After several years of increasing numbers of participants, the Dutch Open reached an all time high in terms of participating teams. And among them many top teams. Of course NED 412, team Heerema as defending champion. Pieter, Lars and Claus are well prepared after the win of the Danish Open and their second place during the Dragon Gold Cup in Helsinki.
The Yanmar Racing Team, helmed by former helmsman of the Australian America’s Cup team, Peter Gilmour, his son Sam (Olympian Moth sailer) and the Japanese former Americas Cup sailor Yasuhiro Yaji is well prepared for Dutch shifty winds and choppy swells after several tuning races with team NED 316 at the Westeinder.
NED 411 of Charlotte and Juliette ten Wolde with Pedro Andrade in the ‘engine room’ and Janka Holan on the fore deck are present after their participation in several Grade 1 Events , the Europeans in Hungary and the Dragon Gold Cup in Helsinki.
GBR 770 of the Brown Family is back at the IJsselmeer, and so is Stavros with his “Full Speed” GBR 585. Top helmswoman Gavia Wilkinson-Cox and her team of four is also looking forward to experience the IJsselmeer chops. As she said after day 1: “chop….chop…chop…bang !”. From Belgium the teams BEL 80 and BEL 79 are expected to perform in the top ten, however we have to realise that those teams are true Belgium-Dutch teams.
BEL 80 with Pier de Iong as middle man
Our class is also very happy to see Bram de Wilde back in the fleet with his cold moulded NED 311. We missed him (but stayed tuned) during his periode of medical treatment.
Also to be mentioned is that the majority of the Dutch local fleets (Westeinder Lake, Alkmaardermeer, Muiden, Zeeland and De Kaag) is present, even when regular team members were not available due to work, like NED 345. BRAVO !
We also have to complement the less experienced teams in the Dutch fleet who joined the 2018 OPEN to enjoy the sailing in this fleet and to breath the positive energy of the Dutch class. We do hope that our new and old friends from abroad will experience the same feeling.
Racing Day 1 (6 September)
It was a day with low clouds and some rain rolling in from the North East. Wind around 10 – 15 knots. The typical day to battle with the IJsselmeer chop. The sailors had to find the right ‘groove’ to dance with the short waves and to anticipate the oscillating wind to keep the speed in the boat. Constant small trim changes to give air to the sails or to help the boat in lifting is the secret in tune with small helm movements. It requires constant & full concentration. TOP SPORT !
At noon sharp PRO John Borsboom and his team had the fleet on its way in one clean start under U-flag. Smart move, John.
During a rather straight race, the top ten behind winner NED 412, sorted itself. The Brown family with GBR 770 showed their experience in those conditions with a solid 2nd, with the Yanmar Racing Team on their tail as 3rd. NED 411 also put their mark with a 4th position, followed by team Bakker (NED 422) as 5th.
The second race started as well under U-flag, without an individual recall. There was a discussion after the races if this race should have been delayed due to a series on incoming low clouds. But the local weather point of view of the RC was clear. They will keep on coming in. So deal with it en get on with racing. An approach that was fully supported by Peter Gilmour. He concluded to start at the pin end, where he found NED 422, NED 411 and GBR 585 with Stavros in his company. This start definitely payed off. With a substantial lead JPN 56 became the winner of race 2. And they finally had found the ‘groove’ for the IJsselmeer. The Yanmar officials and their guests who were on the spectator boats provided a well deserved applause for their team.
NED 422 sailed also a solid race from the start finishing 2nd.
In the final beat the heat was on. Pieter Heerema had slowly but slowly regained on the leading pack after the start and was in 5th position at the down wind gate. In approaching the finish line he tack to starboard of the line away from NED 411 and GBR 585. Exactly at the spot to tack, he tacked to the finish to arrive on starboard at the stern of the committee boat. With some nose lengths difference he became 3rd before NED 411 (4th) and GBR 585 (5th).
(The fly deck of the Grand Banks is a great spot to see what is happening in the fleet)
Racing Day 2 (7 September)
The Yanmar Racing Team Party, offered by Yanmar Netherlands to all participants and invited clients from Yanmar was a superb warming up after race day 1. It provided the ingredients for chatting with old friends, to meet new Dragon friends and to down load the stress of racing. What happened after the party with team BEL 79 and BEL 80 is to be guessed, but it must have given them a boost for racing during day 2.
