One up cup - my experience

After a little rest, hereby my experience! Already looking forward to our next race on the 21st of July.

Because it also was the Belgian A-class championship 12 A-cats showed up. British, Dutch, a Swiss and ofcourse Belgian sailors showed up.
Next to the A’s 13 other single handed cat’s where present (FX One, Cirrus evolution, a Bim X16 and I on the F16 Blade).
All together a nice mix of non-spin and various types of spin boats.
The race course was a classic course. Windward buoy, spreader, gate, windward buoy, spreader, gate and finish.

The first day started very windy (up to force 6) and the races were cancelled.
The second day we were more lucky and had, in my opinion, nice one up weather. Since it was only the 4th time I sailed the Blade alone I was happy to see force 3 to 4 predicted.
Because we didn’t sail on Saturday, the race committee announced to sail as much races as possible on Sunday. We sailed 4 in total.

The first start was given at 11 and we went off in about 6 knots. Ofcourse the A’s were faster upwind and I also had troubles getting away from the heavier FX One and Cirrus cats. On the downwind leg I managed to catch up with the second group of A’s, the first 5 A’s were still ahead of me at the gate and stayed in front till the finish. With this little wind I felt I couldn’t get speed in the Blade…

The second race the wind started to pick up to I guess 8 knots. Myself, the A’s and the Bim could trap and formed a group in front.

The other cats already lost quite a lot on the upwind. I guess 5 to 6 A’s were in front of me at the windward mark. I’m guessing 3 to 4 minutes. After a short spreader run I could hoist the spin and started to pick up speed immediately. The Blade flew a hull the entire time and I was sailing a lot faster and deeper then the A’s! By the time I was at the gate I catched up with the first A’s.
Along the race all my spin hoists and retrieves went very well and I almost didn’t lose any time at the gate compared to the A-cats.
In the upwind leg I lost a little again but was closer then I was the first time. On the downwind the Blade flew again. I was well ahead of the first A and didn’t take the risk to leave the spin on, the last 200 meters between the gate and finish. Eventually I finished 15 seconds ahead of the second finisher, enough to get a 1 on calculated time (F16= 0,982, A= 0,986).

On the 3rd race the wind picked up a little more and the FX One and Cirrus started to trap also. And against to what I thought I gained even more terrain on them upwind. I could also keep up with most of the A’s, meaning I was well ahead of them at the gate and eventually at the finish! Another 1.

The last race would be deciding on who would end first overall… This was quite an unusual feeling for me so I honestly got a little nervous….
I wanted to have the best start of the day and parked myself next to the committee boat 2 minutes before the start. But…. due to the current I was almost being pushed over the start. On the start signal they pulled the individual call back flag… Because having OCS is worse than restarting I decided to take no risk… (as seen from the race results 4 other boats started to soon, so I made the right choice).
Ofcourse this stressed me out even more. For the first time in the race I saw other cats then A’s in front of me!
The wind had dropped a little also and I couldn’t keep the boat up speed upwind… I lost the final battle….

Well overall 2nd still made me the happiest sailor on earth!



Mathieu Cardinael said...

You did a great race and congratulations with your first place!

Gill said...


Thanks! Will you be sailing the Diamond cup next weekend?