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Southern Spars

Zwitserleven Round Texel Race 2011 skippers feel the pressure

by Diana Bogaards on 17 Jun 2011
Full action at 2010 Zwitserleven Sailing Week 2010 Claire Matches © http://www.clairematches.com
Zwitserleven Round Texel Race, the world's biggest catamaran race, is the highlight of the Zwitserleven Sailing Week 2011 which starts on Monday 20 June 20.

The pressure is heating up for the Zwitserleven Round Texel on Saturday 25 June 2011, especially for those who are aiming for the line honors (first finish) and who have been busy with innovative changes. Some are secret, others public, such as the 12 meters long mast on the M20 carbon cat of John Moret and Danny Radelaar.

There are currently 348 pre-entries, representing 13 countries. Among them are world class crews, Olympic and America's Cup sailors.

There are candidates who focus completely on finishing first. Xander Pols (NED) and done that twice before and his occasional crew Sascha Larsen (NED) once before. They will line up with their new Nacra carbon 20. They can expect fierce competition from the former line honours winner Peter Vink (NED) and Sven Laaf (NED) or the brothers Hans and Ronald Bouscholte. They all sail a Nacra carbon 20 with curved dagger boards.

The teams on the M20 feel the pressure of the new 20-footers and have started experimenting. Moret and Radelaar extended their mast and carry an 8 square feet larger spinnaker (a total of 33 square meters). Now they pray for light winds. Vink: 'They will have a big chance in light conditions up to force 3 but not with anything above. They cannot compete with the Nacra carbon 20.' Record Holders Herbert Dercksen (Naarden) and Mark Bulkely (GBR) make another attempt to take their pimped Extreme 20 (M20) first to the finish of the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race, just like the British William Sunnucks (line honours in 2009) and Oliver Egan on the M20.

World class F18 sailors hunt for handicap victory
The F18 class will bring strong favourites for the overall victory. Mischa Heemskerk (NED) and Bastiaan Tentij (NED) are in shape. They have already won Eurocat, the first international showdown of the season. On Whitsun Monday they finished second in the Scheveningen North Sea Regatta, after Darren Bundock (AUS) and Jeroen van Leeuwen (NED). However, this duo won't be at Texel. The 2009 F18 World Champions, Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser from the Netherlands, are at strength as well. They finished third in Scheveningen. For former Olympian Pim Nieuwenhuis (NED) the Zwitserleven Sailing Week 2011 will be his last F18 event for a while, as he will focus on his job at Team China (challenger America's Cup). He sails with Ferdinand van West (NED). Other favourites are Gunnar Larsen (NED) and Sam Frank (NED), who took the last podium position at the 2011 Eurocat.

Mixed teams
For the 2016 Olympics the mixed multihull is a new event. After the decision was made, the world's biggest cat race followed with the introduction of a separate ranking for mixed teams. Strong competitors former Olympians Carolyn Brouwer (NED) and Wouter Samama (NED) join forces on the F16 Viper. Elke Delnooz (NED) and Mark Gering (NED) form an experienced duo that is performing well in the F18 field.

Now that the Dutch Olympic match race team will not travel to the Kieler Woche, due to the EHEC bacteria, Merel Witteveen (NED) has some spare time for other activities. The silver medalist from Beijing, along with her brother Olivier Witteveen, makes a debut in the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race. Witteveen: 'I've always had fun with F18-sailing. These are big fields and it is great to sail with my brother. That is really why I'm participating.'

After nine years there will come an end the sponsorship marriage between Zwitserleven and the Round Texel Race. This is the last edition that carries the name of this inspiring and enthusiastic sponsor. Zwitserleven will shift its focus. The memories of playful actions of early morning beach decorating with red sofas, bean bags and hammocks remain. The co-operation with Communications Manager Eliot Schuchart and his team was enjoyable. 'We are grateful for the beautiful years we had together with Zwitserleven, ' said Edwin Lodder, Round Texel co-ordinator. Zwitserleven will remain active for several years as a sub sponsor to secure the future of the event.

The Zwitserleven Sailing Week brings together multiple championships and races. The entire event will commence on Monday 20 June with the World Cup Slalom Windsurfing and Nacra Championships, including the official 2011 Nacra Infusion Worlds. The Nacra races last until Wednesday morning because that afternoon the Dutch Open Catamaran Championship begins. The Dutch Catamaran Champions will be crowned on Friday 24 June. In addition, the short track races will take place on Wednesday until Friday. For the recreational sailors there are tours on Thursday and Friday. The wind surfers have their finals on Saturday 25 June, the day on which hundreds of catamarans will sail around Texel.

The entire Zwitserleven Sailing Week can be followed via the website
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