Tuesday, May 29, 2018

J/Doublehanded Crews Sweep North Sea Regatta!

J/122E AJETO crew- John van der Starre and Robin VerhoefElsink Dominates J/80s, Holtrop Tops J/22s
(Scheveningen, The Netherlands)- The North Sea Regatta completed the “inshore” portion of its ten-day long event.  Hosted by the Jachtclub Scheveningen, the North Sea Regatta is the largest event hosted in the Netherlands each year for a host of one-design classes (like J/22s and J/80s) and offshore ORC/IRC classes.

The event kicked off on May 8th with the Vuurschepen Race, a North Sea Regatta Feeder Race that goes from the starting line off The Hague (Scheveningen) and goes across the North Sea to Harwich in the United Kingdom.  After a two-day layover, the fleet raced back in the RORC North Sea Race from Harwich to The Hague.  After a short breather, all keelboats including the J/22 and J/80 classes sailed from May 18th to 20th, Friday to Sunday on all inshore, round-the-buoy courses.

J/122E Ajeto winning North Sea RaceDay One- May 18th
It was a nice first race day today. The wind was stable with 10 to 12 knots. Three beautiful races could be sailed. With 60 boats on course A divided into 4 classes and 60 boats on course B also divided into 4 classes, it was great racing for all.

Starting the 4 classes directly after each other, occasionally a general recall in between, the sailors had to pay attention not to miss their class’s turn to start. With a current that ran from North to South and the wind coming from the North, it was difficult to exactly time the starting line. In the first race of the event, all the teams had to get used to the circumstances. By the second race, you already notice that it was going a lot better, and the third it was like you had never done otherwise.

J/109 sailing North Sea RaceDay Two- May 19th
The starting boat for course A left the harbor early to get into position and to assess offshore conditions. The weather was a little gray and little wind, too little to start well and be able to lay out a good race course. The postponement flag (answering pennant) was hoisted. The first start was planned at 10:00. After a long hour of waiting, there was enough wind for to start. The IRC/ORC Two Handed Class started at 11:30 with a coastal race.

Day Three- May 20th
Waking up you had to check whether the boat next to you was still there because of the thick fog, usually a sign of little wind. The starting boat of course A quickly powered outside into the thick fog to assess whether the sailing yachts should go out for the races. Offshore it seemed good, but once all boats were out, it was difficult for the starting boat to find them. After an hour of waiting, a nice coastal course for J/109 sailing North Sea Regattathe IRC/ORC Two-handed Class was laid out and their fleet started at 1100 hrs sharp.  Thereafter, it was impossible to start the other classes since you could not see the finish marks!  So, racing was canceled for the day.

In the ORC/IRC Two-handed Class, it was a sweep of the podium by the leading all-star J/crews!  Winning class was none other than the most famous Dutch two-handed team; Robin Verhoef & John van der Starre’s J/122E AJETO. Their sistership took the silver, Chris Revelman & Pascal Bakker’s J/122 JUNIQUE/ RAYMARINE.  Completing the sweep in the bronze position was Wim van Slooten & Jochem Hamstra’s J/109 FIRESTORM!

Afterwards, Robin Verhoef from the J/122E AJETO commented, “A wonderful closure of two weeks great sailing in the North Sea Regatta! For us, it was the 3rd time in a row to win the Dutch Two-handed Championship! In spite of today's fog, we still managed to J/22 sailing North Sea regattafind all the marks and our fifth race in a row! AJETO is amazing, a great boat!”

In the ORC/IRC 2 Class, it was Alain Bornet’s J/109 JAI ALAI that took second place.  And, in the ORC Sportboats, Rikst Dijkstra’s J/70 NED 964 placed third in their fifteen-boat class.

In the world of one-designs, it was Auke Holtrop’s NED 1223 that won the J/22 class with crew of Lotte Brasser, Sipke de Man, and Janneke Kampherbeek.  Second was NED 1514, skippered by Jesper Overbeeke with crew of Christiaan Feij, and Michelle Koopmans; it was a struggle for them to overcome a DNF and DSQ.  Third, just one point back, was NED 1295, J/80 sailing North Sea regattahelmed by Dirk Jan Verdoorn with crew of Rosemarijn Verdoorn, Liselotte Verdoorn, and Kim Bos.

It was Nick Elsink’s J/80 NED 1137 that dominated their class with his crew of Jildau Horst, Pascal Meijer, and Wouter Toornstra.  Second place saw Otte Jan Golverdingen’s NED 838 crew of PP de Vries, Yves de Block, and Hans Edwin de Bruin win a tie-breaker on 17 pts each over Gerwin Jansen’s NED 8905 team of Douwe Broekens, Jolbert van Dijk, and Wouter Sonnema.  Sailing photo credits- Sander van der Borsch
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