Photos: Claire Matches

Styles up to second

Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaa Tentij lead the Zwitserleven Dutch Open Catamaran Sailing Open

Thursday June 17th 2010, Author: Diana Bogaards, Location: Netherlands

Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaan Tentij (NED) have taken the lead at the Zwitserleven Dutch Open Catamaran Sailing today. A severe northeasterly combined with high waves made for perfect sailing and surfing conditions on the North Sea along the Texel coast. The catamarans sailed three races and the slalom wind surfers completed five elimination rounds.

Heemskerk and Tentij, the ruling Dutch F18 champions, were in great shape today. Just like Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser (NED), but the last two crossed the starting line prematurely twice. As a result they scored a black flag and an OCS. Combined with the two disqualifications of yesterday, the championship of these two F18 World Champions is over.

Heemskerk and Tentij did get the time right at the start and won the first to races. Tentij explained: "Everyone is sailing fast. We were third at the top mark twice, but we managed to find our way to the front."

The third race was less successful. After a bad start, Heemskerk and Tentij tacked to the right side of the course. "Oscar Zeekant was ahead of us and we weren't sure if he was on the layline for the top mark. We tacked earlier than him, but near the buoy six boats came in from the left. Two of them tacked right above us. Consequently we missed the mark. Mischa decided wisely to gibe away. Eventually we were the fifteenth boat to come around. By sailing efficiently on the course, we managed to get back to the third position." To the question whether he's looking forward to sailing the Zwitserleven Round Texel in these conditions on Saturday, he answers: 'Yes, finally time to go tough."

Bronze medalists at the 2009 F18 Worlds, Hugh Styles and Ferdinand van West are only sailing their second event of this season. Despite the fact that they feel 'a bit rusty', they still perform consistently. Today, they scored a series of 2-6-4, elevating them to second overall, followed by the Dutch duo Willem Geijssen and Rico van Capelle. Styles: "The team starts to come together again. At times we are really quick and we manage to keep our heads out of the boat. Now we compete at 75-80% of our capacity. There is more speed and boat handling to come. So far, so good."

The third victory went to Darren Bundock and Wouter Samama. Multiple Tornado and F18 World Champion Bundock said: "We were the only ones to start at the pin end, and after that, we had already won it." During the first two heats, the team didn't arrive at the starting line in time, so those two were lost. The two helmsmen are sailing together for this race. According to double Olympic Tornado silver medallist Bundock, his Dutch crew improves every lap. "On Saturday, he will be perfect. The boat has a lot of potential." According to him Oliver Backes  and Coen de Koning stand a good chance at the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race. "Coen and Thijs are going fast. They are sailing really well and making up distance in all corners."

Girl power

'It's good fun", said Liz Wardley after another wild day on the North Sea. Wardley is crewing for Carolijn Brouwer on the F16 Viper. The girls are bravely facing the 'big boys conditions' and currently in ninth position overall. Wardley: "We can't point as high as the F18s in this breeze, which gives us bad air sometimes. We certainly miss some weight, but I am impressed how well we do in comparison to the F18's."

Wardley learned how to sail on a Hobie 16 and then continued in ocean racing. Wardley and Brouwer were teammates on Amer Sports Too in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race. "Ever since then we tried to do a cat event together. A perfect opportunity came when Carolijn started with the F16. We will do the F16 Europeans on Lake Como as well."

Record attempt

Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser will make on a record attempt around Texel tomorrow between noon and 1300. The time to beat is the one-year-old record of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 2 seconds, set by Herbert Dercksen (NED) and Mark Bulkeley (GBR). If they succeed, the Dutchmen will win the TNG Round Texel Award.

There are three more races scheduled for the Zwitserleven Dutch Open Cat Sailing 2010. In the afternoon, the program continues with the spectacular TNG Short Track Races.

Top five Zwitserleven Dutch Open Catamaran Sailing after five races and one discard:

1. NED, Heemskerk/Tentij, F18 Hobie Wild Cat, 7 points
2. GBR, Styles/Van West, F18 Nacra Infusion, 13 points
3. NED, Geijssen/Van Capelle, F18 Nacra Infusion, 13 points
4. NED, Booth/Nieuwenhuis, F18 Hobie Wild Cat, 18 points
5. GBR, Wilson/Lynch, F18 Shockwave, 21 points

Full results here

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