Belgian Championship C1 in Oostende

Our hometown was the place to be this weekend. The OSRC hosted the Belgian Championships (BK).

The theme for this weekend was wind; lots of wind. On Saturday we managed 4 races, in 18 knots. Sunday was announced to be less windy (10 knots). But as from 9 o'clock the wind only got stronger.

On Sunday we managed 2 races, in 18 knots again, with gusts to about 22. Very tiring but we learned alot and we sure gained some more confindence on our boat and on our capacities as a team :-)

Now about the race...
20 boats on the starting line (including 4 new Hobie Wildcat) and all very good teams (in our opinion). The first races we started in the second row because we had to get used to the high wind and gusts and didn't feel confident enough to park on the starting line. This meant ofcourse that we gave them already a lead, something they didn't give away anymore. 12,16,12 and DNF (mainsail leech tensioner snapped...).

We were dead beat when we came of the water. But happy! In the past we were almost always suffering in these conditions but now we had speed both up and downwind. In the past I had difficulties keeping the windward hull out of the water with waves and a lot of wind. But this Saturday we stood a lot more to the front of the boat. Weight positioning on this boat is very important. We noticed that with a hull in the water, the Blade wanted to dig the nose in, but once the hull came out of the water a little bit we sailed a steady 10 to 11 knots upwind.

The second day (Sunday) 2 more races were performed. As said before the wind was even stronger then yesterday and this was a good test case to show that a lightweight F16 can be sailed in any condition!

These last 2 races of the weekend we had a better feeling. We could keep up with almost everyone and got in fifth position at the upwind mark in the final race. Also on the downwind tack we could keep up with the F18's. But here and there we oversailed the gate, touched the bouy and pitchpoled (in the last gybe of the very last finish...).

Anyway, we learned a lot this weekend, certainly not to stress if you're sailing in the front pack :-)

Our best result was an 11 and a 13 overall. Thanks to the OSRC for the great organisation and especially for the hot dogs at the end of the weekend!

More pictures from Eurocat Carnac!

Thanks to Laurent from RBSC Duinbergen we have some very very cool pictures of us on our Blade on a reach.


Eurocat 2009

Eurocat is one of our biggest races of the year. This year 3 days of racing were scheduled, from Friday (1st of May), until Sunday.
On Friday and Sunday we had buoy races, on Saturday we did a long distance race to an island in front of the coast called l'île d'Houat.

We sailed in the C1 class and were the smallest group (about 60 boats). Next to the C1, there was the C3 group (97 boats) and the F18 (120! boats).
Anyway, 60 boats made for an already very busy starting line.

The first day was most fun sailing wise. We did 5 races in winds of 10 knots, up to 20+ in the last race. In contrary to the North Sea, were we are used to sail, the water here stays relatively flat with these kinds of winds. One of the biggest adrenaline rushes I've had and the gps to prove it (top speed of 21 knots on the reach and 18 downwind!).
On the downwind we really noticed the difference in our skills compared to last year. The Blade didn't pitch pole or stuff it at all and we could keep up with the other competitors.

21 knots!

At the end of day 1 we were 21st, but our ambition was to end in the first 20 boats.
During the entire regatta the pin end was heavily in favor, but due to the strong winds on the first day, we decided to go for clean air and start at the committee boat. So this still gave us room for improvement on Sunday (second series of buoy races), so we were confident we could do better.

At the upwind mark

On Sunday the winds were a lot lighter and we only did 2 races. Every time we managed to get a good start at the pin and with clean air. We were 5th and 10th at the upwind mark!

But then the tactics started to come into play. We lost places on every downwind leg, so we ended up racing in the pack again by the time we finished.
Eventually these 2 last races were our worst and we ended up 25th overall...

The other 2 F16's competing (2 Vipers) ended 2nd and 17th overall, a very good result.

Next to the buoy racing we also managed a long distance race on Saturday. Very light winds making it not the most fun race, but the views of l'île d'Houat made up for it. The rough Atlantic Ocean coast lines, sunny weather and long ocean waves made it an unforgettable experience!

Well, the racing was great again and I can only encourage the other F16 sailors to put this event on their agendas for next year!

You can find the C1 results on the website of the Yacht Club Carnac or by having a look at these pictures. Unfortunately boat types are not mentioned on these results. I have added the 3 F16 boat types to make clear who finished in what spot.