There was no racing on the first day of this year's Dart 18 Worlds and Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta. The strong offshore breeze gusted up to 37 knots, which kept the cat sailors ashore. A total of 37 teams entered the Dart 18 Worlds and another fifteen the annual Aruba Heineken Regatta. Although there was no practice race today, the competitors could warm up in the swim contest with TNG Watches and Zwitserleven jackets as special prizes.
Former winner of the Aruba Regatta, John Moret (NED), and his crew Paul Smissaert (NED) tested the windy conditions. They hoisted the spinnaker after leaving the beach, but it did not take long for them to nosedive their F18. “This had nothing to do with sailing”, admitted Moret afterwards. “The wind and angles were bizarre. We also had difficulties to upright the boat.”
“I wish I was out there now”, said Matthias Huber from Germany, while watching the Dutchmen trying their luck on the Caribbean Sea. The German Dart 18 Champion 2008 and European Champion of 1998 likes the strong breeze: “In these circumstances I would be better than three quarter of the fleet.” He finished eleventh at last year's Dart 18 Worlds in the Netherlands, so his goal is to improve that result.
According to the weather forecast for tomorrow, it will be again windy. However, the Portuguese duo Fransisco Merlo and Antonio Jesvino is optimistic: “The wind will get tired of blowing eventually. This is the Caribbean.”
After yesterday's traditional opening ceremony with Aruban dancers, the Beach BBQ Party at Moomba's is awaiting the sailors this evening.
In addition to the title sponsors Aruba Tourism Authority and Heineken Aruba NV, this year's Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta and Dart18 World Championships are also supported by Martinair, GILS Worldwide, Setar, Holiday Inn, Does & Cadushi, Tropical Bottling Company, Coca Cola, AWA, Aruba Aloë, VR Shipping, Aruba Watersports Center, Palm Tours, Pelican Watersports, Seaworld Explorer, Moomba, Zwitserleven, TNG, Patria and AMI Kappers.