Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Dutch Oven Day 3

On Day 3 of the Dutch champs and the Abn Ambro North Sea regatta- racers arrived to the to the beach at mid morning for the first possible at 10:30.
The waiting game begins!

The other sailing fleets were send out and began racing by late morning.
By noon, the sun was amazingly intense with most windsurfers finding some shade on the beach.

Others on the beach, took advantage of the all the sun they could get on this unseemingly like summer Dutch Day!

In old school style, the regatta is run off the beach with most competitors setting up their trailers and rigging area on the sand with the catamaran sailors a 100m up from the waters edge.

A fun race was scheduled for 12:30 with the light shifty breeze still blowing offshore.
(Read massive holes with the occasional 8-10k)

It was a good exercise in patience as it took several attempts to get going in the real light stuff.

By mid afternoon the breeze started to swing around to the NE and increase in velocity.
A windward, leeward course was set with the windward mark just to leeward off the Scheveningen Pier.
The fleet managed a few attempts to start, restart, and restart again with multiple general recalls despite the 1 minute rule on most starts. With the breeze in the low teens, most of the fleet was planning off the line and we got 2 races in. I showed some moments of brilliance, flying off the line, port tacking the fleet at the pin end in race 2. (See first 5 seconds on video link below.) The IFJU fin felt great with the mast in the front 3/4 of the track. I was running it further back on Saturday but things felt a bit draggier. I took note where the leaders were sailing theirs and eventually moved my settings forward. I havnt found the sweet spot yet but think its getting closer.
The rest of the race was a gamble. I managed to sail in several holes around the course and get stuck for few minutes as the fleet passed. Of course, the smart sailors usually aware of things and don't sail into holes! Consistently up in front was Adri Keet, NED 34, Dennis Littel NED 13 and Adriaan van Rijselberghe NED 2

Seems the early afternoon flood tide combined with the opposing light breeze was finally too much and sailors drifted back to the beach again to wait.

By 4:30 the sea breeze finally kicked in and the fleet was sent back out on the water as the wind and sea state increased to onshore conditions. Most of the fleet was still on their light air set ups, including myself with a powerful 11.8 and soft 70 cm fin. I scrambled to make the start as I already de-rigged for the day- giving up on any chance of the wind arriving.

I dont remember too many of the particulars in the last 2 races except that my head was out of it as I sailed around the course overpowered. I made some stupid mistakes at the lay-lines, with the cross currents ,which put me back in the middle of the fleet on both races. Up in front again was Denis, Adri, and Adrien who took the podium at the end of the day.

Still though I was able to learn a lot at this regatta about my equipment and it was a good tune up for next months Grand Prix race in Poland. In weeks ahead, Ill be trying out some wider booms as well as trying to get the light air setup going strong.

Thanks to Jan deJong for the photos- the originals can be found here.

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