What a great event this year’s North Sea Regatta (http://www.nsr.nl) turned out to be. It started for me with sailing with my old team from Harwich (UK) to Scheveningen in de RORC North Sea Race and finishing second. The Eclectic team (http://sailing.eclectic.eu) then went on to win the first day of the inshores (first wins of the boat and team) and performed well throughout the entire series from Friday through this Whitsun Monday to grab the overall victory in IRC1-class (21 boats, including 7 out of 9 Dutch Commodores’ Cup boats). Congrats to them and I am very very happy for them and feel quite pleased I’ve contributed a tiny bit to that victory as well.
For me the NSR was more about bobsledding as I was substitute bowman on the English X35 ‘Cool Runnings’ on invitation of Al Risk, Tom Whitburn and Jochem Visser. Leaving Southampton on Thursday and with some tuning up on Friday morning the entire team seemed pretty ready for three days of racing. Since Monday wasn’t a bank holiday in the UK the team did not participate in the last day of the event, but more on that later.
Friday morning and the conditions were picture perfect: sunny, warm and consistent breeze in the mid teens (that is around 15 knots, ~4 beaufort) and 18 boats of the same design. The team consisted of:
Myself on the bow, Jochem Visser (tactics), Al Risk in the middle of the boat, Tom Whitburn and Sam Richmond trimming the headsails, Jeremy Smart on mainsail, Mark Richmond helming and Thorkild Juncker (owner). All very capable people (well apart from myself obviously).
Two races on Friday and although the competition is tough in the class, we managed to get two bullets (first places) to not only grab the lead for the overall score, but also win the ‘Houtrust Races’. Saturday and the conditions were a bit tougher with very light and flucky winds. only two of the three scheduled races could be started and again the boat was sailing at the top of the class scoring a fourth and a third, losing a bit of our leading gab but still very much in control. Sunday was the final day for the team and with three races, packing up the boat and getting to the airport in time it was a busy day. Luckily the conditions were better than on Saturday and three races could be started within a reasonable time. The first race went really well and the third bullet was put on the scoreboard followed by another fourth and third. With three bullets, two thirds and two fourths the regatta ended for the team and a five point lead overall was still in place but the team lost the ‘Yeoman Challenge’ by two points (only the scores of Saturday and Sunday counted towards the challenge). When Monday came, the guys from ‘Cool Runnings’ were busy with other things (as was I) but since only one race got sailed we managed to stay on the podium without starting the final day.
For the team it was a good tune-up regatta and for myself it was an awesome experience to sail with such a group of guys in such a competitive One-Design fleet. I wish them all the best on their way to the World Championships later this year. For me it is time to spend my weekends on studying, the end of the year is closing in fast and it is not going to be easy in these last couple of weeks (but I’m expecting to keep enjoying it all).
Here are some photos of the team from the racing over the weekend, the photos are by Richard de Jonge and can be found on the regatta website (http://www.nsr.nl):