Falcon teams @ F16 Europeans, Italy 2015

Only 1 more week until the start of the F16 Europeans in Cesenatico Italy. 11 Falcon teams will be there and we would like to introduce them all to you. We have teams from Belgium (3), France (2), Switzerland (3), Germany (1), The Netherlands (1) and Australia (1). Mixed teams, 2 solo riders and an all-male and an all-female team, they are all in the mix.

Let’s start with the all-female team of Kim-Anne and Chiara. A new team to the boat, this all-female youth team will need to battle against other top youths! French Kim-Anne already sailed the Falcon at Eurocat Carnac this year. We are looking forward to seeing them on the water in Italy! They will have to work hard, especially on their language skills, Chiara is from the United Arab Emirates and does not speak French. Bonne chance! :-)

Geert Ruesink, from The Netherlands, has been to a lot of F16 events these last years, and will sail solo in Italy. He took part in the very first “Global Challenge” organized in 2007 by the then still very young F16 class and has been a big supporter of the class.

Ray and Lea (Switzerland) are new to the F16 scene. They bought a second hand Falcon last year and have been training very hard to get to know the boat. They are very enthusiastic to meet the other F16 sailors and have fun on and off the water.

Floris and Sonja are a Belgian mixed team. They used to sail an F18 but switched to F16 for the lighter weight and easier to handle on the beach. They love sailing and spent a lot of their free time on the water. They are sailing with an American sail number, but are well and truly Belgian; you can ask them anything about Belgian beers :-)

Adrian and Jesse are the current F16 World Champions. This Australian couple won the event last year in Newport, Rhodes Island. Adrian is a sail maker and they will sail their own set of sails. I am sure they will also bring the Aussie way of life to this party in Italy.

Andreas (call him Andi!) and Andrea are a Swiss couple and this is one of the first events they will sail together. Last year they were going to sail the Europeans in Le Touquet together, but right before the event Andrea broke her wrist. They are very eager to show how it’s done Swiss style. On and off the water you will hear Andi laughing and joking. But competition is competition. Don’t let him beat you!

Jacques is another solo sailor. He is from France and he is always sailing the Eurocat event in Carnac. Look out for the very nice design on the hull of his Falcon, a true artist! And this time he will not be sailing solo because his wife really wants to test their new jib J

Katrin and Thomas are a German couple who have been sailing for a long time now. They used to sail a Hobie FXOne and are now hooked on F16 sailing. Katrin is our first female helm and she does a great job. We know for sure she will love the light to medium wind in Italy :-)

Another Swiss team: Daniel & Dominic, also quite new to the F16 scene. They love to push it. We have sailed with them at Lake of Como this year, and the more wind the better. In Italy, they will learn to love the medium wind too (unless we get some thermal breeze?).

Belgium team Aurélie and Morgan do not usually sail together, but when they do they rock! They won silver at the Europeans in Travemunde in 2013 and Morgan is sailing an Olympic campaign. Right now he is sailing the F17 Worlds in Aarhus, Denmark, together with Carolijn Brouwer. Aurélie has been focusing on her studies this year, but she will get back in the groove of sailing quickly.

Only one team left and that’s us :-) No need to introduce us? We will be sailing together at the Europeans and looking very much forward to it. Not only the sailing but also the social program will be great. 

We are very happy to be able to introduce you these nice Falcon team riders and we hope you all have a great time in Italy! For the ones stuck at home: follow us on Facebook for daily reports. Event starts on July 20.

Adrian and Jesse take F16 world title on the Falcon!

Newport, Rhode Island

From June 23 to June 27 the F16 worlds were held at Newport, USA. There were 4 days of racing scheduled. 29 boats appeared on the starting line: mixed teams, youth teams, single handlers,... a mix of configurations typical for the F16 class.

Our Falcons were sailed by teams from all over the world, including Australia, Switzerland and of course the USA.  Below our report on this event.

Adrian Fawcett & Jesse Dobie, Australia: "The venue for this Worlds was fantastic. Newport is a place all sailors need to visit. Friendly people, lots to do and see and really great sailing conditions. We did lose a day due to unstable wind but Mike the PRO still managed to get in 13 races."

During the practice race the teams experienced the challenging conditions of the race course. Matt McDonald, USA says: "It was a very interesting race course, each race the course was different with changing winds and current throughout the day. Reading the course and adjusting to it was really important."

Racing started on Tuesday in challenging conditions with winds up to 20 knots. From the start it was close racing, especially between the top 4 teams. Adrian: "The Falcon definitely has a different feel to the F16 that we are used too. The helm is balanced and light, and it can be pushed extra hard without fear of pitch pole, especially interesting on the windier days like Tuesday."

Wednesday was as sunny day but the winds were a little lighter, which was to the benefit of the lighter mixed teams. Andi Lutz, Switzerland, sailed with Tim Bohan. They were 2 men so one of the heavier teams. "Wednesday the wind was a little lighter and we started to feel it. The lighter teams really accelerated and the Aussies hauled ass! On Tuesday the first racing day, there was more wind and we, the heavy guys, had great speed."

On Thursday the wind was really unstable and Mike, the PRO, decided to cancel racing for the day. Ideal to explore the area. Andi: "we took the opportunity to check out the Newport Warf. It was great to see that many yachts and racing boats! The American VOR70 Team was there and the Spindrift (former Banque Populaire V) the 140 foot trimaran."

On Friday, the last day of racing, the top 4 was well ahead of the rest of the fleet but only a couple of points apart, so the racing was really exciting! Andi: "Friday final day, we all decided to sail more races and we started earlier to sail 5 more races, to make up for the lost races on Thursday. The wind was quite good. Altough still a bit lighter with 10-14 knots."

Adrian & Jesse, leading throughout the event, kept their act together and their better boat speed enabled them to stay on top, the Aussies were crowned World Champion!

A world title for the Falcon F16, an acknowledgement for everyone who has supported us!

"This is the first World title for the Falcon, thanks to Adrian & Jesse! It is no coincidence we manage to win the world title now", says Matt, designer and builder of the Falcon F16. "After winning a couple of World titles in the early days of the class with the Blade, the class started to grow and attract new builders. But even in these challenging conditions we kept following our strategy of supporting the base, the weekend sailors and investing in them, in youth and giving them the perfect boat to mix it up with the pro-sailors sponsored by other manufacturers. And now, 5 years later, we see the strategy is paying off. Across the world Falcons are winning local races, national titles and now a first World Championship title. This attracts the more professional sailors to look at the boat and make it their preferred choice as well. Sailors like John Casey, Tripp Burd and Michael Easton, the Glasers, etc putting their effort into our boats is just great and is the cherry on the cake to refine the Falcon F16 to the refined racing machine it is today."

After taking 3 national titles end of 2013, the Falcon is on a roll in 2014 with a 2nd and 3rd at Eurocat this year and of course winning the world championship. Gill from TheBoatshop.be says: "I can't wait to sail the F16 Europeans in France this year. The Belgian youth teams have proven to mix it up very well with the European top and we will also have a European top-sailor on the Falcon for this event. More on that in the coming weeks!"

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 ;-)