Round Texel 2024 – Epic F18 Finale

Hans & Marius van Dam – Picture by Laurens Morel

Report from Wik Becker, F18 Class NL

240 catamarans, 108 wingfoilers and 30 foiling windsurfers participated this year in the 45th Round Texel Race.

With a south-westerly of up to 22 knots forecasted it promised to be a somewhat wild ride. Right after the start it was full on, surfing downwind to the northern tip of the island. Xander Pols and Frank de Waard on their foiling Nacra 20 were first through the first gate, closely followed by F18 team (Akurra) father and son Noordzij. At the 2nd gate passing in between the islands of Texel and Vlieland the Noordzij’s took the lead after the Nacra 20 made a small navigational error. Jib reaching to the VC turning mark on the Waddenzee the water got flatter, but also shallower. The Noordzij’s extended their lead, sometimes clocking close to 22 knots. The 20’s had to pull up their daggerboards and rudders while the F18’s were doing fine, setting their daggerboards just above rudder level. By now,, the wingfoilers, who had started later, were beginning to overtake the catamarans, occasionally crashing after hitting the sand. Going past them at more than 20 knots while the wingfoilers were standing up with the water under their waist was scary, but they also served as a good depth sounding tool!

Noordzij were first to turn upwind, having established a considerable lead over 2nd and 3rd F18 teams son and father Van Dam and the late put together team of Vincent Huntelman and Sander de Boer. With loads of, maybe somewhat rusty, F18 experience under their belt, they managed to sail their brand new Akurra right up to speed.

Ad & Maarten Noordzij – Picture by Laurens Morel

Then Noordzij capsized right after a tack as the crew was swung around to lee after being hit by a freak wave.
After righting the boat quickly they were now closely battling with the two other F18 teams, constantly switching positions in a 13 mile tacking duel all the way along the southern coastline of the island. The first F20’s, Pols/de Waard and father and son Steenman overtook the F18’s and were first to turn back onto the North Sea going for line honours. The three top F18’s were now going into an epic finale. Huntelman/de Boer were leading, very closely followed by Van Dam and Noordzij. As they eased the sheets following the coast line, the waves got bigger, now being fully exposed to the North Sea. Some 3 miles before the finish line Van Dam decided to go all or nothing. They set their gennaker, soon realising that they were not going to make the finish. While taking it down, father van Dam fell overboard and was holding onto the Dolphin Striker, having to be pulled onboard by his son. Being dangerously close to the surf by now, they were relieved to be sailing again. When they looked up at the other two however, to their surprise they also had set their gennakers but both had capsized in the big waves. Van Dam sailed comfortably to the finish prolongating last year’s win, Huntelman/de Boer coming in second and Noordzij third.

Roland van Balkom / Joost Wasser & Maud van Toorenburg / Theodoor Gijsbers – Picture by Laurens Morel

This year’s overall winners were Maurice Schwartz and Roman Kuhler sailing a Hobie 16 and breaking the F18 dominance on rating of the past few years. The fastest wingfoiler was Oscar Leclair setting a new course record of just over 2 hours. For all winners and results see