Tiger is still competitive if it is sailed well. It is not completely outdated, but we are of course looking forward to the new boat.”
“We were in the relaxing mode and didn’t notice a puff,” joked Mischa Heemskerk. No mercy for Heemskerk and Zanen. They capsized on the fourth run, but lost only one spot on the course. Heemskerk: “That did not matter us at all, because we couldn’t drop to the third position anymore. It was a great regatta and we are the first non-Olympic team, so not too bad.”
William Sunnucks and Simon Farren defended their one point lead on Xander Pols and Frank de Waard, by finishing fourth the last day. That left the British sailors in third position overall. It almost went wrong, as Sunnucks fell off the boat in the first beat. “I was dragged along by my ankle, so I was lucky to get back onboard soon.” Sunnucks just loved the competition with Xander: “He has a nice attitude. We all made our mistakes. If we could actually see the wind on the water, then we were ten times faster. We thought it was more difficult to spot the pressure on sunny days.”
Xander Pols: “They deserved to win. We have a problem on the run in light conditions, as we are too heavy. It was a good day for lighter teams, which makes it an all-round event. This was my twelfth Aruba Regatta and I have never experienced these shifty winds here. It was an exciting battle.”
Preparing for Dart 18 Worlds
Although Martin and Nicole van der Velden (ARU) scored a fourth this afternoon, they still won the small class regatta by two points. Manfred Thomasch (AUT) and Amanda Westera (ARU) came second, followed by the locals Henk-Johan Hankart and the Grijpma brothers, who took the final bullet. Mother Francis van Baaren and daughter Frederieke Grijpma (17) were fourth. According to Van Baaren, the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta is always a sailing highlight of the year: “The atmosphere is great and we learn a lot.” From now on, all Dart 18 sailors from Aruba will continue practicing for the Dart 18 Worlds 2009, to be organized on Aruba. About seven local teams will join the championship.
Organiser Edwin Lodder (NED) about the 18th edition of the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta: “It was a successful week with ten exciting races. The circumstances were sailable for everybody and it was a very pleasant group, so I am absolutely satisfied.” The final night, it was party time, as the prize giving was celebrated at Moomba Beach.
The Aruba Catamaran Regatta is sponsored by Heineken, Aruba (ATA), Martinair, Hapag Lloyd, Holiday Inn, Setar, AWA, Coca Cola, TNG, Does & Cadushi, Aruba Aloe, Palmtours, Aruba Watersports Center, Atlantis, Pelican Nest, Moomba Beach, Zwitserleven and Alfons de Letter.
Report submitted by the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta