It was a thrilling last day here in Ostende, which saw the Championship of Belgium decided on the last beat of the last race…  Only a fool would bet against Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen not putting up a fight and that is exactly what happened during a topsy turvy final day of this fine National Championships……

The final race started on time at 11.00 hrs with the wind blowing from around 80 degrees and the tide almost in full ebb, which not only held the fleet back behind the line, but also made the beats longer as the 36 Dragons fought against this strong current.  Although it was a square line, shortly after the start a small left hand shift gave the advantage to the port tack, so some boats opted to head right towards the shore, others favoured the left side, leaving a small group playing the shifts up the middle. Of the main contenders overall, BEL 80 made an impressive start as did GBR 744, whilst GBR 745 and USA 310 got a little stuck in the middle…  It was only as the two sides converged that it was obvious the left was paying handsomely… In fact it was our very own IDA Chairman Rob Campbell GBR 766 who led at the first mark followed by a group of boats that included GBR 744 Tim Tavinor and BEL 80 Ben Cauwenbergh.  Although Tim Tavinor held a 5 pt lead over BEL 80, USA 310 and GBR 745, he still had to finish well and this was not a day for the faint hearted, as big shifts and a ferocious tide never let up!

Seeing the left-hand side pay so well on the first beat, all the leading boats rounded the right gate mark and headed out to sea, but then made the mistake of tacking back into the middle of the course thinking they were near to lay-line. However, the strong current was now diagonally across the course & it was even stronger on the right side unfortunately our Chairman GBR 766 went too far right & disappeared !

Meanwhile Poul-Richard was told to go hard left by his top tactician Theis Palm and this move was to see them take the lead by the end of the 2nd beat…   Back in 25 position Ted Sawyer USA 310 also hit the left corner after losing out so much on the right during the first beat.  Ted was rewarded with a gain of 15 places! this secured his 4th place overall much to his delight and satisfaction.

Back at the front GBR 744 Tim Tavinor and his “Jack in the Box” tactician Pedro Andrade had to hold onto their top 4 position in the race which was required should Poul-Richard win the race, which he did !! So when Tim crossed the line in 2nd place behind the Man, he was extremely relieved and exhausted. Explaining afterwards Tim said ” This has been the first event both Poul-Richard and I have been too at the same time, as normally whilst I’ve been buying the business (Petticrows), one of us has had to stay at the factory back in Burnham”..  he continued, “Poul-Richard put us under all kinds of pressure today by coming back to win the race, but the feeling I have now is great, in fact it’s nearly as good as winning the Worlds in Australia, but not quite” ..  🙂         His third delighted crew Thomas Wilton,  said “Not only is the boat still in one piece, but all three of us are still talking to each other!”

The winning “T-I-G-G-E-R” team, Pedro, Tim & Thomas….  photo by Stavros.

Also rounding off a fine week of sailing was BEL 80 Ben Cauwenbergh who had another top finish to take 3rd overall and join these two great sailors from Petticrows on the podium…  Whilst a smiling Ted Sawyer enjoyed finishing 4th, ahead of GER 10 Marcus Brenneke with his Bavarian Dream Team…

Final Overall Positions: Out of 36 boats.

1. Tim Tavinor GBR 744     Petticrow,  Norths.

2. Poul-Richard  GBR 745   Petticrow,  Norths.

3. Ben Cauwenbergh BEL 80 Petticrow, Norths.

4. Ted Sawyer USA 310  Petticrow,  Norths.

5.  Marcus Brenneke GER 10   Petticrow,  Fritz.

So now it’s onto the Gold Cup.. With another 30+ boats joining the fun over the next 8 days, it should prove to be an excellent event.  The race management are ready and will need to be at the top of their game as 70+ Dragons compete for this unique prestigious trophy presented by the Clyde Yacht Club.

Can RUS 27 Anatoloy Loginov retain the cup he won last year in Marstrand, Sweden ? Well campers I’ll try to keep you up to speed with daily reports after the sailing here in Ostende, with one race per day over a 6 day period, (with no discards), it’s going to be a fascinating Championship…..

Higher, Faster, Longer …    Gold Cup……       Stavros. (USA 310)