Martin Payne, with Donal Small and Olivier Bakker, sail “Little Hook” to Victory..

(All Photo’s taken by Ricardo Pinto)

Without needing to sail the final day, the team of Little Hook celebrated becoming Belgium National Champions on Saturday evening at the Gala Dinner in Ostend. Counting five 1st places and one 2nd, during the superbly organised Championship run by the Royal North Sea Yacht Club, Payne and his team just had the edge on the rest of the highly competitive fleet.

2014-08-23 17.22.18                                        Donal Small, Olivier Bakker and Martin Payne..

In second place overall was Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen helming his new Petticrows, “Danish Blue”. Crewed by Andrew (Noddy) Norden and Chris Brittain. The “Man”  showed great speed but had to put up with some heavy “covering” tactics by the Little Hook team at times. Olivier Bakker explained ” With such a strong tide and medium to heavy winds, the slightest mistake could cost you a 200m loss”.  “When you have someone of Poul-Richards ability behind you, it’s vital you give him no room to break free”….

10639480_858866600791951_6974601533647603484_nThe runner’s up team from “Danish Blue” Noddy Norden, Poul-Richard & Chris Brittain.

In third place overall was the local team sailing BEL 79 “Princess Sofie” helmed by Alex Helsen, crewed by Floris Mortelmans and Willy Hambrouck. Alex and his team were never far behind the leaders and considering it was one of their first events of the year, did an excellent job.

10312541_858866617458616_5749876372501154346_n (2)Alex’s team 3rd overall, with members and sponsors of the Royal North Sea Yacht Club.

It was once again the most fantastic regatta, offering superb long 3 upwind courses, with every course changed signalled perfectly to compensate for the tidal variations and wind shifts. The Yacht Club hosted a party every night, with Bar-B-Q’s, Gala Dinner and Prize Giving. The sheltered harbour offers easy access to the race course and a great comradery atmosphere after racing, where copious amounts of free beers were consumed and many stories told…  It’s a great venue, with really nice friendly people and excellent fun !!

Higher, Faster, Longer…………………   Stavros.  (Little Hook).