44th Round Texel race: report from Wik Becker
Ideal conditions for the 44 th. edition of the famous round the island race. During a warm and sunny day with 14-18 knots from N to NE, 240 cats left the beach for the relative calm North Sea waters and very little surf due to the wind coming over the island. With the easterly winds, practically blowing the water out of the Waddenzee, only 70 cm. of water was predicted during the passage between Texel and Vlieland.
The first leg to the top of the island was a beat with a long starboard tack. At the first gate the Swiss team of Yvan Bourgnon and Yohan Debauque (Nacra 20 FCS) was leading the fleet, closely followed by father and son Steenman (Nacra 20 FCS). Leading the F18 fleet were last year’s overall winners Wik and Rob Becker (Goodall Akurra). Favourites son and father Van Dam (Goodall Akurra) were battling for second place with Huntelman / Calis (Goodall C2) and De Bruijne / De Boer. The last wife/husband couple doing exceptionally well, returning to the scene after more than 10 years with a borrowed Cirrus 2.
Fast jib reaching on port tack towards the VC turning mark on the Waddenzee it was going to get shallow. The big foiling boats had to slow down, pulling their foils and rudders up. The F18’s kept sailing full speed with their daggerboards all the way up and the rudders here and there touching the bottom and kicking up.
The Swiss team of Yvan Bourgnon rounded the VC mark first followed by Steenman and the Becker brothers. Hosting their spinnakers the F20’s quickly got on their foils and were off. On the long downwind stretch along the Island Steenman showed superior speed just like the Van Dam’s in the f18 fleet, overtaking the Beckers.
At the southern tip of the Island spinakers were taken down and the fleet rounded up just laying the finishing line on starboard tack. Line honours were for Steenman, followed by Bourgnon / Debauque and father and son de Haas, who won line honours last year. Van Dam son/father combination came in fourth and won the overall title on handicap followed by the Becker brothers and De Bruijne/ De Boer.
Father/son, son/father, brothers and wife/husband combinations all did well this year. Dutch sailing legend Gerard Loos completed his 42nd Texel Round (out of 44) winning the Hobie Tiger class