TUR 1212 “Provezza” Andy Beadsworth, Simon Fry & Arda Baykal win Belgium Nationals.

24 teams competed for the Open Belgium 🇧🇪 National Championships hosted by the Royal North Sea Yacht Club from 12th to 16th August. Many of the travelling teams will also remain in Oostende for the Gold Cup which begins on Sunday 21st sponsored by Yanmar.

7 races were completed over the 4 days under the watchful eye of local Race Officer Dirk Sledsens, who’s experience and understanding of the North Sea Tides makes for some exciting sailing.  Although TUR 1212 began the regatta as favourites, the 2 times World Champions did not have it all their own way.

Excellent photos throughout the regatta from Ricardo Pinto!

Peter Gilmore helming “Yred” JPN 56 crewed by his Son Sam and Yaji Yasuhiro, recovered well from a 10th place in the opening race to win race 2 followed home by “Provezza” TUR 1212 in 2nd place adding to their win in Race 1.

JPN 56 Leading Race 2 in Oostende, then holding on to win on final upwind.

Day 2 saw a change in the current which meant beating against the tide, decisions had to be made off the start line if left or right would pay. In the end it was favoured on the right side and GER 1086 helmed by Bart Peters held a commanding lead at the top mark, which he held until the end of Race 3 crewed by Remco & Berend van den Berg.

Winners of Race 3. GER 1086 Bart, Remco & Berend.

Race 4 had a tidal transition which kept teams on their toes and fine judgement of laylines were crucial as marks could easily be over-stood and valuable ground given away. Leading the way this time was once again TUR 1212 Andy Beadsworth followed by JPN 56 Peter Gilmour in 2nd place and GBR 818 Pete Cooke 3rd.

Lots going on during Day 2 in Oostende, more action photos from Ricardo…. 🙂

At the midway point of 4 races both “Provezza” & “Yred” were in strong positions as to was BEL 80 helmed by Ben van Cauwenbergh who was putting together a consistent series counting 2, 3, 4 & 5.
Day 3 was again full of action as TUR 1212 won race 5, whilst his nearest opponent JPN 56 was BFD. However, Peter Gilmour did not let this disappointment break his confidence as he bounced right back to win Race 6.

Consistency from BEL 80 keeping Ben, Manu Hens & Yves Bassette in contention.

Going into the final day although the wind did not really arrive with any strength, Dirk Sledsens managed to squeeze in one final race. It involved max concentration upwind sailing with the current and painful down wind legs that seemed to take forever…. In the end it was the top local team of BEL 79 Alex Helsen who took the victory, from JPN 56 2nd & TUR 1212 3rd.
Alex and his team of Floris Mortelmans and Dries van den Abbeele were delighted with their victory, but it was not quite enough to beat BEL 80 overall for the 3rd podium place.

Winners of Race 7 and 4th overall , BEL 79. Alex, Floris & Dries.

3rd overall and Top Belgium Team BEL 80 Ben, Manu & Yves.

2nd overall JPN 56.  Peter, Sam & Yaji.

To the winners go the spoils and TUR 1212 ended comfortably clear in the end on just 10 points (discarding a 3rd). Extremely high level sailing again from this top quality team. Although Simon Fry and Arda Baykal had to leave before Prize Giving, winning helm Andy Beadsworth accepted the Championship Title from Belgium 🇧🇪 Dragon President Alex Helsen.

Andy Beadsworth “Open Belgium 🇧🇪 National Champion “ with Alex Helsen.

This was a fantastic regatta sailed in good spirits and enjoyed by all. The Royal North Sea Yacht Club did us all proud with excellent hospitality, top quality food, terrific ambiance and the Beers & Wines were greatly appreciated. Winning helm Andy told me “I understand why sailing here has been popular with many sailors, the racing combined with the enthusiasm and general Bon Amie of the Belgium Dragon Sailors and the Royal North Sea Yacht Club is very compelling”.

Well said Andy and good luck to all the new teams arriving soon to join the fleet already here for next weeks Gold Cup 🏆…..

In closing many thanks to Dirk and his Team for running a great event and to the volunteers and staff of the RNSYC. Along with the Amazing Photos from Ricardo Pinto who will return for the Gold Cup after his duties with Sail GP in Denmark at the weekend. What a star Ricardo!

Higher, Faster, Longer…..  Stavros   GBR 818