The weather on day 2 was typical Dutch cold front polar airflow with serious showers and strong gusty wind, especially during the showers. Welcome in Medemblik ! Where the saying is: this kind of sailing weather makes the difference between men and boys. Like a mistral in the MED or an Atlantic low arriving in Cascais.
It was in February this year in Cascais during strong wind and high waves where no 4 of the NED 411, Janka Holan, was baptised as a Dragon crew member. During race 3 in Medemblik NED 411 experienced a serious condition when after a tack in a gust the runner was blocked and the main could not be released. Perdro was afraid things could have been worse when the boat took a lot of water on board. However Janka thought it was all part of the fun. We have to admire those fearless Dragon sailors!
NED 411 with Charlotte, Juliette, Janka and Pedro, chased by the team NED 412
Day 2 was for some boats a day of bad luck. Olivier Bakker, one of the best Dutch sailors who knows how to read the wind, was rather frustrated about the wind direction coming out of one shower. Their choice to ride this shower didn’t work out as predicted. The 26th place is one for the discard, that will be applied after race 5. The winner of the day was BEL 79 followed by BEL 80. The fresh air must have worked very well for the ‘foggy’ heads of the night before…..With a 1 and a 3 they became the leaders of the fleet after day 2. NED 412 still has a solid 2nd ‘overall’ after an 11 and a 1 on day 2 followed by JPN 56 who were ‘frozen’ after this day with a 6 and a 12. Gavia Wilkinson-Cox became friends with the IJsselmeer and scored a 3 and a 5, standing 4 overall followed by the Brown family.
It’s going to be interesting on day 3!
NED 411 at full speed
Racing Day 3 ( 8 September)
The forecast was OK but not to be applauded. A westerly airflow and an occlusion was to be expected with some showers and shifty winds. Bf 4 up to 18 knots in gusts. Race 5 had an ‘all clear’ start with an upwind leg of 1.8 nm.
The leaders of the fleet, NED 412 and JPN 56 showed their leadership with a 2 and a 1 in race 5 and a 3 and 4 in race 6.
The leaders ahead of the fleet
As for the middle of the fleet and the last ten to twelve it is worth while to analyse their results. Everyone has his/her own place in the fleet during a season……and always more or less the same competitors in the neigbourhood to be beaten.
start of race 6
A beautiful sky with cold air summer clouds and sunshine between the clouds was the panorama for race 6. Michiel van Dis (NED 432) was full speed at the line at the gun. So…full speed he went off. With relative short tacks in the middle (most likely on the shifts) he spurted forward in clean air. With Stavros on his tail he kept on going until the end where he was confronted with a disqualification. U-flagged. So was NED 411 for the second time in a day. Someone later asked: shouldn’t Michiel be intercepted by the RC and send off the course before the top mark ? It must have been the beautiful sailing weather that was on his side to complete the race as no 1 over the line and no point. But it was Stavros’s lucky day. His no. 2 became a 1.
NED 432: from 1 to 43
Racing Day 4 (9 September)
With one final race to go and Pieter Heerema in the overall lead with 6 points ahead of Peter Gilmour, it could have become a thrilling final. Again a clean start at 11 hrs sharp.
Like his routine, NED 422 made his start full speed at the pin end. Pieter Heerema started in the middle where Peter Gilmour had chosen to go to the right. Evelyne Bakker (spouse and mother of the men on board NED 422) had already predicted that her men would win today. Now she was certain that her men would win. And indeed, Jan consolidated his position while the NED 412 came closer and closer. Even the offensive tacking of NED 412 to pull the NED 422 out of his comfort zone, was not successful. Jan must have seen his wife at the finish and went strait on.
Line honors for NED 422
Jan Bakker made no mistakes and had the line honours for the last race. NED 412 passed the line as 2nd and was certain that the championship 2018 was in their pockets. WELL SAILED !!
With Stavros (GBR 585) finishing 3rd it was JPN 56 that was challenged by BEL 80 prior to the finish. Peter Gilmour did not make mistakes either and finished 4 with BEL 80 as 5th. The 9th position was just enough for BEL 79 to retain his overall 3rd place.
Operation ‘cold beer’ for the champion unfortunately failed.
The intended beer run for the NED 412 along the Grand Banks to celebrate their victory was not a success. Only one out of three beer cans was bulls eye. The other two for improving the quality of the local fish population.
With sunny skies and many dinghies sailors at the water training and dreaming to become champions as well, the fleet sailed home for a smooth crane operation.