Club Championship @ VVW Heist

Stress!! Being the title defender sure brings the nerves into the game. This game should have been played last week but since we were faced with Force 7 winds on that Sunday the Championship was postponed to this Sunday.

After getting back from a great Raf Verhaeghe Challenge at Oostduinkerke on Saturday night we decided to rig the Falcon on Sunday morning. Start of the race was scheduled at 1PM so with our newly mastered fast rigging techniques we could put the mast up on Sunday and still be ready in time to start the race.

Predictions were Force 3-4, South Westerly and rain. Wind speed and direction perfect (flat seas!), rain not so much. But still after lap 1 of race 1 we were happy it started to rain. The first lap started in very low winds, very stressful, so we were happy a rain cloud passed over so the wind could pick up again. It is so much more fun to be able to trap out with 2 than to just sit in on the hull. We got first at the upwind mark and could immediately hoist the spinnaker. Gill was so focused on doing it right tough that he immediately decided to gybe of to the sea where the bigger winds were. But hey wait not so fast, you forgot to take the spreader mark. Ouch. I didn't notice it, and neither did Gill. It was only at the second lap when we did take the spreader mark, Gill noticed we didn't take it the first time. Oh no, no way back now, not taking this mark meant that we got a DSQ for this first race, altough we finished first. Sh*t! :-)

Even more stress from then on, since we really needed 3 more races so we could get one reduction. Thanks to the racing committee (they were really fast!) we did manage to pull of 4 races that day. And all 3 next races we scored a bullet. Fffew. We were very happy to take the title after all that stress!

We were again very thrilled with our boat speed and power. We found the right settings! Everything went very smoothly. Altough we have found some more points to focus on. We noticed that we loose speed during a gybe, so we'll have to practice to maintain boat speed after gybing.

The day ended with us receiving the very nice trophy for the second time in a row and a nice Fajitas dinner at the club.

Right now we are taking a holiday from sailing. We are going to explore the beauty of nature in Sweden and after that Gill will be ready to sail the RBSC Extreme again, with Manu Proot (who came in 3rd at the RBSC Diamond Cup, congratulations!). After that our next big race will be the Club Championship at RBSC Duinbergen. We are very much looking forward to that since we want to compare our new found skills and speed to the very good sailors Patrick Demesmaeker, Vincent Thierry, Jan Verlinden and Wim Deca. Exciting!

Raf Verhaeghe Challenge 2010 @ SYCOD Oostduinkerke

The Raf Verhaeghe Challenge is a 2 day race in Oostduinkerke that has been on our "want to do" list for ages. Finally this year we could schedule it and we were really looking forward to it. Unfortunately the weekend before the weather gods didn't cooperate so our Club Championship @ VVW Heist was postponed to the Sunday of the Raf Verhaeghe Challenge! Dilemma...

We couldn't keep away from our Club Championship, moreover since we were the title defenders. But we also didn't want to stay away from the Raf Verhaeghe. So we decided to take it all and sail the Raf Verhaeghe on Saturday and the Club Championship on Sunday. This meant of course that we would need to trailer the boat to Oostduinkerke on Friday, set up, sail and then on Saturday evening break everything of again and trailer back to Heist. Let's say we now know how to rig and de-rig our Falcon very quickly :-)

We are very happy we chose this option, because we had a great weekend. We really feel we stepped up our level again. On Saturday we scored a 3, a 3, a 5 and a 4 and ended 4th overall after day 1. Our boat speed was amazing. Boat handling is also getting better and since we bought a TacTic compass we now also start to play the wind shifts more. So overall we are still improving :-)

We had 4 races in different conditions. The first 2 races we had high winds (force 4-5) and going upwind we faced long waves. Race 1 started with a pin end favored start line so we started on starboard and we managed to cross the fleet! Great feeling. We would have been 1st at the upwind mark if we got the mark right, but we had to make 1 extra tack. This put us in second position at the upwind mark. A short spreader and a quick spin hoist and than off to the gate. We had to do 3 laps each race and since there was a lot of wind we really were totally beat after race 1. But we were also very happy since we finished 3rd! The French Black Moon sailors, Joel Lefèvre & Erwan Griziaux, called our Falcon "la bombe", how cool is that!

After the races Gill took interested sailor Bert Desmet along for a test sail on the Falcon. Bert was really impressed with the boat and back on shore we also had some more interested people checking out the Falcon and asking questions. Very nice!

The day ended with a tasty paella served at the club and a good night of socializing with the SYCOD sailors. Great bunch of people!

The final results of the 2 day event are not yet available. As soon as we receive them I'll update this post. We also have some nice pictures shot on Saturday, so I hope we'll get them too.