The fifth edition of the Aruba International Regatta drew competitors from Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and of course Aruba to the new regatta location in Oranjestad Aruba. With about 50 sails on the water and some 100 participants, this regatta is proving that Aruba has a growing and healthy sailing scene. The weather conditions in Aruba’s beautiful sailing waters were optimal for close competition during the 52 races that were held in the harbor of the capital of Aruba.
This year, the annual Budget Marine Cup was not awarded to a single ship or competitor but to the Foundation Youth Sailing Aruba, a sailing school that is dedicated to teaching the 7 – 14 year old about the safety and fun of sailing. They were awarded this cup in recognition of the successful effort they make to promote safe sailing in Aruba. The Optimist 1 class was won by Jort Hartmans, followed by Danique Prins and Tjerk Prinsen. In the Optimist 2 class the win was for Jesper Prins, followed by Tijn Hartmans and Timon Prins.
The competition in the yacht class was fierce. Sailing yacht Dash from Curaçao, skippered by Remco van Dortmondt, prolonged last year’s title as fastest yacht of the fleet, followed by SV Nawati from Bonaire with captain Werner Haan. These two yachts managed to outwit the local knowledge of the Aruban yacht La D’ing with captain Henk Werner who took the third place. The new upwind – downwind courses of only 6 miles designed by race director Anthony Hagedoorn ensured fast tactical races where participants had to dodge currents, deal with windshifts and variable winds.
In the Beach Cat class the competition was even closer than in the yachting class: Diederik Kamerling and Henk Hankart beat Aat Hoek and Theo Kok after five races with only one point’s difference, followed immediately by Frenk van Kan and Patrick Melchiors. The sunfish class was won by the Aruban champion Richard van der Wal, followed by Ton Nuijten from Bonaire and Robbie Ferron from St Maarten.
In the windsurfing classes, a double win was for Jean Paul da Silva, a promising windsurfer from Curaçao who won both the downwind slalom and the long distance in the Junior division, Ethan Westera from Aruba did the same in the Super Junior division.
The atmosphere of the event is best described in an email that was sent by the race director of the Aruba International Regatta, Anthony Hagedoorn, to the founder of the event, Eric Mijts. Anthony says:
“I have to admit, when you told me the regatta was going to be held at Surf Side Beach, I thought there was no way we could get proper courses designed for all the classes, especially for the yachts as far as keeping them in deep and safe water. But after playing around with course possibilities on Google Earth, I began to realize that it was in fact, the perfect location for our venue. The feedback we received was nothing short of amazing. From the Optimist class, the people from SIWA, the kids and parents who were cheering on with the sailing action right before them in a safe environment. The Sunfish Class participants were very happy with the location and the courses. Theo Poiesz and Richard van der Wal, veterans from the Aruba Sunfish Club came to me personally to thank and congratulate me. Robbie Ferron from Budget Marine mentioned that the organization was of very high caliber and could not remember the last time he had so much fun in a regatta. That coming from him, says a lot to me and is something we can both be very proud of. The beach cats were in general happy with the courses, especially the long distance course and the location. They mentioned the rolling waves on shore at Eagle Beach made it difficult to launch and retrieve the boats in the past years. I agree and we’ll see more of them next year. And among the yachts, one particular crewmember from the Dash from Curacao said, and I quote: “better than the Bonaire Regatta” Imagine that! They were happy with the level of the event, the short but still challenging courses and the fact that everything from the marina where they made berth, the apartment where they stayed and the location of the regatta was all within walking distance.”
Next year, the Aruba International Regatta will take place on August 8, 9 and 10. Note down the dates in your agenda for a regatta where sailing is the main ingredient! Visit www.aruba-regatta.comor facebook for more information.