F16 Worlds 2013 – Travemünde

This year the F16 Worlds were held in Northern Germany, during the Travemünde Woche. This is a very big sailing event, with a lot of boats and sailors present. Not only the F16 were sailing, also the F18, Tornado, Hobie 16 and many monohull classes. Since our first baby daughter Marie was born on May 25 we knew we wouldn’t sail this event. But as an European dealer for Falcon we decided to be there to provide service, support and spare parts to all the Falcon sailors. We had 8 teams ready to race, learn and get to know each other during the social parts of the event. The teams were a great mixture of youth, mixed crews, 2 men sailing and Geert was also there sailing one-up. Countries represented: Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. In total the event had 32 contestants registered. All F16 brands were represented: AquaRaptor, Bimare, Cirrus, Falcon, Nacra and Viper.

We travelled to Germany a few days before the event. We towed a RIB for the RBSC and we used this RIB to give a training session to the Falcon sailors on the Saturday before the racing started. Also on the Friday evening we had a small informal coaching on racing preparation (wind direction, start procedure, racing rules) and boat preparation.

For us it was a bit weird to be on the other side of the racing scene. Being at such a lovely event with super weather conditions (always sunny, hot and enough wind) but not racing ourselves felt awkward. But it was also for us a nice experience. We had a great time with Marie (8 weeks old), walking along the promenade, watching the sailing from atop a cliff, being there when the sailors got back in the evening and going out to diner all together. 

 There was also a lot of work to do sometimes for us. Since we were the only dealer there with a trailer with parts we had a lot of inquiries on spare parts from all the sailors (not only Falcon) and also some repair work. So sometimes I had some mother/daughter time while Gill was fixing things J

Racing started on Monday with very light wind conditions. 2 teams dominated the fleet: BEL666 (our boat!) with Aurélie and Morgan crewing and SUI001 (Andi and KC!). They took respectively silver and gold that day. Very happy faces on shore that evening! The Travemünde Woche TV interviewed them both and they would be closely watched the next day during the SAP media course. 

This was a very cool way to make sailing more a spectator sport. On Tuesday the F16 could sail the SAP media course, this was a course in front of the beach and all boats got trackers on them and on the beach there was a special SAP area where you could watch the races on a big screen with live commentary from sailing journalists. Normally there was also on board footage (1 video kit on BEL666 and one on our other Youth Team (BEL111)) but unfortunately there were technical problems and the on board filming didn’t work. It was windier this day and Andi and Aurélie were falling down a bit in the ranking. 

Falcon youth team BEL333 (at that time 5th in ranking) was performing very well. We were rooting for them! But then they capsized and helmswoman Marie-Laure dislocated her shoulder L She was immediately brought to shore and luckily one of the dads of another youth team is a doctor and he could put her shoulder back into position. To be sure she needed to go to hospital tough for an x-ray. Gill stayed at the boat park while I drove with Marie and Filip (crew of Marie-Laure) to Lübeck to check on Marie-Laure and to bring her back as soon as possible. We had to endure some patience tough, it was very hectic and chaotic on the ER of this University Hospital and we only could get her released at 6 PM… 

Luckily all was good, no other injuries and no more pain. No more sailing tough for her for the rest of the week. This was a pity, as they were really on fire and high in the ranking at that time. It’s also really sad to drive such a distance and then to be able to sail only 1 day. 
The next day Marie-Laure and Filip joined us for a day watching the racing on top of the cliff.

Filip was very lucky tough to find Emilie, the sister of another youth team and she was willing to crew for him for the next days! And they did very well. In the end they ended on a 19th place, but with a whole day not sailed (there was only 1 discard at this event, with 18 races sailed, so consistency was even more important, every mistake now was really punished).

Hereby an overview of the full results:

Falcon scored a great result at this Formula 16 worlds. Aurélie and Morgan, on BEL 666, took the silver medal home, making them Vice World Champions F16! Well done to both. They were really sailing top notch. At this young age, make sure you watch their future sailing events! They are an RBSC mixed youth team and sailing their first event together. Ruling the fleet in the light to medium wind and just a little less consistent in the higher winds as Aurélie never sailed an F16 before. Both have a lot of monohull experience and this shows. Awesome result!

