Ben van der Steen leaves Loft Sails
Ben van der Steen (Ned-57) is one of the fastests Slalom sailors on the course. He has the potential to win a worldtitle and beat the much experienced older racers like Antoine Albeau, Björn Dunkerbeck or Micah Buzianis. “Benny” made it 4 times within 2 seasons into the second place of a single event, two times in third and finished the 2011 tour in third position overall. After two successful seasons sailing with Loft Sails, he has decided to leave the company and signed a contract with Gaastra. Read more about his decision and plans for 2013.
C7: What surprising news! You are going to leave Loft Sails and change to Gaastra. What’s the reason for that step?
Ben van der Steen: It hass been great racing on the Lofts, but the negotiations didn’t run smoothly, so it was time for change. I was looking for a bit more of a long term thing to really work with a brand without the stress at the end of the season and with Gaastra we found a solution for a longer term agreement together with very good sails and this is the path to follow for me for the coming years.
C7: There are only a few sailors out there, who know more about equipment than you? Has Gaastra a racing sail, which is amongst the best on the market or is there a lot of work waiting for you?
Ben van der Steen: I have tested the the 2013 designs and they will be among the best out there. I am sure that these sails have a lot of potential to do well and win. For the 2014 Vapor I will be involved closely with the Gaastra R&D team.
C7: Loft Sails was one of the topbrands on the race course last year and you for sure were responsible for that success, too. Isn’t it hard to leave now, at this moment, when the product seems to be perfect and the success is on?
Ben van der Steen: It’s hard to leave, but we all have to move on in life and Loft was looking to move on in a different direction then I was and therefore I had to make some tough choices, but in the end I am very happy to join Gaastra and work with Ross and Cedric, some of my good friends on tour.
C7: Tarifa is Loft. You actually live in Tarifa. Will you stay there?
Ben van der Steen: Well, Tarifa is not loft but Monty is!! Yes I live in Tarifa which is a very nice place to live and train and I will stay here to do so.
C7: Isn’t it strange to meet your former teammates on the beach, like Ludo or Monty and you are not part of it anymore or is it just the game you have to play in a small business to guarantee the income for your family?
Ben van der Steen: It’s not strange to see the guys on the beach, we are still friends, but with the windsurfing business being year to year contracts most of the time it’s and open market. For me it’s different now, it was a lot of testing for Loft and actually now I have more time to concentrate on my own equipment and I think this is a good thing for me to take more time to tune and test my racing stuff.
C7: 2013 looks like an exciting season for you. On the one hand you are competing on a new sailbrand, on the other hand you will become father? Excited?
Ben van der Steen: Very excited for both, looking forward to the baby being born in March and this is also a good motivation to do even better on the racecourse. I am looking very much forward to hit the racing with the new Gaastra sails and start working with the guys on the new designs.
C7: The PWA tourplan is not released yet, but we can expect similar events like in 2013. Are you happy with that or would you wish to have more events and more strong wind events?
Ben van der Steen: I am happy with all events the more the better and with any wind conditions . The Starboards are working very well everywhere and the new Gaastra Vapor will be smoking in all conditions,too.
C7: How and where will you prepare for 2013?
Ben van der Steen: I will be preparing in Tarifa and will go for a short visit to Vietnam to do some testing for Starboard. Mostly I will be sailing around Tarifa testing and tuning up my slalom and maybe even my Speed and Formula gear.
C7: You for sure watched the speed event at Luderitz. Do you plan to participate in 2013, if the channel will be open again?
Ben van der Steen: I will look into it for sure I love speed and this year I couldn’t go as I had an injury on my foot, which only just has gotten better. But the outright world record set by Sailrocket we will not touch for a while .
C7: What are your wishes for 2013?
Ben van der Steen: My wishes are for the baby to be healthy and to have a good season with lots of racing.
C7: Good luck for you, your girlfriend, the baby and the 2013 season.
© continentseven.com 2013