Photo / Film shoot Falcon Youth Teams

Last Sunday we organised a photo/film shoot for the Belgian Falcon F16 Youth teams. The 3 teams were present and Gill and I were on a rib filming and photographing them. We have hours of film, hundreds of pictures and some bruises from bouncing aroung in the rib while trying to maintain a stable shooting angle :-)

Here is a preview of one of the shots of the team, lined up in an upwind course. More will definately follow, but you'll have to give us some time to edit...

Vintage Trophy RBSC Zoute

A first, but very cool version of a race, organised by RBSC Zoute.

Have a look at the amazing poster they made to announce the race.

Gill and I couldn't particpate in this one because we were sailing the Raid West at our home club, VVW Heist. But Youth Team BEL 222 (Arnout & Klaas) did participate and they won the race. Congratulations to them! Conditions were hard, very tactical racing was needed with an offshore Southerly wind and lots of puffs and lulls. But the sun was out. Very rare these days in Belgium... :-)

Full results:

Raid West VVW Heist

Each season our club organises 2 raids (long distance sailing with a night on the beach included). The first one is Cat Raid East, direction The Netherlands and the second one is Cat Raid West, direction France.

We didn't join in on the first one and for the 2nd one we only had the time free on Saturday so we decided to do half of the Raid. We started on Saturday around noon and we sailed until lunch time at around 2 PM. We had a lovely lunch break on the beach of Wenduine together with another 13 boats!

Me steering :-)

 After lunch 11cats sailed on towards France. We sailed back to Heist, together with 2 other Falcons. Anton and Mathieu sailed with  BEL 777, recently bought, so new to the boat, Simon and Filip (one of our Youth Teams) sailed BEL 333 and Gill and I sailed our BEL 666.

Like always (boys and their toys) everything has to be a competition. So we picked some buoys we had to round on the way back and we made it a race! It was super sailing. Great conditions, Southerly (offshore) winds, so flat water, enough wind to double trap upwind and to trap with the kite up. And the sun was out most of the time. Truely great! We enjoyed this afternoon of sailing. Right before we had to cross the harbour of Zeebrugge (large port with lots of freight traffic, big container boats!), we ended the competion and waited to cross the harbour together.

What do you think of our new spray tops? (Thanks Gina!!!)
Once the harbour crossed, Gill and I decided to switch places and I steered the rest of the way home. A very cool upwind track, cunningham (downhaul) full on, Gill sheeting and the pink girl (thanks Matt & Gina!!) holding the stick :-) Awesome! I loved it. It was sooo easy. You really feel when the boat is trimmed correctly. The rudder felt so light, I could hold it with 1 finger. Very important for a girl ;-)

Kustzeilevent Noordwijk

2 weeks ago Gill and a couple of guys from our Youth Team decided to sail the Kustzeilevent Noordwijk. A race in The Netherlands. Weather forecast did not look good (again very heavy winds predicted) but they decided to try their luck anyway.

Unfortunately no luck... Forces 6 to 7 beaufort meant no sailing at all, for the entire weekend. After having driven the 2 hours to Noordwijk and having waited and rigged the boats, they decided to go out anyway on Sunday for an hour or so. After seeing the Go Pro footage they shot, I am very glad I wasn't there :-)

Gill sailed with Filip on Falcon BEL 333 and Philip & Gaetan sailed on BEL 111. Here's a trailer to make you all very curious to see the whole movie.....

Texel Dutch Open 2012

This was the 2nd year we decided to travel to Texel, The Netherlands to race the Texel Dutch Open and to try to sail Round Texel, a classic big long distance race around the Isle of Texel. Unfortunately this year this race was sheduled very early in the month of June and therefore none of our Youth Teams could participate. Their school results are ofcourse equally important (altough they sometimes don't think so ;-)).

To reduce the costs and to have more fun we decided to travel together with one other Belgian team, Wim Deca, one of our loyal readers (hello Wim!!!) and Gilles Tas, sailing a Nacra Infusion. We rented a holiday house (with a jacuzzi!! (never used it)) and more importantly, free WIFI.

When we arrived on Monday it was really blowing hard, again. What is it with this season and alot of wind? We rigged our boats and watched some boats trying to get out. One of our friends also went out, but had bad luck, a wave caught them on the side, they capsized in the breakers, they tried to right their boat quickly, but the force of the waves was just too much and their mast broke :-(. This was really painfull to watch from ashore. Our hearts broke in sympathy with our friends, not a good start of the week. We all rushed to help them and with joined efforts the boat was quickly out of the water, the crew shaken but OK, and we all helped them back to their trailer. And then they got some well deserved beers, to recuperate a bit...

The next day Gill and I went out together with Wim & Gilles to have a short training session out on the Texel water. A great day, sun, not too much wind (yeah) and great practicing tacks and gybes. I did get a bit sea sick of constantly looking at my watch to tack every 2 minutes :-)

Wednesday was the first day of the Texel Dutch Open. There were 2 starts, one separate start for the Nacra Infusion Worlds and then one start 5 minutes later for the C1 class. So a bit a devided field, but nevertheless great racing. Last year we did very well during the TDO, this year tough we felt a bit dissappointed with our result. Our upwind speed was very good, but downwind we lost places. I didn't feel too comfortable with the waves, it was really a skill to surf of the waves and gain speed. We got 3 races in that day, with varying conditions, not so easy sailing!

Surfing down the waves

That evening we went out with some of the other Falcon sailors (Geert & Raymond from The Netherlands, Andi & Katrin from Switzerland and Sandro & Johannes also from Switzerland/Germany). A very fun night, that reminded us of the good times we had last year at the F16 Worlds in Bordeaux!

On Thursday it was immediately very clear that there would be no racing that day. Very high winds, stormy weather. We had to tighten everything very well and some sailors forgot to do that, so there was some carnage...

Instead we wanted to go Carting, but unlike in Carnac, there was no decent Carting Track. So instead we did some site seeing (big tractors!) and we went back to our house and had a nice elaborate barbeque :-)

Gill, Gilles and Wim enjoying the barbeque!

Friday, 3rd and last day of racing and we got an awesome day of sailing. Sun, wind, flat water, tight racing, we felt great. A bit too great in fact, because our 2nd start of that day got us a Black Flag Disqualification, ouch, we pushed it a bit too hard.


Yiha :-)

By Friday night we already knew that there would be no Round Texel Race on Saturday because - again - of the predictions of too much wind. That night there was a party in the big tent and we had a "dance off" with Chris & Georgina and Raphael & Marcela, Sandro & Katrin,... We really laughed alot, great fun!

So on Saturday indeed no Round Texel and a one-of, for the first time in it's 35 year history the Round was postponed untill Sunday. Unfortunately we did not foresee this in our agenda and we had to be back on Monday for work, so we decided to travel back to Belgium on Saturday, meaning we missed Round Texel again. Gill immediately told me: "this only means we will be back next year, because one day I definately want to sail the Round!" :-D

Round Texel: see you next year!

Gaastra North Sea Series

We had 2 great days of sailing during the Gaastra North Sea Series. Alot of boats, very tight racing. And up untill the last race we were fighting for the first place with Philip. He won.... :-(
Our match racing skills definately need to improve!! ;-)

Some cool pictures:

Let's catch up!

It has been a while since we have posted recent news here. We have been very busy with sailing and training and traveling. But now we're back :-) You are warned: a number of posts of past events will follow shortly one after another. So for a quiet summer reading: sit back and enjoy our stories!