A-Cat Dutch Nationals 2016 - Kees Krijger files this report.
28 boats were entered for the Dutch Nationals held at the Hellecat Catamaranclub on the great flat waters of the Haringvliet. Quite a few competitors were practising in the days leading up to the event, providing some great training.
Light airs were forecasted for Friday with big winds forecasted for Saturday and Sunday, so during the Friday morning briefing competitors were informed the intention of the race committee was to complete 4- 5 races on Friday to be able to make it a valid championship.
The first race was started in 5-6 kts. Emmanuel Dodé on his DNA F1, Matthias Dietz on his Exploder A15 with Z10 boards and Rutger Krijger on his DNA 2015 led around the course, with Emmanuel taking the gun following a mistake by Matthias on the last downwind leg.
In the second race the wind died in the middle of the course on the first upwind leg and subsequently shifted 15 degrees to the right with several people being caught out on the left. Matthias was again leading this race until the last downwind, when he was overtaken by Frank Mauritz on his straight boarded Tool. 3rd was Caroline van Beelen on her Nikita, showing great speed in the light.
For the 3rd race the breeze picked up a little with gusts of 7-8kts making foiling possible, there were still a lot of lulls though and also some seaweed on the course making the racing quite tricky.
Mr. DNA, PJ Dwarshuis, managed to keep the boat onto the foils longest in the first downwind leg, extending on the fleet with Roeland on his DNA F1 in 2nd and Rutger in 3rd.
The 4th race gave a bit more breeze, with 8/10 kts in the gusts. A bit of weed caused trouble for some, with Rutger overhauling PJ on the last downwind in the race. Paul Larsen showed some good speed in this race, finishing in 4th, just behind Matthias.
In the 5th race on Friday the wind was gradually decreasing from 9kts at the start to 6kts in the last downwind, Arno Terra on his Exploder AD3 with soft wingsail was doing well in this race, until sailing into a lull on the last downwind. PJ managed to win this race with Roeland in 2nd and Caroline in 3rd.
Overnight Matthias was leading, with PJ and Rutger only 1 pt behind with Caroline in 4th and Frank Mauritz close behind in 5th.
On Saturday the competitors were greeted by 16-22 kts winds, making the racing a lot more exciting! In the first race the first 4 boats finished really close with PJ taking the gun from Emmanuel and Rutger. Paul Larsen was also doing really well, but unfortunately he was over the line at the start.
The second race was won by Rutger, followed by Roeland and PJ.
The 3rd race the wind was gusting to 22kts, occasionally a bit more creating a bit of mayhem! This Race was won by Emmanuel, followed by Roeland. Rutger capsized on the first downwind when gybing, but managed to climb back to 3rd at the finish with some fast foiling on the downwind legs.
Paul Larsen showed some great speed in this race, hitting over 28 knots, but having to retire because of rudder damage.
For the last race of the day the wind softened slightly to 17-20kts, with Roeland showing some great upwind speed and leading the race from Emmanuel followed by PJ and Rutger. On the last downwind it was really close between PJ and Rutger, both boats pushing hard, with Rutger just managing to beat PJ by half a metre on the finishing line for 3rd.
With the 2nd discard kicking in after the 9th race, the top 4 was really close after racing on Saturday, with only 2 pts. between 1st and 4th place. A great finale could follow on Sunday, with any of the top 4 boats being able to win. The weather forecast for Sunday was not very promising though, but the race committee decided to wait until Sunday morning before making a decision.
On Sunday morning the race committee went out to check conditions, measuring 20 knots gusting to 30kts, upon which it was decided to postpone racing. After an hour of postponement with improvement of conditions not likely, it was decided to cancel racing for the day, with PJ being crowned National champion! The last time he was crowned Dutch champion was 2006 sailing a Flyer.