Last weekend the Belgian Nationals took place in Oostduinkerke, the West Coast of Belgium. It was a combined event with the F18 nationals. This way we could have as many boats on the starting line as possible. Weather predictions were very favorable: we would have the last Belgian summer day on Saturday with 12-18 knots from the South (meaning no waves) and a chilly Sunday with light winds from the North. Predictions were almost right
On Saturday all teams arrived at the beach around 10 o’clock to rig their boats and to make sure everything was tuned in for the correct wind conditions. Sun was shining and 52 boats were lining up at the start! 19 of these 52 boats were F16 teams, what a great turn-out! A lot of Dutch teams came over for this event in Belgium and also some French teams. Great to see all these F16 sailors!
First start was at 13h. All 52 boats were very eager to start and we had our first general recall. In total 3 races were sailed on Saturday and every starting procedure had a general recall with a black flag start afterwards. We even managed to get a general recall with the black flag start, very pushy fleet!
3 races were sailed, each consisting of 3 laps. Around 15 knots of wind, but very shifty due to the land wind. Almost no waves and quite some current. On day 1 in the F16 fleet the youth teams were showing their sailing skills again. Henri Demesmaeker (Viper) won the first race of that day and Philip Hendrickx (Falcon) won the 2 last races of that day. Other youth teams performing well: Stef Haazen (Falcon) and Sanne Wielenga (Nacra).
During the 4th starting procedure starting was suddenly cancelled. We all sailed back to shore and luckily all boats made it back in time before a big storm hit shore. Suddenly a Force 7 wind out of the North was stirring up the sea.
We all tied down our boats and took cover in the beach club were pasta was served. This was a great first day of this Belgian Nationals. We had sunshine, nice winds, 3 races and a big fleet to race with. Everybody went to sleep happily and wondering what the next day would bring. Prediction was for very light winds so we hoped we would manage to sail some more races.
Day 2 started very cold, with still a lot of wind leftover from the previous day’s storm. Blowing out of the North the sea reminded me of Round Texel. Launching trough the surf with the wind head on would probably be a bit challenging. Start was at 11 o’clock so all competitors would be able to drive back home in time. Racing committee did an outstanding job really pushing the starts one right after the other. This way we managed to sail another 4 races on Sunday. Wind was not as predicted. We could still double trap most of the time and the waves made it even more challenging. You really had to keep the pressure on to drive through the waves. Also today the fleet decided they wanted to practice their starts: 3 general recalls out of 4 races. Youth teams Philip and Henri knew this day would be the battle between the 2 of them, they are a real match. First race was won by Philip. Second race by Henri. Third race by Philip and the last race was won by Henri. Returning at the beach both teams did not know who would be the winner of this event. They had a photo finish and so the mystery remained until the price giving: very exciting! Price giving revealed that Philip Hendrick and Filip Olyslaeger (Falcon) were the big winners of the Belgian Nationals F16 2014, congratulations! Also congratulations to the other 2 youth teams taking 2nd place (Henri Demesmaeker and Emile Van Holsbeke, Viper) and 3rd place (Stef Haazen and Stijn Van daele, Falcon).
Top 5 Belgian F16 Nationals
1/Philip Hendrickx/Filip Olyslaeger – Falcon – 8pts
2/Henri Demesmaeker/Emile Van Holsbeke – Viper – 9pts
3/Stef Haazen/Stijn Van daele – Falcon – 18pts
4/Aurélie Van Schoote/Thomas Vandenbossche – Falcon – 29pts
5/Gill De Bruyne/Kathleen Vandenbulcke – Falcon – 32pts
Full results can be found here: http://sycod.be/mediastorage/FSDocument/36/Results_OCB_-F18-F16-C3.pdf