Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis extend lead

Friday, 17 November 2006

On Thursday November 16, Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis (NED, F18 Hobie Tiger) extended their overall lead in the 16th Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta. They won both races and are now seven points ahead of Stuart Gummer and Hannah Burke (GBR, F18 Capricorn). There is only one race left. The Dutch Dart 18 team Mark Rijks and Brenda Liefhebber is a class apart in this year’s small boat competition. They only scored bullets. As a heavy thunderstorm hit Aruba during the night, the conditions were still unstable in the morning. The wind dropped from 12 to 4 knots, but picked up in the afternoon till 15 knots.

Magic Marina Race: Work shop pays
After a one hour delay, the starting gun was fired with a pitch black sky above the other side of Aruba. It brought a few drops of rain, but no lightning anymore. Richard Allen and Simon Farren were flying their Tornado and came to the top mark with an extensive lead. Wouter Samama and Paul Buyse hoisted the spinnaker of their F18 Nacra Infusion in second position, but gave up ground every lap and finished sixth overall. Samama: “Mitch passed us in the second downwind and in the third beat we were in between two paths of wind. That is where Peter Vink and the Frenchmen Quillaume Hemery and Nicolas Usandizaga overtook us.” Allen and Farren also gave up their first position in the third upwind leg. The Dutch Tornado team Eduard Zanen and Willem Houwing took it over. Zanen: “Richard Allen went to the extreme left side and we tacked a couple of times through the middle and closed the gap. We steered deeper under spinnaker and rounded the bottom mark first. It was very exciting.” The Dutchmen took the line honours. Van Zanen: “Mitch’s clinic from yesterday paid off.” Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis worked their way up from a fifth to a second position and won on handicap. James and Gillian Power were second, followed by Chris Sproat and Georgina Burke (GBR, Spitfire).

The Aruba streets were floated this morning, so was the Dutch school of Rens and Sil Grijpma. That is why they also could compete in today’s morning race with their dad. Rens (11) is not new to the Aruba Regatta, as he already participated three times with his dad on a Prindle 19. This year it was time for his younger brother Sil (9) to join the family team. Their father Rob Grijpma gave each of them a job to do. Rens: “I am hanging trapeze and trimming the jib. If I sit inside, it is a bit heavy, as I cannot take a firm stand against the hull.” His brother stands next to him on the wire. “And I do the center boards”, says Sil. The Grijpma family has lived on Aruba for more than three years. Although the boys have sailing lessons, they prefer the regatta: “It is nicer to compete against other boats.” The boys hope to team up in the future. Rens: “It is my dream to become a good sailor.” The family Prindle finished sixth. It is not a surprise anymore, but Mark Rijks and Brenda Liefhebber won in the small boat fleet.

Zwisterleven Race: Top two fights for the lead
Due to the unstable conditions in the morning, the race committee decided to shorten the long distance course of the afternoon. Wouter Samama and Paul Buyse took revenge and were smoking to the buoy around the southern corner of the island. Their lead was enormous. Booth and Nieuwenhuis thought they were early over the line, returned and started again. They overtook three cats and haunted for Samama/Buyse. The two of them had their private battle, as the rest was far behind. Booth and Nieuwenhuis took over the lead in the last spinnaker lap and won. Buyse: “We went straight after the top mark and continued to the right. Mitch gibed to the left. We needed a second to pull the cunningham line out of the spinnaker block. Mitch gibed again and he got us.” James and Gillian Power are getting closer to the podium. They climbed to a fourth place overall, only one point behind the Dutchmen Samama/Buyse.

Mark Rijks and Brenda Liefhebber finally found some competition, as they were competing against the leading F18’s while reaching. The small cats started ten minutes earlier, but the Dart’s are quick on a reaching lap. Liefhebber: “That was great. We could keep up with them for a long time. At the end, the got us.” Nicolette van Gorp and Ruud van Gisbergen climbed to the second position overall, followed by Thomasch/Hankart.

Tomorrow morning, the competitors will sail the final race of the 16th Aruba Heineken Catamaran Race.

Top five big catamarans after nine races and two discards:
1. NED – F18: Booth/Nieuwenhuis, 10 points
2. GBR – F18: Gummer/Burke, 13 points
3. NED – F18: Samama/Buyse, 27 points
4. GBR – F18: Power/Power, 28 points
5. NED – F18: Moret/Smissaert, 38 points

Top three small catamarans after nine races and two discards:
1. NED – Dart 18: Rijks/Liefhebber, 7 points
2. NED – Dart 18: Van Gorp/Van Gisbergen, 17 points
3. AUT – Dart 18: Thomasch/Hankart, 18 points

In addition to the head sponsors Heineken and Aruba Tourism Authority, the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta is sponsored Hapag Lloyd, TNG Swiss Watches, KLM, Holiday Inn, Does & Cadushi, Yamaha, Setar, Zwitserleven, Patria, Young Improvement, Magic Marine, Coca Cola, AWA, Atlantis Adventures, Anthony Veder & Co, Aruba Watersports Center, Aruba Aloe, Moomba Beach, Kodak, Palm Tours and Pelican Watersports.

Diana Bogaards

Last Updated ( Friday, 17 November 2006 )