(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.