Tuesday, July 17, 2018

VW De Twee Provincien Wins @ Aalsmeer

J/70 woman crew on Dutch sailing league teamWV Almere Centraal Leads Dutch J/70 Sailing League Series
(Aalsmeer, Netherlands)- On the Westeinderplassen in Aalsmeer, the third act of the Eredivisie Sailing (the Dutch J/70 National Sailing League) took place over a gorgeous summer weekend of sailing on the lake for the fifteen teams from across the Netherlands. Mother nature did not make it easy for them; a variable wind forced the Race Committee to change the course in almost every race to make a fair race possible. And, that is how it went for the rest of the weekend.  Light and variable in the morning and hoping the afternoon seabreeze would kick in faster.

J/70 Dutch women sailing league off Aalsmeer, NetherlandsLeading after the first day with three straight bullets was WV Almere Centraal. Willem Jan van Dort, skipper of WV Almere Centraal explains, "These are difficult conditions today, with many unexpected wind shifts on the track. We realize that you could literally win or lose a race in the last few meters before the finish, because of the many williwaws on the track. We made reasonable good starts, but were not always the best. Then, it is a nice battle to continue to sail forward in the field. But, good defense is also important, because today the difference is made on a tactical level. Tomorrow will not be different, as they again predict light weather, so it will be exciting again!"

Day two was set to start on time at 0900 hours, however sailing was postponed due to a lack of wind.  By midday, the breeze filled in and the race committee managed to run twelve more races on Saturday, bringing the total number of races to twenty-one.

It was an exciting day on the water. For a long time WV Almere Centraal seemed to hold their lead firmly in their hands, but in the last race they finished last and eventually fell to second place on the leaderboard. Jachtclub Scheveningen managed to pass the reigning champion with a few victories and a second place.

Women sailing J/70s in The NetherlandsTom Kerkhof from Jachtclub Scheveningen explains their position enthusiastically, "We are happy to be in first place. We had a good start today with two first places. Then, we suddenly finished last, which shows that you should never think you are too confident. Fortunately, we were able to finish with a 2nd place in the last race and, thus, take the lead in the rankings. We look forward to tomorrow!"

Jachtclub Scheveningen battled hard and took over the lead from WV Almere Centraal, sitting atop the leaderboard with 15 points total. Behind them, three teams were tied on 16 pts each- WV Almere Centraal, RR&ZV Maas & Roer (Roermond), and the women’s SHE SAILS team sailing for the International Yacht Club Amsterdam.

The last day was epic, battles all over the race course and it was never clear until the last flight and set of races when the winner was determined.  And, to keep everyone breathless with anticipation until the end, the winners and the balance of the top five were determined on tie-breakers!  Talk about an anxiety-ridden day!  Every tack, every gybe, every spinnaker set and takedown was crucial to extract every millimeter of advantage to get consistent scores.

Women J/70 SHE SAILS sailing teamSunday started just like the previous two days: a weak variable wind that forced the 15 sailing teams to wait for the side. Race leader Alex Hoeve had already put everything in position to be able to sail immediately as soon as the wind allowed. Around 11:30 the first race could be started and it soon became clear that the wind attracted a lot and a sailing spectacle could be expected. Nine races were squeezed out on Sunday, where sailing team VWDTP managed to win three times in a row in their races. The Amsterdam ladies were on the same course, but left precious points in their last race and thus lost the highest step on the podium. Almere Central managed to keep up after a restless Saturday with varying results and eventually became overall third.

Skipper of the winning VWDTP team- Arthur Kluppel- said enthusiastically: "It feels fan-tas-tic to win this event! It has been a real reward for working. Friday we started too cautiously and at that moment were leaving points in the light weather. As a team, we then agreed to take more risks at the start and in the runway. From that moment on, we sailed no fewer than 6 first places! Laying down after a start is disastrous, you will no longer make up for that because of the high level of the sailing teams. In the results, you see that well back, the points are awfully close together. Until the last moment, it was the bottom pinching for us. The Amsterdam ladies could still pass us in the overall ranking if they had finished their last race just a bit better! "

Women sailing J/70s in The NetherlandsThe Groningers and Almere Centraal will sail the 2nd semi-final of the Sailing Champions League from 3 to 6 August against the best international teams from the comparable international competition. "We are curious how we can relate to this force field, we are going to see it! But winning this round of games in Aalsmeer on the way to the semi-finals gives a lot of confidence. We will train for another weekend and then do our utmost in Russia! "

Perhaps the most notable performance of the entire weekend was the women’s SHE SAILS team sailing for International Yacht Club Amsterdam.  The nailed four 1sts in a row and nearly pulled off the overall win, much to the delight of their wildly cheering fans!

J/70 Netherlands winners podium“We were right there! But, it just did not turn out for us at the last minute! But, we finally succeeded in getting onto the podium! We had good boat handling and tactics this weekend and the team also managed to switch well and anticipate the circumstances. At the beginning of the weekend, our results were also somewhat variable, but we started to sail more consistently, with a few nice victories. Unfortunately, we did not cash in on the gold medal during the last race. We were in a huge fight with WV De Meeuwen on the water in the last race. If we had not had this battle, we might have ended up a place higher and won the regatta.  However, we are very happy with our 2nd place,” commented a happy and smiling Fettje Osinga.

Women's SHE SAILS sailing team- 2nd in Aalsmeer, NetherlandsThe women’s SHE SAILS teams ended up tied on points at 21 pts each with VW De Twee Provincien, losing the tie-breaker on the countback based on most 1sts.  Third place went to the defending Dutch J/70 Sailing League champions- WV Almere Centraal with 22 points.  The balance of the top five was also determined on a tie-breaker on 23 pts each, with WV De Meeuwen (Leeuwarden) taking 4th and Jachtclub Scheveningen finishing 5th.

As a result of the Aalsmeer regatta, WV Almere Centraal continues to lead the overall standings after three events with a total of 56 pts (low point scoring, all races count).  Just one point back in 2nd is RR&ZV Maas & Roermond and sitting in 3rd is Jachtclub Scheveningen with 58 pts.  Never has one regatta and the overall standings been so close in the history of the Dutch J/70 Sailing League- it’s exciting, close racing as all the teams have raised their game to a much higher, and more consistent, level.   Watch the interview of the SHE SAILS Women’s team on Facebook here   Sailing photo credits- Jasper van Staveren
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