Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen, Peter Bowering and Joost Hou weling sailing GBR 745 the brand new Petticrow “Danish Blue” won here in Medemblik after a nerve racking last race sailed in very light winds on the final day…………. Yes indeed it required all of “The Man’s” past experience and skill to keep Holland’s Pieter Heerama NED 316 behind him in the runner’s up spot, as former World Champion and top North Sails tactician Theis Palm and third crew Willem van Walt tried everything to make up the 4pts difference between these two top boats going into the final race.
The day started with a bit of a shock for many of us as most of the boats were still arriving at the starting area as the first warning signal was fired off, on time, by Theo Smits (Race Officer)! Perhaps the majority of the fleet were still feeling the affects of a most splendid Championship Dinner hosted in the superb Castle situated in Medemblik, on the night before…. However, as it was such a light and fickle wind, Theo postponed the start just to allow everyone time to prepare themselves, clear the hangovers and get on the long start line.. It was 50/50 which way to go. So at the gun half the fleet went right and half left. “The Man” could not take it easy and sail conservatively as he already had an OCS so he knew that with Heerema only so far discarding a 7th place, it was still all to do!!!!
As the fleet neared the first windward mark, it was clear the right-hand-side had paid handsomely. The boat that gained the most was BEL 78 Thomas De Schrijver, who was first to round the top mark. Also NED 402 Jan Bakker and his two son’s Oliver and Dominic who had already won race 3, were again in great shape after having a super start and finding more breeze in their 2003 Petticrow on the starboard side of the course. These two boats had a tough battle and with the first downwind leg sensibly made much shorter due to the lack of wind, it was NED 402 who led through the gate and went on to convincingly win the race which gave the happy team 3rd place overall…
Meanwhile the race was still on for the overall Championship, as everyone of the 34 boats battled hard in this extremely light wind final race. GBR 745 was keeping a watchful eye on NED 316 as “The Man” and his team also fought to stay in the top 10. Finally they recorded a 7th place which was enough to take this prestigious title from Heerama by just 3pts… So well done to both boats for some great entertaining sailing over the four days…..
In closing I would like to thank the whole Team of the RYC Hollandia at the Medemblik Olympic Centre, for putting on such a well organised and professional regatta. The race management was of the highest standard and the whole event was a joy to be part of, so congratulations to all those involved and good luck with your 2014 Gold Cup bid 🙂
Now all eyes turn to Germany, where the European Championships soon begin in Boltenhagen. I shall be joining Uli Libor and his well organised team led by his wife Manuela, to bring you daily reports as the races unfold. Also due to the success and popularity of the Douarnenez after race video’s, Fiona Brown and I will be interviewing the race winners each day, giving all you “Armchair” sailors back home a chance to see the races through the eyes of the the very top sailors in our wonderful Dragon Class……..
Higher, Faster, Longer……………….. Stavros (NED 372).