The Ijsselmeer has provided 6 quality races so far in the 2018 Open Dutch Championships.

A record number of 42 boats are currently battling for the Silver Dragon awarded to the winning team of the Dutch National Championship.  Many of the visiting teams are using this event as a warm up for the 2019 Gold Cup to be held here in Medemblik on the famous Ijsselmeer next June.

Being on the correct gybe at the right time is so important in a close fleet of 40+ boats!

With a variety of wind strength and direction each day, this strong fleet have enjoy some fantastic close racing enhanced by short lasting substantial wind shifts that keep all teams on the edge of their seats.  One minute you can look famous on the left, only to see the right side of the course suddenly pay big time. Tacking on the shifts is important, keeping clear air is a challenge and keeping the boat moving fast through the short chop is essential.  When you put all these ingredients into the melting pot it has produced quality racing enjoyed by all.

NED 412 Pieter Heerema, leads NED 411 Charlotte Ten Wolde downwind in Race 1.

NED 412 Pieter Heerema, Lars Hendriksen & Claus Olesen have won 2 races so far and lead overall on 10pts.  Close behind them are the visiting team from Japan led by “America’s Cup” Peter Gilmore helming JPN 56 crewed by his Son Sam & Yasuhiro Yaji.  This new team who are recently into the International Circuit are really beginning to get to grips with handling the Dragon and all its innuendo’s ..  Peter is currently on 15pts and most certainly is up for the challenge.

JPN 56 helmed by Peter Gilmore won Race 2 and Race 5 so currently 2nd overall on 15pts.

The two other race winners were BEL 79 Floris Mortelmans (race 3) and GBR 585 Martin Payne (race 6). These two boats now lay 3rd & 4th overall respectively, with BEL 80 Ben Cauwenberg very close behind in 5th place.  It’s worth noting that Floris has just won the Belgium Nationals as crew for Alex Helsen and fellow crew Dries Van den Abbeele.  This two top sailors now have the experience of Richard Van Rij on board so it is no surprise to see them up fighting for a “Podium” position.  Well done to all.

Great to see NED 311 Bram de Wilde back racing his lovely wooden Dragon.

So the final day today will see one more race to conclude this very successful Championships. The forecast is good and we will see how teams perform after a joyous Gala Dinner last night hosted at the Medemblik Hotel.  The highlight of the evening was when Lars Hendriksen said how good it was to see NED 311 Bram de Wilde back into the class. Bram has faced his biggest challenge over the past two years with his usual passion and heart that he puts into all his activities. A standing round of applause said it all…….

Higher, Faster, Longer……….    Stavros.   (GBR 585).