The first Dutch 'A' Cat open, since the Worlds, was a chance for friends to catch up and to put into practice what was learned at Medemblik. Kees Krijger reports.
A-Catweekend at Sea – Vrouwenpolder – Catclub Zeeland.
Since 2009 Catclub Zeeland organizes regattas for the Dutch A-Cat Association (DACA), because 20 members of this club own an A-Class. Most of these A-Cats sail on the Veerse Meer location, especially in the beginning and at the end of the season. During summer a number of them go to the North Sea location in Vrouwenpolder, to enjoy the waves and the tides.
In recent years Jaap Straakenbroek (3*), Roeland Wentholt and Sjoerd Hoekstra won this event, resp. with 13, 16 and 11 competitors.
This year 19 A-Cats were competing in Vrouwenpolder including one Frenchmen, three Belgians, two Germans and thirteen Dutchmen.
Emmanuel Dodé and Rutger Krijger were expected to be the main contenders for winning this event, because of their results in Medemblik at the Worlds, resp. 15th and 20th place.
Saturday gave cloudy conditions with 8-12 knots in the early afternoon, Rutger Krijger won the first race, Emmanuel Dodé on his DNA F1 was a bit late for the first start and did not manage to get through the fleet explaining his ninth place in the first race. A few days earlier he competed at the F16 Worlds in Duinbergen/Belgium in a Bimare F16 and finished in 8th place. The 2nd race was also won by Rutger, the third race was won by Emmanuel by quite some margin with Rutger having to untangle himself from his boat after a bad tack at the first upwind mark . In the last race of the day the breeze dropped to 5-8 knots with foiling not always possible, Rutger and Jaap Straakenbroek managed to get onto the foils on a big part of the downwind legs to extend on the fleet with Rutger in 1st and Jaap in 2nd . Emmanuel was struggling to get the boat onto the foils in the lighter breeze resulting in a 10th place.
At the end of Saturday Rutger was leading with Vision test Pilot Jaap Straakenbroek a solid second place overall on a Vision converted with Exploder boards and rudders.
Jaap showed good performance downwind with stable rides in spite of the waves, upwind he was struggling a bit though. Philippe Muyzers did very well with a third place overall on his Vision with C-boards. Downwind Philippe is quick with some very good “wild thing” and “mild thing” skills.
After a great evening barbecue in beautiful sunshine, the sailors went to bed to arrive back on Sunday expecting a very light air day, with only 4 to 7 knots of breeze forecasted. In the morning it was indeed very light, with one sailor even deciding to go home. However as soon as the committeeboat of Nico Veenman was on the water, a nice seabreeze arrived and the wind picked up to 10-14 knots.
In perfect sailing conditions, Emmanuel on his DNA F1 sailed to two bullets with good starts and very good upwind and downwind speed. The last race was won by Rutger, who led this race from the start to finish except on the 3rd upwind leg where he had a trapeze issue and Emmanuel overhauled him. On the final downwind a nice foiling battle followed with Rutger managing to get back into the lead and finish first.
Gert-Jan Kos had to stop on Sunday because of a broken rudderpin, but scored some nice results on Saturday, scoring 8, 3, 4 and 5.
Robbert Kant becomes better and better in foiling, but too often pleases the other sailors with his waterspraying activities on the wire.|
In sailing time the foilers Emmanuel and Rutger were mostly 7 or 8 minutes ahead of the first C-boards, sometimes more than 25 minutes before the latest finishers.
Caroline van Beelen, partner of Rutger, also did very well in 7th overall with great downwind speed, beating Yvonne Nieboer in 11th and thus reversing the results in the worlds, where Yvonne finished in 4th place in the Silver fleet.
Organizer of the weekend, Kees Krijger, also had some personal highlights by scoring a third and fifth place at the first windwark mark.
The podium after seven races consists of three foilers:
1. Rutger Krijger – DNA 2015
2. Emmanuel Dodé – DNA F1
3. Jaap Straakenbroek - Vision
After the prizegiving many positive reactions were given to regatta officer Nico Veenman and his wife Astrid. One remark from Wim Plokker is important for the competitors of next year; “Sailing and staying on the beach of Vrouwenpolder feels like a holiday”.
Hope to see you all next year!
Pictures by Jan van Gorsel.