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Hendricksen takes the early lead in Belgium….
Lars Hendricksen URK 8 was the most consistent sailor yesterday for the start of the Belgium National Championships in Ostende. In very difficult sea’s and a wind of around 22kts, which gradually decreased as the afternoon went on, Lars won the second race after finshing second in the first race.
It was truly a lumpy sea that saw the 33 dragons leave the shelter of the Ostende Marina, then sail a full hour of upwind to arrive at the starting area. Fortunately for some late arrivals the PRO Henry Antoine, had to AP the start time as the Pin End boat was having difficulty to secure its anchor. Although the waiting time before the start seemed to take a while, the first race did eventually start with just an individual recall flag raised. There was a definite advantage at the committee boat end as when the gusts came they seem to lift starboard tacked boats up to around 270 degrees which enabled boats to “Lee Bow” the strong flood tide. However, when the wind died a little it went back to 250 degrees, which the gave an advantage to the leeward boats on the left-hand-side of the race course.
RUS 27 being helmed this week by Andrey Kirilyuk, (Anatoly will be here next week to try to retain the Gold Cup, that he won last year in Marstrand, Sweden), made a very good start and was soon able to give Lars Hendricksen, who had started at the boat, a good race. Although Lars UKR 8 was the first to round the windward mark, it was RUS 27 that eventually went on to win this three up winds and two down winds, first race. In third place was a certain Mr Braslavetz URK 9 who gradually worked his way up though the fleet. Ted Sawyer USA 310 sailed a “gutsy” race at the age of 78 to finish in a creditable 6th position, but decide to save his strength for the remaining races and opted out of race two…….
In race two, the wind actually dropped quite a bit, but there was still the extremely difficult sea to contend with. In this lighter wind the 20 degree shifts were even more important and it was UKR 8 who won the race. In second place in race two was GER 1099 Marcus Brennecke, who is sailing with the “Bavarian Dream Team” and they sit comfortably overall with a 5 and a 2 on the score board. In third place again was UKR 9 so with two 3rd places Yevgeni lies in second place overall behind Lars……
Although the sailors did not return to the marina until quite late, I’m sure everyone will be refreshed and ready to go for the two scheduled races today, starting at 11.00am. The helpers and voluteers are doing a great job to keep the whole regatta moving along nicely and with the onshore entertainment’s all the sailors are really enjoying the effort the Belgium Dragon Class have made to host this event….
Higher, Faster, Longer….. Stavros. (USA 310).