It was a busy weekend for the European fleets - this report on the Dutch Hellecat TT is from Rutger Krijger on the A-Cat Class event Hellevoetsluis.
Competitors were welcomed on Saturday 13th of May at the popular A-cat location Hellecat, with lovely sunshine and a nice 8-12 kts of breeze. During briefing the race committee told their intention was to have at least 4 races per day, depending on the conditions. 14 boats were entered, with a few new faces and a few new foiling boats on the scene.
The first 2 races were held with marginal foiling conditions, with big opportunities for the foilers if they managed to hook into a gust and managed to stay in it for as long as possible.
PJ, Coen de Koning and Roeland did well in these first two races with good speed and tactics. The 3rd race started with a lot of rain and pretty low visibility. During the first upwind the rain cleared with the wind still at about 10 kts. The wind dropped however to about 5 kts during the last downwind leg. The group of Coen, Sjoerd Hoekstra, Roeland and Rutger was very close going into this leg, with Rutger winning from Sjoerd with Roeland in 3rd and Coen in 4th.
The 4th race of the day was held in a dying breeze with only one lap because of a nearby thunderstorm threatening that it might get nearer. Caroline on her Nikita was very quick but at the finish it was Sjoerd on his DNA taking the win from Alexander on his classic Scheurer and Coen on his F1 with Theo and Caroline close behind.
With the thunderstorm still threatening to come closer to the race area and the wind further dropping, the decision by the race committee was made to get back to shore.
A great meal was prepared by Hellecat, which was enjoyed a lot by the sailors.
Sunday was a bit more windy, with about 12-15 kts of breeze, with the added sunshine it gave great sailing conditions. 5 short races were sailed, with Coen, Sjoerd, Roeland and Rutger battling for the top 4 positions.
For the 6th and final race of the day a longer course was run, with the breeze increasing sharply in the final lap, with gusts of 20 kts plus. Coen was foiling on the final offset leg and capsized during the bear away when a big gust hit, Roeland just behind got ejected from his boat when nosediving in the same gust. The boats behind were a bit more conservative and cruised to the finish with no further capsizes.
Over two days 10 races were sailed, quite an achievement from the race committee!
The short races were very much enjoyed by the sailors, with not too long breaks between races so nobody would get cold. In the end Roeland won on 15 pts, showing very good upwind boatspeed. Coen and Rutger were close behind on 17 and 18 points. Alexander and Caroline in 5th and 6th place proved that a well sailed non-foiler can still be competitive, especially in the light.
The next event will be Medemblik, the location of the 2016 Worlds. Dates are June 24th and 25th.