On Thursday morning November 15, three possible winning crews sailed off Palm Beach for the final race of the 17th Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta. After a long course with three sausages and two triangles, Eduard Zanen and Mischa Heemskerk (NED) took the bullet and the overall victory. Gunnar Larsen and Bastiaan Tentij (NED) managed to finish third just one spot ahead of Wouter Samama and Sam Frank (NED). Both teams tied on points, but Larsen/Tentij became second overall on count back. Thomasch and Hankart (AUT) won in the small class of slower catamarans.
“You will race on a course that has everything in it”, said organizer Edwin Lodder the final morning at the briefing. He looked at the top teams and smiled: “Reaching, sausages and counting laps.” The wind was about force five, so cautious racing was important.
“We sailed safely, which is easier if you are leading,” said Zanen. According to Heemskerk, the team had a good preparation before the start and tried to stay calm. “We knew the pressure was on the top three teams. This morning, we said to each other that our event was already successful, so let’s enjoy this last race and sail smoothly. We won with a considerable lead.” That made them the winners of the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta 2007. Zanen, who took second in 2005 on a Tornado: “It was good fun to sail the F18. It was the first time with such a strong battle and I have learned so much from boat to boat situations. Mischa is a great coach.”
“I think everybody enjoyed the close competition and it was nice to watch the fleet interacting with each other. The atmosphere was perfect. It all gives sailing in the Caribbean the ultimate kick. Oolaalaa!” said Heemskerk.
This year’s class of slower catamarans (eight entries) was dominated by Manfred Thomasch from Austria and Henk Hankart from Aruba, who together took all ten bullets with their Dart 18. “The conditions were excellent, so we did enjoy the sailing,” said Hankart. Last year, we had competition from more and very good Dart 18 teams. Without them around, it was easier to win these series.” Thomasch’s favorite race was Wednesday’s long distance. “That was a classic one, just perfect,” he said.
Report submitted by Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta
Top five fast catamarans after 10 races and two discards:
1. NED – Zanen/Heemskerk, F18 Nacra Infusion, 17 points
2. NED – Larsen/Tentij, F18 Nacra Infusion, 20 points
3. NED – Samama/Frank, F18 Hobie Tiger, 20 points
4. NED – Pols/Veenstra, F18 Nacra Infusion, 29 points
5. GBR – Gummer/Bogaards, F18 Capricorn, 35 points
Top three slower catamarans after 10 races and two discards:
1. AUT – Thomasch/Hankart, Dart 18, 8 points
2. ARU – Grijpma/Ren, Sil & Mark, Prindle 19, 19 points
3. ARU – Valize/Hoek, 32 points