When we took the initiative together with the sponsors to setup an F16 youth team last year we could have never guessed the results the youths have sailed on this F16 worlds. We started with 3 Falcon F16's and had to convince quite some people this was the way to go, one year later there are more than 10 youth teams competing from Belgium and Holland in the worlds and sailing for top positions, great to see!

We are of course extremely happy with the Falcon performance as well. Winning Belgian, US and Italian titles last year, finishing 2nd, 7th and 8th on the worlds is a great confirmation of what we can achieve.
The 8 Falcon teams sailed 18 races over the 5 days. A great mix of low, medium and high wind conditions over the week ensured the teams with the best overall performance stood out.

Different countries were represented with a different mix of crew weights and configurations: LUX 001 (men - 31st), NED 237 (single handed - 27th), GER 002 (men - 24th), BEL 246 (mixed - 20th), BEL 333 (mixed youth - 19th), SUI 001 (men - 8th), BEL 111 (men youth - 7th), BEL 666 (mixed youth - 2nd).

Read an article on the F16 Worlds at CatsailingNews: http://www.catsailingnews.com/2013/07/formula-16-worlds-2013-travemunde.html

Also some great video footage of this event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNyP06jkO4c

Pictures of this World Championship on our Facebook page: Action pics F16 Worlds

Next events: Belgian and Dutch Nationals! And also of course the Diamond Cup. The first race Gill and I will sail this year, wow! Very excited about that. We'll keep you up to date...


Happy new year, highlights 2012 & Falcon F18 launched...

We wish you a fantastic new year, good health and lots of sunshine and great sailing!

The start of a new year is a great moment to look back to the past year. For us it was a great sailing season with lots of racing and great results for the Falcon F16.

Some of the highlights

The start of the season traditionally is Carnac, France. At the buoyracing the first Falcon finished 4th in tough conditions. The last day the raid was sailed, there youth team Hendrickx/Bols finished 3rd overall!

At the Open Belgian Championships at Oostduinkerke there were 3 days of racing to decide on the Belgian Champion long distance and buoy racing. Also there we were topranked with gold and bronze in the buoy racing and a first place for us in the raid!

Not only in Belgium we had great achievements. In Switzerland and Italy Falcons won the Bol d'Or and took 2nd place at the Italian championship F16. In Florida Falcon youth sailors Jeremy & Sam qualified for ISAF youth worlds. Also there was the battle for the US F16 Nationals. Matt & Gina McDonald took second place and Sarah Newberry and John Casey convincinly took 1st! They are now training for their 2016 Olympic campaign. Support them here:  http://www.usamultihull2016.com

 Canadian Olympic team training on the Falcon

The season in Belgium was closed with the Belgian Youth nationals, with 42 participants a succesful edition! In the F16 class Falcons took 1, 2, 4 and 5.

Launch of the new Falcon F18

Ofcourse we are looking forward to the next season when the newest in the Falcon family will be introduced in Europe: the Falcon F18. Matt McDonald inroduced with the Falcon the only US built F18 and clearly sets a new benchmark in quality for the F18 class. The US debute was in California were 2 Falcon F18's raced in the F18 worlds in Long Beach. Everyone was impressed with both the new features and the built quality! In sneak preview below already some pictures of the F18 in action! More information to come second half of January on our new website!

Want to see more of the F18? Check our Facebook page

Winter promotions at TheBoatShop.be

Eventhough we are not sailing in Belgium, we're full force preparing the new sailing season. If you place your order for a new boat before end of January 2013 you take advantage of our special winter promotions for both the F16 and the F18! Call or mail us for more information!

Photo / Film shoot Falcon Youth Teams

Last Sunday we organised a photo/film shoot for the Belgian Falcon F16 Youth teams. The 3 teams were present and Gill and I were on a rib filming and photographing them. We have hours of film, hundreds of pictures and some bruises from bouncing aroung in the rib while trying to maintain a stable shooting angle :-)

Here is a preview of one of the shots of the team, lined up in an upwind course. More will definately follow, but you'll have to give us some time to edit...

