Sunday, 26 June 2011

Zwitserleven Round Texel Race : ... And Off They Went

by Diana Bogaards

Some hundreds boats just started in the 34th Round Texel Race. 441 have registered, over 400 went out on the sea to the start. It was hectic. Wind and current are in the same direction, so the cats had to stay pretty far out from the start line in order not to drift over it. It is different from other years. Sometimes the surf is too high to get through it or the wind is to strong for recreational sailors.

Just before the start several boats came back to the beach. Amongst them Olympic sailor Carolijn Brouwer. They had some quick repairs and went back onto the water. They started pretty well. The Boskalis boat of Gunnar Larsen almost came back to the surf, but returned to the water just in time. Also some of the smaller boats came back early. Some of them were damaged, for some it was to rough outside. At least they tried and that’s the spirit of the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race.

Unfortunate sailors

Bad luck for Sander Idema and Martijn Brand. They came all the way sailing from Bergen this morning, arrived safely on the Texel beach, felt cold and decided to have a cup of coffee. But their boat couldn’t wait and sailed off without them and capsized just outside the surf. It took a while to recover their Nacra F18 and the dagger boards went for a swim. One was found a bit further up the coast line and a batten was broken, so no Round Texel Race for them.

Tension rose

The tension rose with the starting signals. After the black flag was lowered, it was one minute to the start. Several boats already drifted over the start line and were immediately disqualified. Bad luck for them. Most of the boats, especially the best sailors were on the sea side of the start line. Very few, but also couple of the best sailors started at the beach side of the line. "It’s a tactical choice”, says speaker Jeroen Tirion. "With the southwesterly wind the start is absolutely down wind and that is not the fastest course for the cats. So they will keep tacking down wind to maintain their speed. Then the question is to start at the port or starboard side of the line.”

At precisely 13.10 h the flag went down and of they went. Xander Pols and Sascha Larsen were on the first over the line and the first to hoist their spinnaker. They sped away. Also Gunnar Larsen and Sam Frank started very well. The TNG boat of John Moret and Danny Radelaar almost capsized. And there came the red wing boat of Herbert Dercksen and Mark Blakely. With a red spinnaker they really went fast and overtook many boats. Their start wasn’t perfect, but they really went on the run onto the boats ahead. And also William Sunnucks and Oliver Egan were in the lead.

Five minutes after the start most of the boats were over the start. A lot came back though, but all together over 350 have actually started.

Zwitserleven Round Texel Race