The winners have been decided at the 2011 Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta. From Friday, 10 June till Monday, 13 June, more than 400 boats in 27 classes competed on six courses. The conditions were challenging with strong current and a changing wind both in terms of strength and direction.
The top two IRC 1 leaders Baraka GP and Checkmate finished on equal points, but it was Peter de Ridder, skipper of the Swan 45 Checkmate, that claimed overall victory including the offshores. "We knew we were a few points behind, after we had lost yesterday's protest," he said. "However, in this field and with the current and wind shifts, we still had our chances. We said this morning to ourselves, 'Let's go for it'." Experience, according to de Ridder, was not the only thing that mattered: "The big yachts in IRC dominated the fleet. The Swan 45s, the Swan 42 Baraka GP and the new Grand Soleil 46 Antelope, determined the top eight. The slower boats couldn't keep up. I believe we must ensure that there will be more Swan 45s quickly, so they can pull out of the IRC, to allow the others better competition."
Philippe Moortgat's Belgian Swan 45 Samantaga was third overall, without having participated in the offshore races. The victory in the Swan 45 and the Yeoman Trophy (ranking of all inshores from 10 to 13 June) went to this team as well.
In ORC 1, there was an exciting battle between Popov of Hans Tak (NED) and the RoaringX of Ad Lagendijk (NED). Popov managed eventually to win the entire series and the Yeoman Trophy, despite missing the two offshores. Popov's Jan-Willem Mullier talked about the closing day: "We had to go very fast, because there were only a few boats left on the course. Consequently, not many teams could finish between us and the RoaringX. We started with the heavy and that was actually a bit too much. Between the races we changed to the high aspect. Then the wind died out and we changed again on the downwind leg. Things improved and it was just enough to get them. We were really battling and match racing RoaringX. It was very exciting and hard work." Two years ago, Popov won the ORC 1 as well. In 2010 they tried their luck in the IRC, but this proved too ambitious. "The difference between IRC and ORC are that big - we no longer wanted to sail in the back of the fleet."
In ORC 2, with 31 entries the biggest yachting class, Hein van Schaik of Redan was not sure about his victory until well after the finish. "The Rosetta from the Rocks crossed the line ahead us, but we didn't know whether one or two boats finished between us." Two would have been one too many, but in the end it was only X-Stream between Rosetta and Redan. "It was exciting. It was a black flag start, so we were careful. We started badly and had to fight boat for boat to get our position back. We sailed a tactical last beat against Rosetta. At the finish we were two boatlengths behind. It was like a one design class championship." The mission was to win the overall series including the offshores and in this they succeeded. Van Schaik: "We also had a lot of fun throughout the regatta." Quantum Racing of Jeroen van der Velden (NED) took third while New Frontier of Jan Bart won the Yeoman Trophy.
In the FD, Enno Kramer came out on top despite a DNF in the last race. Kramer explains: "We had a big lead, but it went wrong with the spinnaker drop at the second leeward mark. We sailed over it, even so much that the dagger board came up." Fortunately there were no real consequences for their overall results: "If we have properly counted, we had already won with the first bullet today. That was exciting with the brothers Van der Pol and Harold Wijgers. But Bas [van der Pol] capsized. We could just save the boat during the gybe. Then we could slowly capitalise on our lead."
The Polish sailor Marcin Rudawski the Scheveningen series of the 2011 European Laser Cup in the Laser Radials. He beat second placed Cocccoluta Giovanni (ITA) by 11 points. Rudawski: "It was a tough regatta. The current made it tricky. I'm pretty fast with strong winds, but less so in the light breeze and current." He has tried to qualify for two Olympics in the Laser Standard, but has yet to succeed. "After eight years full rig I decided to go back to the Radial. I'm too small for the Standard." Puck is his residence on the Polish coast, where the Laser Europa Cup will visit in August. The bronze went to the Italian Marco Benini.
In the Laser 4.7, the young Dutch sailor Benjamin Wempe dominated. This is his first year in the Laser 4.7, after his 30th position at the Optimist Worlds in Malaysia, after which he changed classed. Last week he won the Dutch national title and this weekend added another great achievement. Wempe scored one 13th but posted no other results outside of the top four. He has won the Scheveningen series of Laser Europa Cup & Laser Youth Grand Prix 2011. "It was a difficult last day with a strange current and changeable wind", Wempe described the conditions on Monday. "That was hard, but I did well." His next focus point is the Laser 4.7 European Championships in Workum. Levent Takacs took silver, followed by Floor Vrijenhoek from the Netherlands.
F18 catamaran sailors Darren Bundock (AUS) and Jeroen van Leeuwen (NED) could theoretically still lose the lead on the last day. But after a bullet and 7th place the duo could afford a DNS. Bundock commented: "In race one we were first at the upwind mark and we rounded the buoy in good pressure. The rest had less wind, so we could expand the lead. The race game was more exciting. Due to the strong current, we could not make the pin-end.' They were third at the top mark, but there were so many boats that they had to carry on and eventually gibe. For almost the entire field, the Round Texel Race is the next event. Not for the fresh winners of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta. 'I'm going to America for two weeks and I cannot tell you why ..."
Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaan Tentij were second in the field of 58 cats, despite their second OCS in the last race. Heemskerk laughs: "We could not win or lose anything, so I wanted the sharpest possible start." Title defenders Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser filled out the third podium place.
In the Dart 18 Nicolette van Gorp and Ruud van Gisbergen from the Netherlands led the 14 boat class since the second day. They successfully defended their top position on the last day to win the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta 2011.