Again, same as previous editions, the Delta Lloyd Open Dutch Championships wasn’t decided until the last race. Difficult and different conditions on Saturday and Sunday made it a real tactical battle on the course. This year Dutchies Jolbert van Dijk & Frank de Waard claimed the podium leaving the Belgium teams just behind them. For Patrick Demesmaeker/Gilles Tas (BEL) it’s their 2nd silver medal in a row after winning the gold one in 2015. This year the young Belgiums Philip Hendrickx/Filip Olyslager were on the podium in 3rd position.
The first autumn storm of the year (10 bft) hit the Netherlands on Wednesday Sept 13th, but luckily the conditions for the weekend were much more gentle. No less than 21 teams showed up at the start on Saturday for their first 4 races of the weekend. At 11:00 the first race started in light conditions of 7-9 knots. Frank de Waard: “Jolbert and I were on the water in time to check the settings of our boat, but almost missed the first start. We arrived just in time, saw a gap, had a great start and had an awesome race till the finish! In race 2 & 3 we were a bit unlucky… in race 2 we were parked at the startline, but managed to catch up with the fleet and have a top 5 result. In the 3rd race we had a port-starboard collision where one hull cracked, but luckily we could continue. In the last race on Saturday we took no risk and ended 3rd overall.”
Since the Europeans in Brest 2016 (France) Van Dijk/De Waard have a rich history battling Demesmaeker/Tas. In Brest Demesmaeker was always in front of them, in Copenhagen at the F18 Worlds 2017 they shared the podium (both 2nd overall) so Van Dijk/De Waard were determined to beat them this weekend. “But, we also learned at the Worlds in Copenhagen that we must not push ourselves too much based on the provisional results… we won’t sail any better by doing that. So we agreed not to focus on ranking and results anymore and just keep on sailing as hard as we can“, De Waard tells.
Sunday – ‘To race or not to race’
First expectations on Sunday were that no races could be sailed at all because a low pressure area was on top of Medemblik. Although the wind was a bit lighter with 4-7 knots, conditions were sunny and stable. “The day started well with a 3rd place and the second race with a win. In this race we were 10th at the top mark, the next round 4th and downwind we choose the other side of the course and won the race. That’s pretty good for your confidence!” De Waard smiles. In the last race of the day Demesmaeker/Tas did a final attempt to keep Van Dijk/De Waard away from the golden medal and choose the other side of the course trying to finish at least two boats before them, but without luck.
Demesmaeker: “It’s already some time ago that Gilles and I sailed our F18, the last time was the F18 Worlds in Copenhagen. Last weekend in Medemblik we also sailed with a decksweeper for the first time. After a couple of races we were used to the new system, sail and maneuvers on the boat. The conditions last weekend didn’t result in making a difference with this new setup compared to the ‘normal sail’. Last weekend Jolbert and Frank were the absolute Champs on the course. They did very well to get back to the top of the fleet after being in some difficult situations. They know Medemblik very well and knew exactly where they could find breeze. Gilles and I prefer a bit more wind, so we won’t have to search for it.”
De Waard was also very positive about the decksweeper that was used by all Belgium and some Dutch teams. De Waard: “I really think it’s a great development for the class and also good to see it’s already adopted by many teams. Also great to see we have this new option within the box rules, but… you also see it’s no guarantee that you’ll win with this setup.”
Overall Top 10:
- Van Dijk/De Waard (23 points)
- Demesmaeker/Tas (24 points)
- Hendrickx/Olyslager (33 points)
- Van Dam/Van Dam (37 points)
- Delnooz/Van Leeuwen (39 points)
- De Houting/Den Houting (45 points)
- Veenman/Kleijweg (45 points)
- Dalfsen/Blaauw (45 points)
- Breur/Everaars (49 points)
- Veenstra/Dekker (62 points)
Photo credit: Klaas Wiersma Media