Home » Sailing » EFG Sailing Arabia: Team Delft gears up for podium place

EFG Sailing Arabia: Team Delft gears up for podium place

EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014. (Credit Oman Sail)

EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014. (Credit Oman Sail)

A young amateur team from the Netherlands skippered by a 25 year old is gearing up for a challenge against some of the world’s top professional sailors lining up for the prestigious annual Gulf coast challenge EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour in February by declaring they are determined to take a podium place.

A young amateur team from the Netherlands skippered by a 25 year old is gearing up for a challenge against some of the world’s top professional sailors lining up for the prestigious annual Gulf coast challenge EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour in February by declaring they are determined to take a podium place.

Skipper Kay Heemskerk and his Team Delft finished fourth in their maiden entry in last year’s event but say they are already training hard in their mission for top honours in the region’s only long distance offshore sailing event taking place from 9 – 24 February 2014.

“This means we have to finish on the podium between top-level professional sailors like Bertrand Pacé and Sidney Gavignet. We have some new crew in the team and have started training together. I hope this will be visible in our results,” said a determined Heemskerk of his ambitions for the 15 day 760 nautical mile challenger from Bahrain to Oman.

Launched in 2011 by Oman Sail to reignite the region’s rich maritime heritage, promote sailing as a sport and highlight the area as a sought after tourism destination the unique event calls at eight world class marinas in four nations, from Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to finish in Oman’s beautiful capital city, Muscat.

Heemskerk says he loves the intensity and variety of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour as it provides a great mix of fast and exciting inshore races at selected ports of call as well as gruelling long distance offshore legs.

“I like to compete against other teams in two different ways of sailing, inshore and offshore. The other aspect I like is the opportunity to compete against professional sailors.”

He said a highlight for Team Delft in SATT 2013 was winning the offshore Leg 6 to Mussannah with a lead of 14 nautical miles.

“But our most memorable experience was screaming down the waves, hitting 17 knots while sending our boat downwind in Leg 3 to Abu Dhabi. It was really cool!

“Participating in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour is not only a sporting challenge. It is an epic adventure through the breathtakingly beautiful Arabic waters,” said Heemskerk who learnt to sail as a 10 year old in Optimist dinghies and has since become an accomplished multi-hull and keelboat sailor.

He rates EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour along with Tour de France à la Voile as his favourite, most challenging events of the many he has competed in so far. He finished fourth as an amateur in last year’s Tour de France.

EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour is contested in identical high performance Farr 30 one-design keelboats and attracts some of the world’s best sailors.

Issa Al Ismaili, Oman Sail Event Director said EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour was recognized as a world class event and had rapidly become one of the most sought-after warm winter regattas on the international sailing calendar.

In just three years the event has established the Middle East as an exceptional international yacht racing destination with unbeatable sailing conditions and local talent grown from centuries of sailing heritage. It gives us and our international competitors a rare tour of some great nations and first class in port facilities.

“It is an alluring showcase of everything the Gulf has to offer in terms of state-of-the-art facilities, tourism and culture. It offers an exceptional opportunity to experience a fascinating mix of ancient traditions and modern sophistication.”

Team Delft crew list
1. Kay Heemskerk, 25 years old, Dutch
2. Leon Boerop, 22 years old, Dutch
3. Dominique Smit, 20 years old, Belgium
4. Wouter Sonnema, 19 years old, Dutch
5. Coen Bouhuys, 22 years old , Dutch
6. Jochem Nonhebel, 23 years old,Dutch
7. Robert-Jan Kentgens, 21 years old, Dutch

By Daphne Morgan Barnicoat, Oman Sail


More news