Pieter Heerema helming his beautiful 1959 Pedersen & Thusen and crewed by Theis Palm and Joost Houweling won the Dutch Open Championship today after the 6th and final  race. However, after seeing Wouter ten Wolde sailing his new Petticrow “Olinghi” NED 411 to victory in race 5 on Saturday, Pieter knew the Championship was his providing Wouter did not win the final race. Making sure he started close to Wouter, Pieter and his experienced team managed to prevent Wouter sailing his own race and therefore controlled his only threat. At the first windward mark the two boats rounded in good shape considering the close covering that went on during the long upwind leg. It had paid handsomely to go right and the first to round the top mark was NED 345 Renier Wissenraet. This was slightly frustrating to Wouter and his team as Renier was one of his three main rivals for 2nd place overall, but Pieter knew that he had to keep Wouter behind him as the speed Wouter had shown the previous day could snatch a victory if left unattended….  (the only way Pieter could loose the title was if Wouter won the race).

So it was not until the end of the second beat that Pieter finally let Wouter “breath” again and concentrate on maintaining a podium finish. One of the three boats Wouter and his team had to look for was  NED 402 helmed by Jan Bakker and crewed by his two son’s, Olivier and Dominic. This confident and extremely talented team went into the final race just two points adrift of Wouter in third place overall. Jan and “his boy’s” had sailed very well the day before to nearly win race 3 and 4, just losing out on the finishing line each time. However, NED 402 was in the bunch of boats that went left on the first beat, so had some catching up to do. Meanwhile NED 345 Renier Wissenraet crewed by Pim ten Harmsen van der Beek and Marc Reijnhoudt, were already too far ahead and sailed on brilliantly to win the final race thus secure the runners up position overall. Then despite a late charge from the third boat concerning Wouter’s team BEL 79 Alex Helsen, who sailed a “brilliant” second and third beat which gave them 4th place across the line. NED 411 Wouter managed to cross the finish line 8th and take the final podium spot of 3rd. This was a marvelous achievement for Wouter who has only been helming Dragons competitively for 2 seasons.

Dutch Open Championship Winner’s NED 316, Pieter, Theis and Joost.

Runners Up NED 345, Pim, Renier and Marc.

In 3rd place Overall, NED 411 Juliette ten Wolde, Martin Payne and Wouter.

In closing Pieter Heerema thanked the helpers and volunteers for all their hard work at running this well organised and hard fought National Championship. Pieter also congratulated the PRO Theo Smits, for setting excellent courses and well laid starting lines. He also commented how nice it was to see 18 yr old Juliette racing with her Father as more “young blood” needs to be encouraged into our wonderful class.

Finally, I would recommend to all sailors to put the 2013 Gold Cup dates into their diary’s as the “infrastructure” and set-up of the Medemblik Olympic Centre is second to none!! They are hoping for a turnout of around 100+ boats for the Gold Cup next year, so exciting times ahead for the Dutch Fleet on the International circuit and fixture list…

Higher, Faster, Longer………….    Stavros (NED 411).