Zuiderbaan is one of the greatest sailors in the Netherlands © Dutch Match Cup
Lelystad, Netherlands (19th August 2014): The Batavia Sailing Center, organiser of the Dutch Match Cup, the fifth Stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship, awarded a wildcard to Klaartje Zuiderbaan today. Zuiderbaan is the reigning Dutch Match Racing Champion and has a serious ambition to play a part in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
The Batavia Sailing Center is backing her ambitions. An extraordinary fact is that Zuiderbaan's is a women only team and they will race against all male teams. Zuiderbaan will also sail the Batavia Regatta on 23 and 24 August as preparation for the Dutch Match Cup. This ISAF Grade 3 event is the official qualifier for the Dutch Match Cup. First and second place at the Batavia Regatta will also win an invite to the Dutch Match Cup.
After the wildcard for Dirk-Jan Korpershoek was awarded, this is the second Dutch team that will take part in the Dutch Match Cup. Zuiderbaan is one of only a few Dutch sailors who has some experience on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. She participated in the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda making it through their qualifying event and eventually finished eighth out of the sixteen teams. The ONK in Lelystad of this year has been the start of a new path, in which Zuiderbaan assembled her new team consisting of Mijke Lievens, Lena Koter, Anne-Christianne Kentgens en Suzanne Leinders. With this team, Zuiderbaan recently sailed the WIMSeries in Vannes where she was second only to the women's world number one team of Camilla Ulrikkholm. Participating in the Dutch Match Cup mean Zuiderbaan and her team will face the world’s best matchracers including reigning ISAF World Champion Taylor Canfield, quadruple ISAF World Champion Ian Williams and the Americas Cup team Prada skippered by Francesco Bruni. For these men it will be quite the experience to race against a women’s only team as well. The rules allow a team of up to five women or four for a mixed or men only team. The organisation of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is very supportive of a women’s team and are looking forward to seeing Zuiderbaan battle it out with the other teams.
Zuiderbaan is one of the greatest sailors in the Netherlands, as a coach she is particularly successful as well. During the Olympic Games she coached her team in the Sonar Class to a gold medal. Her tactical insight is of an exceptional level, something that really helps in her role as a match racer. With the venue on her doorstep Zuiderbaan will take the opportunity to train in the Maxfun 25's, the boats used for the Dutch Match Cup, in the coming weeks to sharpen her skills.
According to Alex Hoeve of the Batavia Sailing Center, Team Zuiderbaan has a realistic shot at a high place finish at the Dutch Match Cup: “Obviously, the other teams on the Alpari Tour are extremely experienced and really good sailors. However, Klaartje’s team has a great opportunity to excel. Mostly because we sail a great deal in the Maxfun 25, a relatively small but very sportive boat, it will be interesting to see if the other teams can keep up. The Alpari teams are used to bigger boats, but with the smaller boats, being agile and insight are far more important. Aside from this, she spends more hours in the boats than anyone. For the other teams the Maxfun 25 is pretty much unknown and it will take them time to learn the tricks to make it go fast. I was very impressed with how she won the Dutch Match Racing Championship earlier this year."
And Zuiderbaan herself? She is extremely excited to race at the highest level: “I’m thrilled with the wild card for the Dutch Match Cup. I’m very curious to see the level of my competitors. It’s amazing that the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is coming to the Netherlands so that Dutch teams can also participate at this high level. The Dutch Match Cup will definitely stimulate the Dutch sailors. Ever since the ONK we already sailed a few women’s matches, in which we really improved our skills. Our team is a beautiful combination of experience and young talent. We see the Batavia Regatta as an important preparation for the Dutch Match Cup”, explained Zuiderbaan.
The final two invites will be made from the Batavia Regatta over the weekend of 24-25 August and the Dutch Match Cup itself will be held from 24-28 September in Lelystad, following straight on from the Chicago Match Cup the week before. 12 teams will take part in a Qualifying round with the winner going straight to the Semi Finals. The next 6 teams will go to the Quarter Finals which will then be followed by Semi Finals and Finals. All knockouts will be raced as first to three points. Racing will be held in front of Batavia Haven with spectacular views from the marina wall and plenty of on-shore activities to keep spectators busy.