Registration for the annual Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta, November 13 – 23, 2008 has opened and organizers expect around 50 catamaran teams to compete. The Dutchmen Eduard van Zanen and Mischa Heemskerk, who claimed the title in 2007 after a tough competition, will return to defend their title.
The program will be one day longer this year, nine days total, so the mainly-European contestants will have more time to acclimatize, assemble their boats, and train. It is now possible to register on the new website www.arubaregatta.nl.
Twelve races will be spread over five competition days and will vary from short to (semi)long-distance races along the Aruban coast and through the challenging lagoon. The contestants compete for the honour and a return ticket. For many professional teams it is an ideal training environment. For the recreational participant, it is a good environment to gain good experience and share knowledge with experienced professionals.
The organization is expecting participants from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Swiss and the UK. This year local teams from Aruba will participate, and probably some from America as well. Apart from the winners from last year, Menno Vercouteren and Jaap Strakenbroek (top 3 finish in the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race in 2007), and John Moret (several times champion in the Aruba Heineken Regatta), will also travel this year to the event.
A maximum of 50 rental boats from Hobie Cat Holland will be shipped to Aruba from Europe. The catamarans leave Rotterdam in October in five containers and will be placed on the beach adjacent to the event hotel, the Holiday Inn.
The organization is also preparing for World Championship Dart 18, which will be organized, after the Aruba Heineken Regatta, in 2009. An expected 80 Dart 18 catamarans will compete in this 2009 Dart 18 World Championship. Various Dart 18-teams will come to Aruba this year to train and to get to know to the conditions.