Vintage Trophy RBSC Zoute

A first, but very cool version of a race, organised by RBSC Zoute.

Have a look at the amazing poster they made to announce the race.

Gill and I couldn't particpate in this one because we were sailing the Raid West at our home club, VVW Heist. But Youth Team BEL 222 (Arnout & Klaas) did participate and they won the race. Congratulations to them! Conditions were hard, very tactical racing was needed with an offshore Southerly wind and lots of puffs and lulls. But the sun was out. Very rare these days in Belgium... :-)

Full results:

Raid West VVW Heist

Each season our club organises 2 raids (long distance sailing with a night on the beach included). The first one is Cat Raid East, direction The Netherlands and the second one is Cat Raid West, direction France.

We didn't join in on the first one and for the 2nd one we only had the time free on Saturday so we decided to do half of the Raid. We started on Saturday around noon and we sailed until lunch time at around 2 PM. We had a lovely lunch break on the beach of Wenduine together with another 13 boats!

Me steering :-)

 After lunch 11cats sailed on towards France. We sailed back to Heist, together with 2 other Falcons. Anton and Mathieu sailed with  BEL 777, recently bought, so new to the boat, Simon and Filip (one of our Youth Teams) sailed BEL 333 and Gill and I sailed our BEL 666.

Like always (boys and their toys) everything has to be a competition. So we picked some buoys we had to round on the way back and we made it a race! It was super sailing. Great conditions, Southerly (offshore) winds, so flat water, enough wind to double trap upwind and to trap with the kite up. And the sun was out most of the time. Truely great! We enjoyed this afternoon of sailing. Right before we had to cross the harbour of Zeebrugge (large port with lots of freight traffic, big container boats!), we ended the competion and waited to cross the harbour together.

What do you think of our new spray tops? (Thanks Gina!!!)
Once the harbour crossed, Gill and I decided to switch places and I steered the rest of the way home. A very cool upwind track, cunningham (downhaul) full on, Gill sheeting and the pink girl (thanks Matt & Gina!!) holding the stick :-) Awesome! I loved it. It was sooo easy. You really feel when the boat is trimmed correctly. The rudder felt so light, I could hold it with 1 finger. Very important for a girl ;-)

Kustzeilevent Noordwijk

2 weeks ago Gill and a couple of guys from our Youth Team decided to sail the Kustzeilevent Noordwijk. A race in The Netherlands. Weather forecast did not look good (again very heavy winds predicted) but they decided to try their luck anyway.

Unfortunately no luck... Forces 6 to 7 beaufort meant no sailing at all, for the entire weekend. After having driven the 2 hours to Noordwijk and having waited and rigged the boats, they decided to go out anyway on Sunday for an hour or so. After seeing the Go Pro footage they shot, I am very glad I wasn't there :-)

Gill sailed with Filip on Falcon BEL 333 and Philip & Gaetan sailed on BEL 111. Here's a trailer to make you all very curious to see the whole movie.....

Texel Dutch Open 2012

This was the 2nd year we decided to travel to Texel, The Netherlands to race the Texel Dutch Open and to try to sail Round Texel, a classic big long distance race around the Isle of Texel. Unfortunately this year this race was sheduled very early in the month of June and therefore none of our Youth Teams could participate. Their school results are ofcourse equally important (altough they sometimes don't think so ;-)).

To reduce the costs and to have more fun we decided to travel together with one other Belgian team, Wim Deca, one of our loyal readers (hello Wim!!!) and Gilles Tas, sailing a Nacra Infusion. We rented a holiday house (with a jacuzzi!! (never used it)) and more importantly, free WIFI.

When we arrived on Monday it was really blowing hard, again. What is it with this season and alot of wind? We rigged our boats and watched some boats trying to get out. One of our friends also went out, but had bad luck, a wave caught them on the side, they capsized in the breakers, they tried to right their boat quickly, but the force of the waves was just too much and their mast broke :-(. This was really painfull to watch from ashore. Our hearts broke in sympathy with our friends, not a good start of the week. We all rushed to help them and with joined efforts the boat was quickly out of the water, the crew shaken but OK, and we all helped them back to their trailer. And then they got some well deserved beers, to recuperate a bit...

