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Flying Fifteen Belgian Nationals at Sports Nautiques de l'Eau d'Heure

by JAdrian Simpson & Justin Waples 12 Oct 2018 14:58 BST 6-7 October 2018
Flying Fifteen Belgian Nationals 2018 © Veronique Hachez

The 2018 Belgian Flying Fifteen National Championships took place over the weekend of 6th & 7th of October, hosted by the Sports Nautiques de l'Eau d'Heure (SNEH) in the picturesque south of Belgium. A total of 11 boats from Belgium, France and Britain took part. The event has a long tradition of British boats making the journey over, it's an easy trip from Calais, with a warm welcome from the host fleet on arrival: literally a beer in our hands within 15 minutes!

Saturday morning saw the fleet rigging and launching in the lovely and unseasonably warm temperatures and a good south westerly breeze. Racing started promptly with a two lap sausage/triangle course that was used for all nine races over the two days.

Honours in the first race went to the Belgian pair and the Events past winners for the previous three years...was this a pattern? of Ezekiel Desantoine and Aurelie Chantrenne (BEL 3915) with Justin & Amanda Waples (GBR 4033) second and Chris Waples and Adrian Simpson (GBR 3994) third. Race two saw 4033 first, 3994 second and Nick Heath and Pippa Noon (GBR 3692) third. Race three went to 4033, 3915 and 3994. Race four was won by 3994, with 4033 second and 3915 third. The final race on Saturday was won by 3692 with 3994 second and 4033 third.

On Saturday night the fleet had a fantastic dinner with free flowing wine and cheese boards to die for, every ff sailor was there...and more it seemed too. This was followed by a brilliant band, accompanied by a thunderstorm half way through which seemed to just add to the occasion as rather than pull the plug, the hosts just erected more umbrellas, and cranked up the volume to drown out the noise of the rain!

Sunday morning saw a change to more seasonal temperatures, and a firm north easterly breeze.

Race 6 was won by 4033, followed by 3994 and 3682. After a short delay whilst the course was reset following a softening of the wind, race 7 was under way, with honours again going to 4033 followed by 3994 and 3915. Race 8 was won by 3994 with 3915 second and 4033 in third. Although a maximum of ten races were scheduled, as the wind continued to ease, race nine proved to be the final race of the series.

This one looked like it might introduce some new names to the leader board. The oldest boat in the fleet, BEL 2785, sailed by the youngest crew Gauthier de Mamix and Mathis Doyen (14 7 15yrs old) were mixing it with the leaders on the first beat (as well as singing as they sailed), however they weren't able to hold on to their position in the long term. At the second windward mark, 4033 lead with 3692, 3915 and BEL 3742, (Michel Vincent and Kevin Vincent) and 3994 close behind. By the final gybe mark, 3994 had come through to third behind 3692, with 4033 claiming their fifth win of the series.

Special thanks must go to Véronique (President of the Belgian Flying Fifteen Association) for organising the event, to Henri the Race Officer for his often witty and amusing and helpful translations, and his team for running the racing, and very importantly to the sponsors Chimay Brewery for keeping us refreshed.

So to wrap up, a fantastic event, never a dull moment, the Chimay beers were outstanding, so too the cheese boards, it's only an easy 2.5 hours' drive from Calais, and the Belgians certainly know how to be the perfect hosts. Will we go back? Absolutely, hopefully with some other travelling Flying Fifteens too.

Results:

1. GBR 4033 Sparks and Bubbles 'Take Two' Justin Waples, Amanda Waples RCYC 9 pts
2. GBR 3994 Mad Sparks Chris Waples, Adrian Simpson HISC 13 pts
3. BEL 3915 Eflexor Ezekiel Desantoine, Aurelie Chantrenne SNEH 19pts

The silver fleet prize went to BEL 2785 Magau Gauthier de Mamix and Mathis Doyen from SNEH.

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