Ker 11.3 wins IRC 1
The race started and ended in light winds and was mostly upwind. However overnight some boats recorded up to 25 knots.
In IRC 1, the Ker 11.3 Daikin Airco, the Grand Soleil 43 Roark and the Mat 12 Trust Alliance were favourites. Roark got off to a good start, while this wasn't the case for Daikin Airco, as tactician Maurice van der Heijden explained: "We didn't have enough speed. As a result we were lagging behind at the first buoy."
But in the middle of the night, Daikin Airco managed to make up for this. Van der Heijden added: "During the crossing you could opt for the north or the south. We were the southernmost boat all the time. This allowed us to gain a lot, when the wind shifted to the left." This enabled them to overhaul Roark, who's skipper Kees Kaan said: "There was a shift we hadn't foreseen. If all boats sail at maximum speed, such a tactical decision can make the difference."
Skipper Cees van Nes (NED) of Ellinor is flabbergasted about his victory in the ORC 2 class. "We are extremely pleasantly surprised that we're capable of this! We are actually green in the world of big yachts." He attributes their performance to the qualities of his classic Swan 55, which he restored himself. "This yacht is fast, friendly and strong." Van Nes, a cat sailor previously, explained that they went for speed upwind: "That suits this yacht very well. It just keeps on going. We became the most leeward boat of the fleet, but that turned out fine in the end."
Although Cees van Nes and his crew had a very relaxed crossing, it was exhausted for other teams as Daikin Airco's Van der Heijden explained: "No one got to sleep. We haven't changed any sails, and all legs were sailed on starboard. But the crew had to hike for hours." Kees Kaan keeps his crew focused by constantly comparing their position compared to their rivals'. For Daikin Airco, on the other hand, their lead came as a surprise in the morning. Van der Heijden: "Then the spirit goes up. It gets a little warmer, the sun starts to shine." And they needed that spirit, because the last part of the race was slow and upwind, against the current, with little wind.
The 110-mile Vuurschepenrace from Scheveningen to Harwich is the first race of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta. After a lay day in Harwich, the IRC and ORC classes sail the RORC North Sea Race back to Scheveningen on tomorrow. Over the Whitsun weekend, from 29 May to 1 June, more than 26 classes compete in the races off the coast of Scheveningen from big yachts, Olympic classes, catamarans, open boats and surfers, the event sponsored by Delta Lloyd.
Provisional top 3 results in each class:
1. Daikin Airco, Frans van der Heijden
2. Roark/Claus & Kaan Architecten, Kees Kaan
3. Trust Alliance, Sander Vos
1. FRD-Xperience, John van der Starre
2. S34, Erik van Vuuren
3. Yeti, Paul van der Pol/Suzanne Hen
1. Ellinor, A.C. van Nes
2. Redan, Hein van Schaik
3. Lenco, Nico Brabers
1. Gouden Ruiter, Willem N. R. Kats
2. Gambiet, Wijnand Vink
3. Lancer of Hamble, Bert Visser