Sunday, 26 June 2011

Zwitserleven Round Texel Race : Dramatic Collision Knocks Wind out of Olympian and new Mum Carolijn Brouwer's Comeback to Major Racing

Carolijn Brouwer and Jeroen Van Leeuwen sailing the Viper off Texel. Image copyright Thom Touw.

by 2BSailing media

Olympian and former round the world sailor Carolijn Brouwer's long-awaited return to sailing after the birth of her first child ended in dramatic fashion before the start of the famous Round Texel catamaran race with the Dutch sailor admitting she and crewmate Jeroen van Leeuwen were both lucky to have escaped serious injury.

"If Jeroen had been 30cm either way he would have been slammed. It would have been awful," a shattered Brouwer said after she and her crewmate returned to shore following the pre-start incident in The Netherlands on Saturday.

Sail damage following the collision. Supplied image.

"We were sitting head to wind and then this boat just came out of nowhere. It landed on top of ours and smashed it and their bow went through our sail.

"We are all lucky no one was injured but it's pretty shattering. We couldn't wait to race and the conditions were looking really good for the Viper.

"The only thing that could actually make me smile today was giving Kyle (aged four months) a big hug when we got back."

Hull damage following the collision. Supplied image.

Close-up of hull damage following the collision. Supplied image.

While Brouwer and van Leeuwen were forced back to shore with their damaged Viper unsailable and their sail ripped in half, Chris Sproat and Georgina Burke claimed the honour of being the first mixed-crew home in the 60 nautical mile race on their Viper. Mixed sailing was recently introduced onto the program for the 2016 Olympics with the Viper one of the boats vying to be the new class raced at the Rio Games.

The 2011 Round Texel event was to have been Brouwer's return to major competition after she jumped out of her Viper last September before the birth of her son.

"It was so exciting. We really had high hopes for the Viper in the race," she said.

At the last Olympics Brouwer sailed a Tornado catamaran and was the only woman to race the class at the Games.

The Round Texel race was supposed to be a way for Brouwer to test the waters for a possible Olympic campaign in a mixed boat in 2016.

Zwitserleven Round Texel Race