Eurocat Carnac 2012

Eurocat is the first big event in Europe and is not to be missed. Unfortunately this year we really did not have any luck with the weather conditions. Of the 4 possible days of racing, only 2 days went trough. On Saturday the C1 class sailed 3 races and on Tuesday the long distance raid was scheduled.

We arrived early to practice and train together with the youth teams. Next to the 3 Belgian teams there was also a Swiss and French team competing.

First day of sailing was on Friday and was a training day with Sebbe Godefroid. Focus was on practising starts as in a 60 boat fleet getting a good start is extremely important. While training we found out that winter had not done us any good :-)!

By the end of the day we did some small races in nice and sunny conditions.

Saturday we went out at 13h to go racing around the buoys. It took the race committee some time to get the (difficult) course into place, but eventually we were able to sail 3 races in great conditions. Wind built from 15 knots to about 20 knots for the last race. Little to no waves made for some very fast and cool spinnaker runs regularly reaching 18 knots of speed.

Race 1 can be considered a practice race for us... :-). Bad start and trying to find our way around the inner/outer loop course. Our first race didn't seem to end, especially because we had to finish 3 times to do it right! Shame on us!

Race 2 and 3 was a lot better, with an 8th place on 60 boats in the last race! Good starts and great speed both up- and downwind. The last race we even beat Darren Bundock upwind and stayed ahead the whole time. Just before the finish he managed to pull one of his many tricks out of his sleeve and got ahead! Well done Bundy ;-)

Also for the youths and Swiss it was a great day! One team finishing continuously in the top 10, the other youth team and Swiss finishing within the first 16 boats.

3 Falcons in persuit of Falcon 111 battling with the top 5
Overtaking the F20

Hot at the top mark!

Sunday and Monday
Heavy winds made Sunday and Monday a day for 'tuning' by the Falcon teams. Some visiting of the surroundings and kart racing filled the day.

Finally some racing again. The race committee decided to to a short version of the raid instead of a second day of buoy racing.

I switched Kathleen for Maarten who crewed with me on the raid. Conditions about 15 knots with some lulls towards the end of the race.
At 10h30 we took off for a bit over 2 hours of racing with 300 other boats.

We got lost in the middle of the pack at the start giving us no opportunity to sail in clean air. After some 5 or 10 minutes we managed to get clear and could start catching up.
Maarten did the mainsheet and I needed to get used to this. Especially in the reaching parts (about a third of the race was 2 sail reaching) I needed to grow confidence in Maarten doing the main while I beared away in the gusts to gain speed and sail deeper. But it paid. Having 2 hands on the main in these reaching parts is definately faster.

One of the reaching parts. Team 111 clearly ahead of the pack
Next to the reaching parts the first part of the race served us with a long upwind leg. We got the boat in the groove sailing faster and higher then most of the boats around us. We have been working on mast settings lately and copied this to the other Falcons racing. All of them had the same experience the boat was sailing high and fast! Great improvement.

The second part of the race was a downwind with some reaching to finish off with. On the spinnaker run the wind started to go down a bit and we didn't anticipate fast enough to this. Some of the boats we passed on the upwind overtook us, luckily only a couple and not all of them :-) !

BEL 666 in 'raid configuration' :-)

Again great results with the first Falcon team finishing 3rd F16 after 2 Olympic level teams!

Tuesday - 16h
Late, but we decided to drive back yesterday instead of today. Mainly to be able to write this lovely report, but also because we like our bed more than the one at the hotel!

Next up are some races at the West Coast with the Belgian Championship as most important one!


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