The next day Gill and I went out together with Wim & Gilles to have a short training session out on the Texel water. A great day, sun, not too much wind (yeah) and great practicing tacks and gybes. I did get a bit sea sick of constantly looking at my watch to tack every 2 minutes :-)

Wednesday was the first day of the Texel Dutch Open. There were 2 starts, one separate start for the Nacra Infusion Worlds and then one start 5 minutes later for the C1 class. So a bit a devided field, but nevertheless great racing. Last year we did very well during the TDO, this year tough we felt a bit dissappointed with our result. Our upwind speed was very good, but downwind we lost places. I didn't feel too comfortable with the waves, it was really a skill to surf of the waves and gain speed. We got 3 races in that day, with varying conditions, not so easy sailing!

Surfing down the waves

That evening we went out with some of the other Falcon sailors (Geert & Raymond from The Netherlands, Andi & Katrin from Switzerland and Sandro & Johannes also from Switzerland/Germany). A very fun night, that reminded us of the good times we had last year at the F16 Worlds in Bordeaux!

On Thursday it was immediately very clear that there would be no racing that day. Very high winds, stormy weather. We had to tighten everything very well and some sailors forgot to do that, so there was some carnage...

Instead we wanted to go Carting, but unlike in Carnac, there was no decent Carting Track. So instead we did some site seeing (big tractors!) and we went back to our house and had a nice elaborate barbeque :-)

Gill, Gilles and Wim enjoying the barbeque!

Friday, 3rd and last day of racing and we got an awesome day of sailing. Sun, wind, flat water, tight racing, we felt great. A bit too great in fact, because our 2nd start of that day got us a Black Flag Disqualification, ouch, we pushed it a bit too hard.


Yiha :-)

By Friday night we already knew that there would be no Round Texel Race on Saturday because - again - of the predictions of too much wind. That night there was a party in the big tent and we had a "dance off" with Chris & Georgina and Raphael & Marcela, Sandro & Katrin,... We really laughed alot, great fun!

So on Saturday indeed no Round Texel and a one-of, for the first time in it's 35 year history the Round was postponed untill Sunday. Unfortunately we did not foresee this in our agenda and we had to be back on Monday for work, so we decided to travel back to Belgium on Saturday, meaning we missed Round Texel again. Gill immediately told me: "this only means we will be back next year, because one day I definately want to sail the Round!" :-D

Round Texel: see you next year!

Gaastra North Sea Series

We had 2 great days of sailing during the Gaastra North Sea Series. Alot of boats, very tight racing. And up untill the last race we were fighting for the first place with Philip. He won.... :-(
Our match racing skills definately need to improve!! ;-)

Some cool pictures:

Let's catch up!

It has been a while since we have posted recent news here. We have been very busy with sailing and training and traveling. But now we're back :-) You are warned: a number of posts of past events will follow shortly one after another. So for a quiet summer reading: sit back and enjoy our stories!

Belgian Nationals

After the first international race in Carnac, now the first national race to measure ourselves against the other Belgian teams.

In total there were 2 titles to win this weekend. The title of Belgian Champion buoy racing and the title Belgian Champion long distance.
Buoy racing was held on Thursday and Saturday, on Friday a long distance race was foreseen.

Show sailing for the sponsor :-) (Christophe Colpaert, Falcon, RBSC/McDonalds).

After the KYC race last weekend we knew what to expect and made sure we were well rested to start the weekend. The meteo for the weekend predicted light and shifty winds, so we prepped for some long and nervous racing.

Day 1 - buoy racing
On the first day 3 races were sailed in, as predicted, light and shifty winds. A lot of current on top of that made tactics extremely important but difficult at the same time.

