The multiclass 2013 Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta in The Hague/Netherlands commenced with autumn like conditions. Temperatures below normal, steady rain and high waves made it tricky for the sailors on six courses. However, the racing went smoothly, without collisions or dropouts. Due to the strong wind of the previous day, there was still a decent swell, although the breeze had already dropped to about fifteen knots. This combination made it difficult to keep up the boat speed. For all classes, there were two scheduled races today.
During the official opening ceremony, longtime organizer Frans Sluyters received a well-deserved surprise. He has already been involved in the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta for twenty-two years and this edition is going to be his last.
Max Blom, Director Magic Marine and clothing sponsor of the Delta Lloyd sailing team, interrupted Sluyters during his speech and spoke of a historic moment in the sailing history: 'Frans has developed this regatta into a gigantic event and lifted it to a level where many people would dream of.' Blom and Sluyters share the love for sailing. Blom collected himself many yachting prices, but today he introduced one that represents Sluyters' combativeness, called the 'Frans Sluyters Trophy'. Every year during the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta, Sluyters will award this special trophy of crystal and silver to someone of whom he thinks that he or she earns it.
The Swan 45 class series (five entries) started well for skipper Harm Tiddens and his crew on the Van Uden. They scored two bullets. Tiddens: 'It went nicely. During the first race we already got away in the first beat. We have Bouwe Bekking as tactician and he didn't miss one shift. He picked up everything. The others were very close to each other at the buoy, whereas we were far ahead. The second race we had a fierce battle with the Checkmate, but in the end we got away and we won. The conditions were quite tricky. There was a turbulent sea with a breeze between the eleven and fifteen knots. You can make no mistake in this class, otherwise the others will be on top of you. We sail this year with Bouwe as a tactician and Gideon Messink as coach. Bouwe brings really another gear. It is a quiet and great combi, and a pleasure to sailing with both of them.'
In the ORC1, the Skarp with skipper Erik van Vuuren proved to be strong in the offshore races. On Friday, the team added a second and a first place to their overall score so far. Van Vuuren: 'The Skarp is a thoroughbred racer with a relatively young crew. With the purchase of this boat last year, the ambition of the owner Chris Daniel increased. He decided quickly that he needed coaching and expertise on board. That is why he hired me. It was a difficult upwind leg in the first race. We didn't get any speed. In fact, we wanted to go too high. When we steered a bit lower, we started to run a little better. We have been sailing together for a few months now and you see very clearly that everyone starting to know the boat. The foundation is there, now we need to work towards the next level in order to get the most out of the Skarp. Chris is at the helm and he improves every day. That gives a boost to the team.'
The Melges 24 Team Kesbeke/Sikaof Ronald Veraar sailed a first place in the fourth race, much to his own surprise. 'The first everin this class', said Veraar.
'It went very well, usually we can't compete against the well trained teams as, for example, Mr. Henri.We have all the equipment, but we cannot make the hours they sail. The conditions were difficult. A Melges 24 needs justa few knots more wind to glide. Now, we needed to play with the waves. It was not just downwind standing in the back of the boat, cheering and gliding. Only occasionally we glided off a wave. The peakwas 15.1 knotsspeed today, that was wonderful. With this current the boats don't stay close too much, but we have seen all of them somewhere underway. This means that we all sail pretty equal. We reached the buoys with three, four boats at the same time.Our tactic was reading the current, we had to see which side would be the best. The last race that went certainly well, the plan that wethought off worked out well.'
The catamarans were on the water today for a few training races. On Saturday, they start with the serious business. Then the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta begins for them and will last until May 20. Father and Son Mitch and Jordi Booth were the best in the F18 class.
The first day of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta has been concluded in a festive way with all kinds of live music. The sailors could enjoy the festivities until late.
For the results, click here
Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta
by Diana Bogaards
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1:14 AM Sat 18 May 2013GMT
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