Sailor of the Week: Dec. 31 - Jan. 6
The 2009 sailing year was remarkable for Melges 32 class standout, Pieter Taselaar. The Dutch native, who lives in Scarsdale, N.Y., captured four major regattas, including the Audi Melges 32 World Championship in September.
Taselaar and crew, aboard Bliksem, finished first out of 29 boats in the regatta held in Sardinia, Italy. They were one of three teams representing the U.S. Team Taselaar started out on a positive note by winning the Acura Miami Grand Prix in March. They followed this effort up with a pair of wins at the Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series regattas in Scarlino and Cagliari.
“A lot of our success last year had to do with preparation, teamwork, and avoiding the big mistake,” explained Pieter. “We stayed cool under pressure as a team and sailed consistent races.”
Pieter has high expectations for 2010, as he looks forward to a busy racing season ahead. He plans on sailing Melges 32 regattas in both Europe and the U.S., including the world championship in San Francisco. For the foreseeable future, Pieter would like to try his hand in offshore racing like the Transpac or Sydney to Hobart Race.
Pieter loves the flexibility the racing sailor has. “I think this is what is so exciting about sailing. You can find your own level and do it in a family setting or professional setting; in dinghies or in 60-footers; alone or with a big team.”
Pieter has added a fun twist to his team this year. His daughters, Amanda (18) and Claudia (14), will both crew on Bliksem at the Primo Cup in Monte Carlo. “I can’t tell you how excited we all are about this,” Pieter added. “It gives them [daughters] an opportunity to sail with some of the best sailors in the world. Our team will get a get a new perspective on racing as well. Having two young family members on board will give it a different atmosphere.”
Pieter has been sailing ever since his father put him in a sailboat when he was four-years-old. His father was a successful racer in The Netherlands, having won several major championships in Dutch national classes. Pieter feels fortunate to be able to pass this love for sailing on to his daughters.
Pieter remains grounded throughout his successes and future endeavors. “I think it is important to keep having fun and sail with people you respect, trust and like.”