BEL 111 upwind
We were immediately in the groove and got a good start with about 5 teams in the first race. Throughout the race we managed to get the correct shifts and the 5 got away from the pack. 4 F16 of which 3 Falcons and an F18. In the 3rd round Falcon BEL 222 and the F18 with Anouk & Gilles managed to get away and they finished 1st and 2nd. We were chasing them closely behind but hit a bouy. After the penalty we were still comfortable in 3rd position, but too far away to fight for 1st or 2nd place. Falcon BEL 111 was fighting for 4th or 5th and had to settle with 5th in this race, but well in front of the other F18 and the F20.

Front of the fleet - 3 Falcons, 2 Wildcat
In the second race our start wasn't good and we quickly got caught in the middle of the pack. The 2 Falcon Youth teams got a good start and where battling with the F20 throughout the race. The wind had picked up again and BEL 111 knew where to find it first, finishing well in front of the other teams, BEL 222 was OCS so their great performance didn't pay off this time ...

By the third race most of the teams had found the correct trim and racing was getting closer too each other, with positions changing all the time. On the downwind we lost some ground again, while gaining a lot on the upwind each time. As the wind was still light it was difficult to make the choice to go for pressure or just go straight down to the gate. I guess we didn't make the right calls on the downwind :-)

BEL 222 gybing for the gate
By the end of the day, after 3 races, we managed to be in 3rd position dues to 2 OCS of other teams. BEL 111 in first position. The performance of our youth teams has improved a lot thanks to the intensive training in the RBSC/McDonalds youth team.

Day 2 - long distance
Less competitors during the long distance race or changed configurations. Friday was not an off day for everyone, meaning in our case only 2 Falcons at the start. The race started light again in about 5 to 7 knots, but surprisingly the wind picked up to about 15 knots gusting to more after about an hour into the race.

Long distance start
Our start wasn't good and we were 8th at the upwind mark. After that a downwind run. We managed to catch the first shifts of the building wind and got into 6th at the second mark, less than a minute behind 3 F18, the F20 and the second Falcon.
A long 2 sail reach led us through a gate and 2 buoys. First boats we catched up with were an F18 and a Falcon. Philip sailed with his dad on this occassion and was steering and sheeting. Not used to this we over took him on the reach.

About 1,5 hours into the race we tacked sailing upwind to the coast again. The last races our upwind speed has been awesome and here again we got the trim just right. Building speed in every gust we managed to overtake an F18 leaving just an F18 and F20 in front of us.

Back at the coast we had to return to the starting area on a spin reach to start our second run. Double trapping in these windy and gusty conditions made us feel our boat is 2 feet shorter than the 18. We lowered the risk and single trapped only. The brothers Proot over took us again so we were in 4th by the time we finished the first round.

After about 2 hours into the race we started for the second time the long reach which had become almost an upwind leg. The wind had now clearly built to about 15 knots gusting to 20 and we were able to depower the best giving us the best performance in speed. We overtook the brothers Proot again and went chasing the other 2 boats in front of us.

In the last upwind leg we almost caught up with the F18 and F20 and were about 1 minute behind.
For the final spinnaker reach the wind was even too much for the F18 to twin trap meaning we didn't loose ground anymore here.

Finished third and a rating helping us getting 1st place meant we became Belgian Champions long distance, with Spilleboudt (Wildcat F18) in second, Philip and his dad in third and Proot in 4th.

Day 3 - buoy racing part 2
Final day of the Belgian Nationals.

With low winds again, down to 5 knots, the race officer made the call to go out and race. Happy to be able to drop our worst score but at the same time worrying if we would be able to get some quality racing in.

Eventually 2 races were finished in conditions that were sailable. The finishing order of the 2 final races confirmed the performance of the teams of the first day so the actual scoring didn't change too much. 1st Philip&Gaetan (Falcon), 2nd Proot (Wildcat), 3rd Arnout&Klaas (Falcon), 4th us and we were first mixed team!

Finally big respect to all the youths, coaches and parents that joined the event in all classes! And ofcourse a big thanks to SYCOD for the great races! All winners below.

Belgian Champions C4 buoy racing
Belgian Champions C3 buoy racing
Belgian Champions C1 buoy racing

Belgian Champions C4 long distance

Belgian Champions C3 long distance
Belgian Champions C1 long distance
Photo credits: RBSC/McDonalds