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North Sea Race 2009

by Diana Bogaards 25 May 2009 18:09 BST 22-24 May 2009

Long and tactical due to calm conditions

The North Sea Race from Harwich to Scheveningen, part of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta, resulted in a long and tactical crossing, due to the light and shifty circumstances. Especially the last leg from the MSP buoy to Scheveningen, along the Dutch coast, seemed endless to some of the competitors. During this passage, the current was sometimes stronger than the wind. The Seawolf 2, a Lutra 42, was the fastest boat in the fleet of 72 competitors. It took Henry Tinchant's team thirty hours to complete the 210 mile crossing. Russell Walker (GBR), with his Baltic 37 Cosmic Dancer 3, took the victory in the overall IRC ranking. American Chris Schram won the ORC ranking with Brut, a Baltic 37 as well.

At the start late Friday morning, there was a fair wind. Even though the fleet was divided over two groups, it was quite busy at the starting line. Radboud Crul, crewing on the Salona 34 says: "There were about three ranks, and I'm afraid we were in the third." After a fine day of sailing, the wind died out in the evening. Henri Tinchant: "According to our grip files (detailed weather maps) this was supposed to happen in the early morning, so we hadn't expected this." Nevertheless, it turned out well for the tall ship. Tinchant: "This boat is very fast in light winds. We consistently sailed five to six knots."

Reshuffle at Smith's Knoll

Most participants were still on their way to Smith's Knoll when the wind died out. This is the last mark before the crossing, located off the coast of Lowestoft. Crul: "Before we reached Smith's Knoll, the fleet bunched together, and the race virtually restarted." The next crucial moment occurred off the Dutch coast. When the boats in the IRC 2 and IRC 3 class approached the MSP buoy, the wind shifted from South to Northeast in half an hour. As a result, the buoy was suddenly upwind for some boats, while others could hoist their spinnakers.

Currents determine last leg

While the larger boats still had to fight the tide during the last leg, the boats who arrived a few hours later mostly flowed along with the current. Racing Officer Ian Loffhagen from the Royal Ocean Racing Club says: "The smaller boats were a little favoured." The boats who missed this time sloth were out of luck. Loffhagen: "During the second night, we haven't had any wind or any finishers for six hours. Some of the boats had to anchor." The Jaffa from student team Euros was in this group that crept forward. Crew Rinse Joustra says: "It's very difficult to keep focused if you're moving so slowly. If then the tide turns against you with 1,5 knots, it becomes slightly frustrating." The students floated around for about three hours during the last leg. Eight teams retired from the race, but that option never crossed Joustra's mind: "We made it to Harwich, so we'll also manage to sail back. We'd never quit."

Overall Results: (top three)

IRC Overall
1. Cosmic Dancer 3, Russell Walker (GBR)
2. S 34, Erik van Vuuren (NED)
3. Brut, Chris Schram (NED)

1. Moonpalace, Roeland Franssens (NED)
2. Ocean Of Smiles, Michel Lebrun (BEL)

1. Roark/Claus en Kaan Architecten, Kees Kaan (NED)
2. Split2nd, David de Graaf (NED)
3. Seawolf 2, Henri Tinchant (GBR)

1. Stortemelk, Frans De Vries (NED)
2. Allard, Rudi Floridor (BEL)
3. Ragazza, B. Dolk (NED)

1. S 34, J. Bach (NED)
2. Jaguar of Burnham, Adrian Lower (GBR)
3. Yeti, Paul van der Pol/Suzanne Hen (NED)

1. Cosmic Dancer 3, Russell Walker (GBR)
2. Brut, Chris Schram (NED)
3. Lucifer, T.F. de Bruin/I.E. van Marle (NED)

ORC Overall
1. Brut, Chris Schram (NED)
2. Moshulu, Hans-Albert de Graaf (NED)
3. Lenco, Nico Braber (NED)

1. Junique, Chris Revelman (NED)
2. Visione, Nikolaus Knoflacher (DEN)

1. Moshulu, Hans-Albert de Graaf (NED)
2. Lenco, Nico Brabers (NED)
3. Yeti, Paul van der Pol, Suzanne Hen (NED)

1. Brut, Chris Schram (NED)
2. Que Guapa, Kees Groenenboom (NED)
3. Raspa, Justus Jansen (NED)

1. Gambiet, Gert Vink (NED)
2. Gouden Ruiter, Willem N.R. Kats (NED)

Double handed
1. Sharkos, Dick van Arkel (NED)
2. Nazca 2, Mike Wilkinson (GBR)
3. Meka 2, Diana Rabin/Owen Williams (GBR)

About the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta

The 210-mile race from Harwich to Scheveningen is part of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta and yearly organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). The Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta started on 19 May with the Vuurschepenrace from Scheveningen to Harwich. After a lay day, the IRC and ORC classes departed from Harwich on Friday 22 May. During the Whitsun weekend, from 29 May until 1 June, more than 26 classes compete in front of the coast of Scheveningen. Several disciplines participate: big yachts, Olympic classes, open boats and surfers. From this year, the event is sponsored by Delta Lloyd.

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