Tuesday, May 22, 2012

J/Teams Sail Epic Vuurschepen Race

J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER sailing upwind off The Hague, Netherlands (The Hague, Netherlands)- The traditional opening event for the North Sea Regatta is the Vuurschepen Race from Scheveningen, Netherlands to Harwich, England- a distance of only 110 nautical miles across the northern parts of La Manche (the English Channel).

This year's race was an epic challenge for all fifty teams sailing.  The forecast was just plain ugly.  Strong NW winds 20-30 knots gusting up to 50 knots in squalls, cold, wet and monstrous, breaking seas.  The starts for all classes went off fine, with the J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER sailed by John van de Starre and Robin Verhoef and the J/122 JUNIQUE skippered by Chris Revelman both getting solid positions on the fleet to lead them away from the waterfront of The Hague.  As forecast, the winds were a steady 20-25 knots gusting higher.  Amongst the starters were Global Ocean Race sailor Yvonne Beusker, skipper of the J/105 PANTHER.

J/109 sailing start of Delta Lloyd North Sea RegattaAfter taking a beating sailing across the southern parts of the infamous North Sea, mostly renowned for producing 10-15 foot "chop" instead of long, rolling seas or swell, the various J/Teams managed to sail fast and safely to just about sweep the top 10 places overall in IRC Division.  In fact, J sailors took 7 of the Top 10 in IRC Overall, plus taking 2nd and 3rd in IRC 2, 1st in IRC 3 and 1st in IRC Double-handed.  Of the fifty-two boats that finished, eight boats dropped out due to crew sickness, torn sails or broken equipment!

J/109 Yeti sailing off Hague, Netherlands in North Sea RegattaIn the largest and most competitive class in the race, IRC 2 with eleven boats, the J/Teams took 6 of the top seven places!  That's quite a showing across the board, ranging from J/105s up to the J/122.  Second in IRC 2 and 4th overall was the J/109 YETI sailed by Paul Van der Pol, they finished at 12:35 CEST on Wednesday.  Third in class and 5th overall was the J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER sailed by the Fastnet Team of John Van de Starre and Robin Verhoef, they had the honor of being the first J/Team across the line at 11:37 CEST on Wednesday.  Fourth in class and sixth overall was the J/109 CAPTAIN JACK skippered by Burt Visser.  Fifth class and 7th overall was the  J/122 JUNIQUE sailed by Chris Revelman.  Sixth class and 8th overall was the J/109 ARETHUSA raced by Kees Mijs.  Seventh in class and 10th overall was the J/105 PANTHER sailed by Yvonne Beusker and Edith Voskamp.

In the IRC 3 Class, first in class and 9th overall was the J/105 HARPOEN sailed by Harry Rek.  Finally, the winner of the IRC 2H Doublehanded division was the J/122 JUNIQUE sailed by Chris Revelman.

After the finish, the sailors will certainly enjoy their day of rest in Harwich, hosted by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club in Woolverstone. After much camaraderie and celebration over their collective successes on Ascension Day the sailors will surely be enjoying their lunch in The "Butt and Oyster" pub at Pin Mill.  After a good night's sleep, the sailors will be back at it again on Friday.  On Friday, they hop aboard again and go back across "La Manche" (the Channel) in the RORC North Sea Race back to Holland!  We wish them all fair winds and following seas this time!   For more Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta sailing and "live-tracking" information