Splash! First capsize this season with Kathleen!
What a weekend we have had. This is the windiest I probably have ever sailed in my life.

Saturday morning I left the beach in Heist with one of the youths that would sail another Falcon during the Gaastra F18/F16 race held that weekend. It was already quite windy (about 20 knots) but not too gusty. Once on the water I put the boat downwind and handed over the tiller.
We sailed about 5 minutes without the spinnaker, so Philip could get used to the boat (he normally sailes a Hobie16 or SL16 and was on the Falcon for the first time). Then we pulled the spinnaker and I got out on the wire. Almost immediately he popped the hull up and we were blasting away! What a guy and what a boat, first time on a high performance boat and sailing it to its potential from the first time. I cannot think of any boat where that is possible!

We passed our neighbouring club, hosting the event, at full speed. Some time later, after an upwind leg we beached to prep the second Falcon. Conditions were good, but at the upper wind range....

About an hour later I launched again, this time with Kathleen, to head out to the racing area.
By the time we arrived at the starting line the wind had gone up to about 25 knots with gusts to 30. We started the first race together with the F18's and were racing with 3 other F16's.
In our first upwind leg we had difficulties to keep the boat up to speed. The high waves caused the nose to be blown away each time so I had to correct each time with the tiller. That was slow!
As 2 F16's had gone over we still managed to get first to the upwind mark, with a single handler following in second!

Also on the first downwind leg we needed some time to get a constant speed. 2 gybes later we were ready for the second upwind tack of the race. This time we moved our weight more forward on the boat to keep the nose down and pierce through the waves instead of going over every single one of them. Now we were really getting powered up. Everything was sheeted to the max. We had no more sail, but a wing :-) It was really flat.

On the second downwind we were also able to get the speed in the boat sailing the gusts and surfing the waves. By the time we reached the gate we had built a nice lead on the second F16. But unfortunately in the last gybe disaster struck :-), we went over! By the time we had the spinnaker in, the boat up and did a small upwind leg towards the gate as we drifted, the solo F16 had managed to sneak just in front of us to finish. Second place. The youth team made a second capsize and didn't finish that race.

By the time they gave the start of the second race the wind reached 35 knots. Sailing upwind now felt more like flying and boats were tipping over everywhere. All of the F16's decided to come in together with most of the F18 fleet. Only 8 boats finished the second race.

Great stories were told that evening and great pictures were shown!

The second day is short. Wind was blowing again 30 knots. F18 former world champ Coen de Koning decided to go out without his jib!
On the first start we were with about 12 boats. Clearly a starboard start but also tricky to do so. We went conservative and did a port start...and got hit by a starboard boat, a Hobie WildCat dug his nose into our hull.... End of racing. Luckily only some cosmetics and no structural damage! We managed to get back safely to the club and enjoyed a nice sunny (but very windy) afternoon on the beach.

Well next week we'll be on the water again with a 3day regatta! Stay tuned!


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