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Magic Marine Easter Regatta 2013 - Sailing in the snow

'Magic Marine Easter Regatta 2013'    Rene Van Dijk

The Magic Marine Easter Regatta 2013 is now well under way with 220 Optimist sailors from 12 different countries facing stiff competition on the Braassemermeer in the Netherlands. After that snow, ice and temperatures around zero are not the weather conditions which cross your mind when you’re about to go sailing.

The Dutch rocking tough conditions

Light, shifty, winds made life difficult for Principal Race Officer Marijke Hasselman on day one and no races could be sailed. But on the second day of the event , light but steady north easterly breezes meant that three exciting races could be sailed through the snow flurries. After three races, it’s the Dutch Stijn Paardekoper who’s in the lead, second is Ryan Hennessay from the USA and Swedish Oscar Engstrom is in third position. The top ranked sailors has to be aware of a group of young Dutchies, who are rocking these tough conditions.

Strong competition

The committee boats are being used as icebreakers, before the boats can even go out on the water! Still, the kids are smiling and can’t wait to compete against the strong opponents from all over the world.

Starts have been very competitive and early in the day, general recalls made it necessary to switch to 'Black Flag' starts. If boats are over the line from the minute before a black flag the immediate result is disqualification. It may seem harsh, but the waiting for a restart is even worse in these bitterly cold conditions.

Sailors welfare in these conditions is a primary concern of the race team, but after the first race the sailors were still going strong so the race team decided to continue with a second race before the very welcome hot chocolate or lunch ashore.

In the meantime, the wind direction shifted and strengthened but after an hour ashore, the young sailors were ready to rumble again! So one more trip from the harbour to complete the days racing.

A young little hero from Belgium brought up the tail of a long fleet of Optimists to finish the last race and was escorted by all the committee boats back ashore. It was now time to wind up the sailors for the Easter egg search tomorrow morning.

And will the Easter Bunny visit the event site just like he did last year?

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by Fettje Osinga


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6:30 AM Sun 31 Mar 2013GMT

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