Dutch Nationals 2009

So the first Dutch Nationals ever. You know the saying: "Tall oaks grow from little acorns"? Well we did start small, unfortunately only 3 Formula 16 boats (all Blades) on the starting line. Apparently some people on holiday, others with injuries and other more recent F16 owners did not feel ready yet to compete in a race. What a pity! But still we made the best out of it. Here's our story.

Gill and I arrived in Zandvoort Friday at noon. We unloaded the boat, rigged everything and immediately went out for a test drive on Zandvoort water. Woaw did we get smacked in the face! Those waves! They were huge. Really huge. It all reminded me again of those terrible waves during the Global Challenge of 2007. Some nasty memories of lots of bruises.

We shortly met Hans and learned that on Saturday we would start at 1 PM. Then we went for dinner in a nice Indonesian restaurant. After that, back to the beach and into our tent. Lots of noise of halyards against the masts, but we had a nice sleep.
On Saturday Geert and Raymond arrived and they rigged their boat. Hans arrived a few moments later with his boat and his orange rudders! Really nice looking! This was the time for the guys to compare the gadgets and the settings on their boats and boy did they have fun!

Racing started at 1.30 PM and we did 4 races. Each race had 2 or 3 laps, upwind mark, spreader mark, downwind gate and then finish. We scored 2 - 3 - 3 - 1. Provisional result Day 1 = Geert/Raymond 6 points (1,2,1,2 ), Gill/Kathleen 9 points (2,3,3,1) and Hans 9 points (3,1,2,3).
In the first three races we had some difficulties to keep a constant speed and finished after the other 2up Blade every time even though they were 20 kgs heavier... Still have to improve our light wind sailing :-) Also our spin halyard twisted, so spin hoist wasn't as fast as it normally was, also causing us to loose precious boat lengths. In the last race the wind picked up (instead of 1 person trapping, we could double trap) and we started to get into the groove and we ended the day with a bullet!

By 4 o'clock we were off the water and could enjoy the great sunshine on the beach.

The next morning we got up early and adjusted the spin halyard. Also Hans was early on the beach to change his spin setup because he also had some difficulties on Saturday to hoist and douse the spin.
The predicted wind for the day was about the same as yesterday and we only hoped the wind would pick up quickly, so we could sail as much races as possible in higher wind conditions. The situation at 11 o’clock was very different with little wind and an exceptional flat sea to Zandvoort conditions.

By 12h00 we were on the water waiting for the first starting signal. 2 races later everything was still possible as Hans and we managed to close the gap with Geert and the three of us all had 9 points. The third race would decide on who would win the event. For this last race we had to sail 4 laps before crossing the final finish line.

After the start Geert/Raymond and Hans stayed along the shore (less current, but more waves, especially breaker waves due to a sand bank) while we went off to sea. At the upwind mark, we could tack just in front of Hans, with Geert/Raymond following a couple of boat lengths further. At the spreader we had an excellent spin hoist and could continue in the leading position.
First time at the gate everyone was still close. Unfortunately Hans' spin got stuck under the hull while dousing, putting him out of the race.

Second time at the upwind mark we tacked again just above Geert/Raymond. They took a gamble by tacking early and combined with some dirty air caused by us they could not make the mark. They had to make two more tacks to round the mark giving us a more comfortable lead.
During the other 2 laps we made no more errors making us finish first! Yes!

Final results for this excellent 2 day event:

Gill/Kathleen 10 points (2,3,3,1,2,1,1)
Geert/Raymond 11 points ( 1,2,1,2,3,3,2)
Hans 12 points (3,1,2,3,1,2,dnf)

We ended the day with a nice price giving ceremony on the beautiful roof terrace of the Zandvoort Club. The sun was out and we enjoyed the end of a superb weekend!