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Baraka wins exciting North Sea Race

by Louay Habib 3 Jun 05:51 BST 31 May - 1 June 2019
Ker 43 Baraka GP sailed by Herman De Graaf. - 2019 RORC North Sea Race © Paul Wyeth / RORC

The 2019 Royal Ocean Racing Club's North Sea Race was won by Ker 43 Baraka GP sailed by Harmen De Graaf (NED). However, victory in the 180nm race from Harwich UK to Scheveningen Netherlands was mighty close. Ker 46 Van Uden, sailed by Wouter Verbaak, was under two minutes behind after IRC time correction. Ker 51 Oystercatcher XXXIII sailed by Richard Matthews (GBR) took Line Honours and corrected out to finish third overall.

Overall winner of the 2019 North Sea Race was Baraka GP skippered by Harmen De Graaf with crew: Lennard Bal, Douwe Broekens, Olivier De Graaf, Dirk De Graaf, Amy Prime, Piers Tyler, Arianne van de Loosdrecht, Bart Van Pelt, Steve Aiken, Mees De Graaf, and Lily Lower.

Fine weather and solid breeze provided fast downwind and reaching conditions for the fifth race of the RORC Season's Points Championship. The Baraka GP team, containing four members of the De Graaf family, celebrated in style in Scheveningen.

"My father has been racing in the North Sea since he was a teenager, and we were all brought up racing from a very young age," commented Dirk De Graaf, one of three brothers on board Baraka GP. "Our plan at the start of the North Sea Race was to try and keep in touch downwind with the bigger boats in our class, and then set our fractional zero (Fr0) when we went onto the reach. This meant that the whole team was hiking hard as we were very high with the Fr0. Baraka GP has some very talented young sailors on board, and this dynamic has had a very positive effect on how hard we can push the boat. The big race for us is the Rolex Fastnet Race, and our ultimate goal is to join the small number of Dutch boats that have won the Fastnet Trophy over the years."

In IRC One, Grand Soleil 43 Il Corvo, sailed by Astrid De Vin (NED), won class for the second year in a row. A13 Phosphorus II, sailed by Mark Emerson (GBR), with a crew all in their twenties, was runner-up. ILC 40 Visione sailed by Nikolaus Knoflacher (AUT), completed the podium, by under a minute after time correction from Corby 38 Double Edge, sailed by Chris Schram (NED).

IRC Two and IRC Double Handed was won by J/122 Ajeto, sailed by Robin Verhoef (NED) and John Van Der Starre (NED). The Dutch duo scored a memorable victory in IRC Two ahead of JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommande, sailed by Gery Trentesaux (FRA), and J/122 Junique Raymarine Sailing Team, also sailed Two-Handed by Chris Revelman (NED) and Pascal Bakker (NED). Ajeto also scored a notable win over one of the Netherland's top short handed sailors Erik van Vuuren (NED) racing W36 Hubo.

"Gert Trentesaux and Erik van Vuuren are two of the world's best but they are getting used to new boats and we know all about that. However that will not stop me telling my grandchildren about this victory!" smiled Ajeto's John Van Der Starre. "As always, we pushed Ajeto really hard together. It is wonderful to race with Robin, the atmosphere when we sail together is just fantastic. We will be racing in our fifth Fastnet later this year. It will be a really tough competition, but win or lose I know we will both enjoy the challenge."

In IRC Three, W36 Hubo was the winner, Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, sailed Two-Handed by Rob Craigie (GBR) and Deb Fish (GBR) was second. Third was Sunfast 3600 Black Sheep, sailed by Trevor Middleton (GBR) and skippered by Jake Carter (GBR). Black Sheep have now extended their lead in the overall ranking for the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship.

In IRC Four, the podium was all teams from the Netherlands, X-362 Extra Djinn, sailed by Michel Dorsman, took class line honours and was the winner after IRC time correction. Standfast 43 Blue June, sailed by Henk Zomer was second, which will be encouraging for their Rolex Fastnet campaign. Varianta 37 Sailselect, sailed by Jeroen Koninkx, completed the podium.

The 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship continues Saturday 8th June with the De Guingand Bowl Race. Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, rounding marks and waypoints, and taking in the headlands of the central English Channel, before returning to the Solent to finish.

For more information including YB Tracking of all the yachts visit rorc.org

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