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Dutch Team Head for the Hills

Rob / 20.06.2003See All Event Posts Follow Event
The Hellefix Team
The Hellefix Team
It was a chance conversation at Cowes Week that led to the Dutch entry, Hellefix, in this year’s race. The idea of the race caught the imagination of Skipper Bart Schweitzer and despite the fact his crew have no experience of sailing in conditions similar to those on the West Coast of Britain, and there are not too many mountains in Holland to train on, they are in Barmouth ready to race.

Defending skipper Geoff West remembers being beaten by Hellefix at Cowes and said the X412 could be very quick. Skipper, Bart Schweitzer, did say he was worried about the treacherous passage of the Menai Strait and Rob Barel added, “We’re not used to dealing with complex tides either.� Standing in the sun at Barmouth they didn’t seem too concerned though. “Do you like our flag�, Schweitzer said, pointing at the Welsh dragon flying off the back of Hellefix.

Asked, “How do you train or the mountain running?� the team just laughed. “We go out running,� said Barel, “and though we are not used to the mountains we just have to keep going and get round. We’ve all run outside Holland in competitions as well.� He was being very modest as one of his ‘runs’ was in the triathlon at the Sydney Olympics and he’s a former World and 7 times European triathlon champion. He has also worked on course planning at some of the world’s major adventure racers, including the Mild Seven Outdoor Quest. His team members have completed a few runs as well, Jack Kamminga has run 30 marathons, Lucas Untied 11 and Peter Homan 15, so they should be able to go the distance!

The Dutch entry may lack experience of the race and of mountain running, but they may yet be surprise contenders, both for the lead and the Tilman Trophy.

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