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Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta - An exciting fight at the top

by Diana Bogaards on 20 May 2013
Heemskerk/Tentij scoring bullets in the F18 class Sander van der Borch ©
The third day of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta showed in some classes an exciting fight at the top, resulting in new leaders. Front-runners in other classes consolidated their first position. It was a good sailing day with sunshine an a little more wind than predicted. This morning, the breeze came from the Northeast with some ten knots. In the course of the day and according to the weather forecast, it turned to the North and picked up.

Rescue boats had a busy day on the catamaran and One Design courses. A few Javelins and Contenders capsized and one cat sailor fell overboard. He was quickly rescued and brought back to his boat. The chilly easterly winds in combination with the cold water made the tiring conditions for competitors. At the end of the day, however, the sailors returned tired but satisfied to the harbour. Tomorrow is the last racing day. The IRC and ORC classes will sail a long course, that counts for the overall results. Fleet races are scheduled for the other classes.

The Soulmate of Leon Westhoeve took over the lead from the Skarp in the ORC1, but things did not go smoothly today. 'It was a stressful day', says Westhoeve. 'Just before the first gun, our mainsail ripped from the front to the back. Normally we have our car with all spare sails parked on the quay, but because my wife is heavily pregnant, she has the car at home. We therefore acted very quickly. I called and asked her to bring the mainsail and in the meantime we rushed to the harbour. Possible speeding tickets did not matter me. Dressed in our sailing gear we ran to the entrance of the regatta village, got her in and threw the sail on board. Off we went. It looked like a Le Mansstart. We were just in time for the second race. Because we had missed the first one, we had no discard anymore, so it was make or break for the rest of the day. Luckily we sailed two bullets again. We have a high boat speed and good handling. There are some technical sailors on board, who can trim the most out of the boat. But even though we score wins, we learn every match again. We took no risks in today's last race. We were leading and simply hoisted the storm spinnaker, because we did not want to make mistakes.'

The Schaap Shipcare of Dirk Jan Verdoorn shows in the ORC3-4 class a constant series of bullets, but sailed today also a twentieth place. The reason was a new windward mark, which was laid during the race due to a big wind shift of some thirty degrees. 'We couldn't find it', says Verdoorn laughing. 'It was a black buoy and that one isn't easy to find on the water. Finally we had to bear away a lot to round it. The whole top of the ranking finished almost last in that race. The boats behind us could see the mark better due to our new course and were suddenly in the lead. Luckily it is our discard and are we still first overall. We have a team, which sails together for some years now. Everybody takes it very seriously; we train a lot and can tune the boat very well. For instance we can gibe as many times as we like without loosing speed, that is different from a lot of boats. It doesn't matter if we have light or heavy weather. The boat planes in strong conditions, which is nice for a keel boat.'

In the F18 class Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaan Tentij are doing good business. After nine races they are in the lead with three bullets and as a worst result a ninth place, which can serve as a discard. 'We have a new set of sails on the boat', says Tentij, 'and that is one of the best sets we ever had. The spinnaker is like a rocket, downwind we are not to be stopped. Last year we had a bad season and some problems, which we solved this winter. From now on we can be competitive again. The conditions were fantastic today, but it also was a difficult day with a lot of waves. In the last race we had to deal with many wind holes and therefore it was difficult to sail the boat in a straight line and to keep up the speed continuously. Tomorrow we have three more races. I hope it will be the same as today. We are all round, so we can also sail well with light wind, but it just is fun to have a big breeze.'

On the last night of the festivities the sailors could still enjoy the North Sea Kitchen and live music of Captain Midnight Live Band. Tomorrow will be the last day of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Results here Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta

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