Duinenresidence/Zeeschelde Cup - 29/5/2010

What an awesome day we had! I must admit that right before the start of the Duinenresidence Cup I was really scared of what was about to happen. There was a lot of wind announced, inland wind, so very gusty. When we hit the water it became immediately clear that the predictions were right. And when Luc Claeys announced that he was not going to participate, my heart stopped for a second :-). Luckily as soon as I start the timer and the 5 minutes start procedure every fear disappears. I am focused and concentrated and in full control. We had a good start but couldn’t tack right away. Joris Vandeneynde and Vincent Thery tacked right away after the start and they gained a lot, they were first at the upwind mark. After the upwind mark we had a short half wind leg and than back to the upwind mark.

Once we finished this loop we were off for a long ride along the Belgian Coast up until Holland. It was an awesome ride, lots of wind, lots of gusts, but we managed to keep control. Gill trapped out and I was stuck sitting at the back, focusing on the wind, the shifts and keeping the main sheet on the boat (all very important tasks of course).

Lots of wind!

We had a real fight with a Capricorn, who passed us, then we passed them, they came closer, but we managed to stay in front. Just before the finish we managed to steer a bit deeper so we had more wind and we could trap out the both of us a bit sooner than the Capricorn and Joris & Vincent on their Infusion. This few minutes advantage on the trap made a huge difference and we could easily keep up our lead. We finished 4th.

Very pleased we had a short lunch break on a sandbank in the estuary of the Schelde.

We didn’t stay long because the wind was only increasing. After a half wind start (wow exiting and very easy to gain speed right at the start) we found ourselves in a bad position, almost behind all the F18’s, with no wind and no speed. We decided to pull the spi. After a short ride, we took the kite back in, bad decision, we were still behind and we couldn’t steer high enough to get out of the estuary. So the kite back up (hello muscles). We gained speed and managed to cross a lot of boats. Finally out of the estuary we could steer half wind again, so the kite got stowed away, but now we wouldn’t need it again today. Again in the half wind leg I sat on the trampoline while Gill trapped out, way to the back. Our boat speed is great and we passed a lot of boats. After a while we found ourselves in 4th place. Drag racing started. We had Joris & Vincent right next to us but they stayed closer to the beach. We were a bit deeper and had therefore also a bit more wind. Later on the leg I finally was allowed to stop sitting and trap out also :-). This was great. We could easily fly the hull and keep control, no diving and full speed.

It was incredibly exciting to race so close to each other. We also had Francis Proot on his wildcat close to us. He was way in front of us but capsized. Just when we passed him they righted the boat and started to come after us. We had the same boat speed so they were not able to pass us. And a few minutes later they went in again. Ouch. They managed to capsize 4 times that day! They must have been tired afterwards. Once we reached the Belgian coast we managed to stay well ahead of Joris & Vincent so our place was secured. We finished 4th, what a consistent result. Minutes after we hit the beach rain dropped down from the skies. And it never stopped raining that evening. We derigged our boat and headed to RBSC Duinbergen for the price giving. The end result was a 4th place for us. So we just missed a spot on the podium but we are really happy with our performance. We managed to stay before 18 good F18 teams, our boat speed was great, we had control and we didn’t capsize in those heavy winds, yihaa!

This event was really great. 22 boats in the C1 class (20 F18’s, 1 Nacra 20 and us on the Falcon F16) and a great ride along the coast. I was really happy I did not let my initial fear from before the start rule out this great race. Up to the next one!

Eurocat 2010

The best edition up to now! (for us).

Last year we ended 25th and this year we managed to get into the top 10 (9th place) out of 53 boats!

Again a great event as Eurocat always is. Great scenery to sail in, great fun as we are with a big group of Belgian sailors and a great race as a lot of great teams show up.

In the C1 class the teams to beat were Carolijn Brouwer/Liz Hurley and Chris Sproat/Georgina Burke.

We left early so we had some days off there before the regatta. It gave us some time to get some more sailing together as most of the sailing lately were test sessions....

Friday the first day of racing was scheduled, a second one on Sunday.
On the first day we had almost perfect sailing conditions. In the beginning quite light with no trapping, the final 2 races double trapping in a nice sunshine!

We did 4 races on Friday and we managed to get good starts everytime. Our boatcontrol in these conditions has become very good so from this year onwards we are trying to start in the first line.
On the course our boatspeed is good too (we even came first at the upwind mark once!). Especially when we double trap we sail great angles upwind and are able to keep the hull our of the water longer and longer which means speed! :-) Kathleen is working her ass off going higher and lower in the trapeze to keep the hull steady :-)
Reward of the day: 8th place!

On Sunday the wind increased to 20+ knots. We did three races and my body was happy they didn't have the time to throw in a forth! :-)

Also now we tried to start front row, but in these conditions it was a bit more difficult. We ended up in the front row but didn't get up to speed fast enough everytime and had to deal with bad air...
During the 3 races we started to push the boat harder and harder. It was a real test as this was the first time we sailed these conditions with the Falcon. I have the feeling we didn't came near the limits of the boat and this gives great prospectives for the future! :-)
Especially on the downwind the boat was a sweetie! Super stable to sail and by the end of the third race we managed to do a downwind leg with a hull out of the water most of the time! And what a great speed we had! Great kicks on the F16!