Marco Ootes European Minisail Champion 2018, MS Europeans review

(all pictures courtesy the six MS participants, no, five I forgot the camera at home)

On Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June 2018 the host of the event Watersportvereniging Wormer (Holland) welcomed the Minisail class to have their Europeans and join in as participants of the annual open club race called the “Beschuitstoren race”.

Saturday: Six Minisails were present. Three Sprint MkII, a Monaco, a wooden cockpit Sprite and a wooden disheddecked Sprite.
For a moment the club was the worldscene of Minisails!
Sailors included the three locals Frans, Jacco and Marco, joined by John B. who came over from the UK, Dean and me from Belgium.

The shifty wind was force 3 to 4 and once on the lake it felt occasionally to be more than that.
Exactly as last year we sailed out for a recreational tour on the lake, read: headed straight to the jetty of the sunny waterside pub “De Hofjes”.

The cruise wasn’t the gentle picnic afternoon sailing we had in mind however; We needed to tack our way in choppy water against a shifting and gusty wind, resulting in the inevitable swim for many. Frans was having trouble getting afloat again and exhausted from the effort to recover the MS he made the right decision to return to the club and swap the Sprint for his comfortable cruising catboat to join us some time later.
Needless to say our sail back was done in a fraction of time we spent on getting there, with the wind now playing along. Our five Minisails were home before we realised it.
Yes, I failed to notice the entrance and needed to do some more tacking back to get home.

Sunday racing day: After a generous breakfast kindly offered by Frans and Janny at their house we got the boats rigged.
The wind was now blowing harder and even more gusty than on the day before. John was not feeling in tip top condition for this Sunday-morning so decided not to rig. Then came the news Jacco had been taken ill overnight. That were two sailors out.

The remaining lot sailed off on time (for a change!) towards the Hofjes where enrollment and the start would be.
Once out on the lake Frans had a déja-vue and decided conditions were too violent so headed back to once more fetch his Catboat. Marco, Dean and me fought our way up to the starting area where only Marco and me made it, darn Dean broke his rudder on the way there. Unfortunately this meant that only two Minisails were now left for the first race.
And we did race, Marco did splendidly, me less so due to a traditional failed start, but I still managed to overtake some competitors. Gybing the last mark after 90 hard minutes fighting the elements, I noticed the proximity of the entrance to the club harbour and had a choice: Straight back to the club or tack for a fourth time all the way back to ‘De Hofjes’ to the finish. Most of my tormented bodyparts were begging me to choose the for the first option. So back to the club it was for me, resulting in an obvious D.N.F.

D.T. or “Did Try” is not in the racing vocabulary, so no honorable mention there (nor for Dean or Frans).

A physically wiped out Marco finished the first race and staggered into ‘De Hofjes’ declaring ‘No more!’ while Dean struggled to get his rudder repaired in time for the start of the second race.

After a tasty lunch it was time for everyone to gather for race two. A regenerated Marco decided a capsize drill in the narrow harbour would please the enthusiastic crowd and Dean fought the rising wind to rig his repaired Sprint from the jetty. Marco managed the start, but Dean was too late to compete.

Marco battled on and after finishing both races in a Minisail Monaco (with sliding seat), scooped all the medals to become the well deserved European Minisail Champion 2018.

It needs to be said that he hadn’t sailed a Minisail for the last 40 odd years. He did as a teenager with his family owned planked Monaco, hence his somehow nostalgic enthousiasm for the class. Still his daring, persevererance and sailing talent need to be underlined and it’s great to have him joining the gallery of Minisail Champions.

Not Minisail related but also it deserves the mention that along this endurance race in almost heavy conditions there were a dozen of local teenagers (and younger) that joined and finished the very same course in Optimist and Topaz Uno. Hats off to them.

I would like to thank the Watersportvereniging Wormer, Frans Stoop and his partner Janny for the hospitality, it’s remarkable how this club and every individual clubmember is giving it’s all to make guests feel at home, they really do.

If you have acces to Facebook, Dean wrote a concise report on the CVRDA FB page.




Last year a friend bought this boat,a nearly 5 meter Catboat steel hull and wooden superstructure. Doesn’t the character pictured above make you smile and make you feel joyfull for a moment?

Some of it’s history has been preserved (link catboat club Holand).
It is one of a series of 5 and built around 1930. After some changes in ownership, she is now owned by “Captain Frans”.
Below the boat in it’s current glory.

Some necessary repairs to the steel and woodwork were recently done and they were surprisingly simple; This boat is particularly well build, whatever needs replacing can be easily done without sacrificing the originality.

The intent with this gem is making it into a working daysailer.
With 20m2 canvas (2 reefs) she has plenty of power to keep up with cruising sailyachts. As a flat hulled keelboat she doesn’t turn on the spot, yet tacking is surprisingly evident.
Equally evident are the benefits of her shallow draft; access to shallow water and care-free falling dry in tidal water.

Hang on, “Care-free falling dry in tidal water”; Would this be a valid contender for the 2019 edition of La Semaine Du Golfe? It would! … if we find an affordable way to get her there and back. And no before you think, sailing her to Vannes France and back to Amsterdam Holland is not an option. 

The indispensable outboard disfigures the boat, but with the rapidly advancing development of electric propulsion, this Cat will undoubtedly celebrate its 100th anniversary with a discrete electric motor on board. (Central heating, hot- and cold running water, room service and minibar? one has to be believe in the future).

Hanging on the garage wall.

A rare garage-find this Sprite. It’s the third one I know of since more than 10 years.
The E-bay listing titled “Original wooden hulled minisail. 13ft 6ins long. Hardly used.” comments:
Original version of wooden hulled minisail (complete with mast etc.). 13ft 6ins long. Has spent most of its life hanging on garage wall unused. Photos taken in about 1966! Difficult to photograph hanging on the garage wall.
Makes me wonder how many more garages in the U.K. have one hanging in the ceiling!

Interesting photograps: It’s sail reefed, the way to mount oars, the steep mast rake angle.
Two oars? There must be a system/way to attach the rowlocks we can’t see there. Still a pair of holes in the gunwales might do, I love it.

Here is why: Ever tried to sail out of a narrow (maybe moored yacht infested) channel in any Minisail? I did many times and have the oars please, if not these aren’t the most sexy apparatus on a racing dingy,  they are cool and very smart.