2019 has scarcely begun – and yet we can already bring you the news that world-champion sailers Annette Duetz and Annemiek Bekkering have triumphed in their first competition of the season! More on that below… but this is an exciting year for the sailors as they bid to represent their country in the 2020 Olympics. In previous blogs about the duo we’ve learned a little bit about Annemiek – so before this year’s action gets fully underway let’s meet Annette:
25 year old Annette shares accommodation with her sister and friend in Amsterdam. In spite of the fact she didn’t grow up near the sea, she inherits her interest in boats from her parents who are themselves keen sailors of the 470 Class of dinghy – a craft in which they both competed at the very highest level of the sport …Annette’s mother Marion Bultman took part in the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988.
Childhood holidays in a lakeside house in Friesland allowed Annette to spend weekends and summer holidays on the water whenever the weather was good, sailing together with her older sister Carolien. When the girls outgrew the performance capabilities of their Optimist and Splash, it was time to have some fun with the super-fast, directionally-unstable, 29er! ‘At last – a cool boat!’ Annette remembers thinking …even though in the early days of learning to sail that boat they spent a lot of time swimming!
The time had come to get some proper training – and it was then that Annette’s sailing career really began. By the time Carolien went to University, the girls had learned to handle their flighty boat – but it was a new partnership with her friend Max that taught her about sailing strategy.
Her new skills eventually earned her a Bronze medal at the ISAF (now World Sailing) youth world championship …which was her first big win.
Annette began trying the 49erFX – the boat she now sails with partner Annemiek Bekkering – in 2012. Once the two sportswomen had sailed together – they decided to stick together …finding that the arrangement ‘worked our pretty well‘. (That kind of modesty is typical from the formidable world champions we so much enjoy watching – Annette and Annemiek!)
As mentioned in the introduction, this year they have already won both stages of the Portugal Grand Prix (14th – 17th February). The conditions were so rough and windy that the first day of racing was cancelled. The following three days saw 36 teams taking to the water as big waves rolled in – and still plenty of wind. These are the conditions that Annette and Annemiek like best. They have had plenty of experience in boisterous seas and put it to good use – particularly on day three – smoothly controlling their craft over the waves, and managing to avoid capsize in strong winds on each turn to win both stages. ‘It was a real adventure!’ Says Annette.
When she is not on the water training or competing; Annette is studying for a master’s in Applied Physics. Enough said.
We at Victron are proud to sponsor both Annette, and her teammate Annemiek, and look forward to hearing more about the exciting schedule of competitions they have lined up for the 2019 season – next up: a training regatta in Palma in March. Stay tuned!