FD 50 years old

Some reports from the class this year

Monday October 28th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected
At the Royal Loosdrecht Yacht Club over the 11th to the 13th October, an incredible 68 Flying Dutchmans graced the club including past champions who participated in a special series of races on the Saturday. The regatta was one of the largest gatherings of the fleet in recent years and competitors came from a total of 12 countries for the series of five races that were to occur over the three days.

Day 1 was greeted with strong winds, sunshine and a lot of very enthusiastic sailors. The fleet had been split into four flights, all of whom would race each other over three races - two on the Friday and one on the Saturday. Tactics on the lakes are always interesting due to large islands and reed beds, which can cause very interesting wind shifts!

However, this did not appear to affect Jorg/Jacob Boysen-Mǿller (Denmark) who came through with two firsts from the day, Klaas Tistra/Adriaan Schmal (Netherlands) won another and the current world champions Szalbolcs Majtheny/Andras Domokos (Hungary) the last. Also in contention for the top spots were Bas/Mark van der Pol(Netherlands) and Toby Dale/James Cole(UK).

The second day was the beginning of the lightening winds and, through the bitter cold (3degC - drysuits ruled!) the flights sailed into a very shifty force 2-3. The Boysen-Mǿllers again proved their mastery of this technical class by creating an impressive lead over their flight to finish first while Tilstra/Schmal won the other race of the day.

During the afternoon, past and present champions of the class were invited to take part in a series of races. The Boysen-Mǿller won, but only by a very narrow margin from multiple Olympic medal-winner, Rodney Pattisson. During the evening, spectators and sailors alike were bussed into Amsterdam and treated to an evening of dinner, music and lots of dancing! Many friendships were renewed and even more made.

The final day proved to be even lighter in wind than the previous day with the anemometer recording a force 1-2 in the cool and drizzly weather. The fleet had, on the results of the previous two days, been split into gold and silver fleets with awards for the top 5 in each. The shifty wind provided some interesting results but, all of the sailors remembered a salutary lesson when, due to the failing wind, the windward mark was moved and some missed the change. Positions changed, but not enough to prevent the Boysen-Mǿller winning the event overall with Majtheny/Domokos hot in pursuit in second. Tistra/Schmal were the talented crew in third.

A fax from Jan-Willem Denny Gulcher (the son Coen Gulcher-father of the FD class) summed up the feelings of the class over the weekend.
"The inspiration of the FD was not just a boat, speed, Olympics and world achievement but fun, knowledge and searching for new ideas. It (the FD) stood the test of time and in my Guinness book of records, it is the same principal of sailboat design as music is to Bach."

Day two

During the afternoon of the 12th October, past and present champions of the FD class were invited to take part in a series of races. The wind was force 2-3 and hazy.

Race 1 saw the Jacob & Jorge Boysen Moller take the lead from the beginning but close racing behind eventually led to Rodney Pattisson and Bob Smolders crossing the line 2nd and 3rd respectively. However the second race led to a superb display of boat handling and tactical racing.

After a close first beat, the fleet rounded onto the reach where the Boysen Mollers became embroiled in a luffing match, allowing Rodney Pattisson the opportunity to draw away. It did not take the Danish team long to recover the lost distance but, after a tight rounding onto the beat a tacking match of epic proportions ensued. On the line the Boysen Mollers managed to squeak ahead to win with Rodney in hot pursuit.

Third over the line was Willem Potma and the van der Pol?s retired due to a small issue over Bas crew trying to trapeze off of the elastic causing an unexpected 'tea-bagging'!

The 3rd race was characterised by the Boysen Mollers getting a good start and first beat with Rodney in hot pursuit. Rodney and Bob Smolders then proceeded to enter into a very tightly fought contest which ended at the finish line with both of them approaching the line neck and neck. Rodney tacked onto port, trying to get in front of Bob and block his path to the line but, after a very spirited call of starboard, Rodney had to tack back and Bob came second by a nose.

After a very impressive show of boat handling and tactical racing, the Boysen Mollers triumphed by a narrow margin, multiple Olympic medal winner, Rodney Pattisson was 2nd and Bob Smolders battled through to 3rd. But in company such as Peder Lunde Jr., Heike Blok and Enno Kramer, nothing was taken for granted.

Flying Dutchman Midlands 2002

The weekends dire forecast, with severe weather warnings being issued across the breadth of Britain did little to dampen enthusiasm for the FD Classes annual outing to Rutland Sailing Club. Given that any racing on Sunday was unlikely, three short races held were scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Only a few brave souls ventured out for the first with winds gusting to 27 knots.

Toby Dale and James Cole led from the line. Tony Lyall and Colin Burns were second after a close fight with David Wilkins and guest artist Richard Stenhouse who unfortunately suffered an untimely dunking in the difficult conditions!

The second race saw the breeze drop markedly for a time, allowing David and Richard to take the lead from Toby and James. A finish line manoeuvre gained Peter Doran and Richard Philips third from Tony and Colin.

The final race of the day saw an increased breeze and the closest racing at the front of the fleet. David and Richard took the lead on the first gybe, but lost out on the next beat to eventual winners Toby and James. Peter and Richard took third.

As predicted, following an excellent Class Dinner on Saturday evening, the fleet awoke to gale force winds and hangovers and prizegiving after breakfast revealed Toby Dale & James Cole in first position, Dave Wilkins and Richard Stenhouse in second with Tony Lyall and Colin Burns hot in pursuit for third position.

The Race Officer needed no prompting, however, to hoist the chessboard allowing everyone to return home at a very civilised time.

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