Saturday, 25 June 2011

Another Texel Dutch Open win for Heemskerk/Tentij

2011 Dutch Champions Heemskerk and Tentij. Image copyright Thom Touw.

by Diana Bogaards

On Friday, June 24, 2011 Dutchmen Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaan Tentij won the Texel Dutch Open again. They prolong their Dutch catamaran title with today's three bullets. Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser from the Netherlands take silver, followed by the Australians Adam Beattie and Jamie Leitner. Meanwhile, the favourites for line honors prepared their racing machines on the Texel beach. Tomorrow, the 34th Zwitserleven Round Texel Race will start and the entry list has 440 registered teams.

'It was a very nice day", gloats Heemskerk (NED). 'After the starting debacle yesterday (black flag) we wanted to make sure to be master of our own destiny today. We only started on the safe side and searched for the ends of the line. Rather be at the less favourite side of the line. That worked out fine." Also on the course it went well: 'In the first race we were in third position when we saw a beautiful cloud coming at the right hand side. We went for that and that worked out well." The first bullet of the day was in the pocket.

In the last match it became really thrilling. Heemskerk: 'Jason Waterhouse turned just before us around the off set mark. I thought he had made the full turn, but suddenly Bastiaan yelled 'oh sh*t'. I looked around him and saw the Aussie hanging in a wave and we were speeding into him. I just could steer up to stay clear of him. Luckily we didn't sail into his boat, that would have been ugly. We had some 20-21 knots of speed (38 km/h)." About their chances in the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race Heemskerk says self-assured: 'If the wind tomorrow is like today, then we're on."

Disappointment for Thijs Visser

Silver medallists De Koning and Visser. Image copyright Thom Touw.

After his gold medal earlier this week the silver of today is some less sweet taste for Thijs Visser (NED). 'It was okay", he reacts carefully. 'But we couldn't pass Mischa. At the last start we had some bad luck. There was a boat blocking our way and there was no room for us. We had to fight our way forward." After twice a second position today Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser concluded the championship with a fourth place, which brought them a second position overall.

Accordingly Visser is satisfied about the whole series: 'We lost quite some places in the first race due to equipment failure. Then our cross bar broke lose of the rudder. We lost some time, so that was a pity. And Mischa also had a black flag yesterday. We were almost equal until the last race."

Battle for third place

Bronze medal winners Beattie and Leitner in action. Image copyright Thom Touw.

The Dutchmen Pim Nieuwenhuis and Ferdinand van West could not afford themselves another discard anymore, as they had an OCS in the first race. However, they scored a nineteenth in race seven, so they dropped from the podium. With one more match to go, the Britons Piggott and Garcka were winning bronze. The Aussies had to beat them with three boats between them to take the bronze, which they did. Adam Beattie: 'We had to make up on Grant today. We were not match racing him. We just had to beat him, so we did our own thing. Jamie Leitner: 'It was tough racing. This morning it was a bit lighter and it built in the afternoon. The condition of the waves was hard, but we had a lot of fun. We are pretty ecstatic to have won a bronze medal." Their performance is a direct result of their sailing at home in Australia: 'We haven't stopped sailing. I think that is paying off", says Beattie.

Home team wins Open II class

The Texel team Dirk Pool and Anna van der Duim wins the Open II class for catamarans with a rating of 105 and more. The all girl team Dominique van Asselt and Ingrid Bakker climbed to a second place, followed by Alfred de Jong.

Record attempt

Sunnucks and Egan hunting for the record. Image copyright Thom Touw.

Around 14.30 hour three teams began a record attempt around Texel. Mitch and son Taylor Booth on the Nacra carbon 20. Xander Pols and Sascha Larsen on a similar boat and William Sunnucks en Oliver Egan on the M20 Vampire. Still sailing on the Northsea the two Nacra's had to resign, after they both bore themselves unmercifully hard into a wave. The spinnaker poles broke, so there it ended for today. But tomorrow they just are on the hunt for line honours again.

Sunnucks and Egan in the end were only two minutes away from setting a new record sailing around Texel. They finished in two hours and nine minutes, so the fastest time still is in the hands of Herbert Dercksen and Mark Bulkely. Although Sunnucks and Egan set a new record for this years Zwitserleven Sailing week , the TNG record, that's not what they aimed for. 'We're pissed of," reacts William Sunnucks straight from the heart. 'Only two minutes!" The Brits had to stop four times in their record attempt, which obviously slowed them down. They are indeed good candidates for line honours, which Sunnucks already won in 2009.

Mr. Wing favourite?

Wing sail in preparation. Image copyright Olivier Schilling.

Olympic sailor Herbert Dercksen and Mark Bulkely (GBR) are stealing the show this week in the pit lane. Their Zwitserleven red wing sail is an innovation in the world of beach catamarans and blown over from the America's Cup. Dercksen: 'We wanted to see if we could have the first beach cat with a wing sail to go through the surf out on the sea. It took us six months to build it. Each day you find out new things. So yes maybe the Round Texel Race of tomorrow is a bit too early. But if you're not trying, you will never know. If the wind is stronger, it's actually easy. We already noticed that. With light breeze we're still searching. But the proof of the pudding is the eating. Our goal for tomorrow is to finish in one piece. If we come to that, the experiment actually is successful." So it is the question whether the line honours are at hand.

The weather

The weather forecast for tomorrow is a lot more positive than last year when the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race couldn't be continued. On Saturday June 25 2001 there will be a strong breeze with a increasing southerly to southwesterly wind. That direction only causes less problems in the surf and provides a spectacular start between 12.30 and 13.30 hours.

Mitch Booth and son Taylor in difficulties during their record attempt. Image copyright Thom Touw.

Top five Texel Dutch Open 2011:

NED - Heemskerk/Tentij, 11 points
NED - De Koning/Visser, 21 points
AUS - Beattie/Leitner, 38 points
GBR - Piggott/Garcka, 39 points
NED - Nieuwenhuis/Van West, 48 points
Top three Open klasse II (7 contestants)
NED - Pool/Van der Duim, 13 points
NED - Van Asselt/Bakker, 21 points
NED - Alfred de Jong, 44 points

Zwitserleven Sailing Week 2011

The Zwitserleven Sailing Week brings together multiple championships and races. The entire event commenced on Monday, June 20 with the Nacra Championships, including the official 2011 Nacra Infusion Worlds. The Nacra races lasted until Wednesday morning, because that afternoon the Dutch Open Catamaran Championship begins. The Dutch Catamaran Champions will be crowned on Friday, June 24. In addition, the Shorttrack Races will take place on Friday. For the recreational sailors there are tours on Thursday and Friday. The Slalom Windsurfing Worlds have their finals on Saturday, June 25, the day on which hundreds of catamarans sail around Texel.

The entire Zwitserleven Sailing Week is to be followed via the website, Facebook and Twitter.

Besides the title sponsor Zwitserleven, the Round Texel race is also made possible by the following sub sponsors VVV Texel, Paal 17 events, Treffers / Kappa, Teso, W&H Leibherr, TNG Watches and Mondriaan Onderwijsgroep.

Zwitserleven Sailing Week