British youngsters lead Texel Dutch Open Catamaran Sailing Championship after two races

The Texel Dutch Open Catamaran Sailing Championship started calmly yesterday in a north-north-west wind and bright sunshine. A total of 53 teams started including British F18 youth team of Simon Kearns and Ben Burns who now leads the fleet after two races. Jorgen Kerstens and Paul Smissaert are in second position with their M20, followed by Jan and Stuart Visser on a iF20. At the end of the afternoon, the cats were surfing the rolling waves in the light conditions on their way back to the beach.

Kearns (20) and Burns (19) called today’s conditions ‘tricky and unpredictable’. “Luck was one part of it, but you also had to keep your eyes open,” said Kearns. The boys started with a bullet and are leading the fleet after day one. It is their first year on a Hobie Tiger in the Formula 18 class. They participate at the British catamaran training programme for youth and started on the Hobie 16. They won silver at the 2004 Youth Europeans Hobie 16 with spinnaker in Belgium.

They have no specific goal for their first Zwitserleven Round Texel Race which starts this Saturday but they do have an ambition: “It would be great to finish among the big names. And we are looking forward to the start, since we have heard a few stories about that.”

The fleet started on the edge in the second race, which caused general recalls. Finally, the race committee put up the black flag and seven teams were disqualified. Whereas the sun-worshippers had a good time on the beach, the participants challenged the surf at the end of the afternoon.

Meanwhile, the normally quiet beach at Paal 17 has changed into a catamaran village with party tent, brand-new offices of De Meeuw and a pit lane. From tomorrow evening until 11 June 11, TROS will broadcast live from this location. During the Zwitserleven Round Texel Week several artists will perform. This year’s pit lane is bigger and is more professional. The big television screen has also returned to the beach for a semi-live report during the race on Saturday. The Texel Dutch Open championship will continue today with two more races. The traditional Horstocht to the southern point of Texel is scheduled for the afternoon.