Twenty eight teams competed in the sixth edition of the regatta hosted at Surfside Beach in Oranjestad harbor,a little bay at the end of the International Airport Runway, which is also the entry to the lagoon area where most yachts are to be found. This year in addition to the Optimists, Sunfish, Beach Cats, Keelboat Yachts, Kitesurfers and Windsurfers, the event even included the “micro yachts” that are a popular sport tradition amongst Arubans, who build some creative craft in three class sizes and bring a special flavor to the event. Fourteen micro boat captains participated with several boats each. With more than 100 sailors in other classes, this put over100 sails on the water.
Windward/leeward courses of six miles, designed by race director Anthony Hagedoorn, ensured fast tactical racing with crews negotiating currents, changing wave patterns and shifting, variable winds. The strong winds tested many of the crews but all participants reported enjoying the best Aruba Regatta ever. Challenging sailing conditions along with great ambiance ashore and a display of beautiful home-built boat exposition kept hundreds of sailing enthusiasts happy.
Veteran Sunbelt Realty Dash, from Curaçao, skippered by Remco van Dortmondt stormed to victory taking the the coveted Budget Marine Cup, whille Nawati with Captain Werner Haan finished second. The Aruban team of Ocean 505, skippered by Maurice Hagedoorn, finished third. In the open class Eva Luna, sailed by regatta founders Eric and Anita Mijts and crew, took first place and finished second overall. The strongest competition in open class came from Curaçao with Captain Hans van der Straaten’s Venus Callipyge, and Melody, skippered by Winfried Merkies who finished in second and third place respectively.
First place in beach cat class went to the father and son team of Rob and Sil Grijpma, they outwitted second place finishers Francis Grijpma (yep, the mother) and Henk Steenbergen, and Patrick Melchiors and Frank van Kan who finished third.
In Sunfish class, Richard van der Wal (Aruban champion) won ahead of Robbie Ferron, our very own Budget Marine founder, and Randy Brown.
Optimist II class saw Alexander van der Velde finished ahead of Vivian Hankart and Tijn Hartmans. The win in Optimist I class went to Jort Hartmans with Luna Upegui and Enric Braamskamp finishing second and third respectively. The youngest Optimist sailing class was won by Feike Benega who beat Lucas van Hest and Sophie Dings.
A big congratulations to all participants and the winners particularly from Budget Marine!