Several sailors itching for some European competition following the cancelled German event a month earlier made their way to join the Dutch Nationals at the Spiegelplas in early September. It was an international fleet with 4 British boats and 2 German sharpies joining the host nation to make a fleet of 23 in all.
The Dutch have the organisation of this event down to a fine art and make the most of the fact that sailing time is limited only by daylight hours. The first start was 13:00 on Friday and 10 races later we finished sailing Sunday lunchtime. The sequence SAIL – DRINK BEER – SLEEP – REPEAT is a fair summary!
Spiegelplas is a beautiful lake just South of Amsterdam. Like many Dutch lakes it is surrounded by trees which have a creative effect on the wind direction at times. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the windshifts are ‘lucky’ or ‘fluky’; the same boats ended up at the front of the fleet every race proving that they can’t all be lucky all the time! The light winds typical of Holland didn’t materialise and instead the fleet was blown around the course by a good Force 4+ most of the weekend.
Racing was dominated by 4 Dutch boats and was so tight that going in to the last race the leader was on 15 points and the next 3 boats were all on 17 points. It really was a case of the last race counting for everything. Daan Versteeg crewed by Arnold Mulderij rounded off an excellent season by winning the title which he added to wins at the Dutch Sprint Championship and the British Championship earlier in the season.
First British boat was GBR125 Windspiel with Chris & Will Gibbs who finished 5thoverall, the other British crews being GBR127 Skybird with Adam Anthony and Tim Adams 12th, GBR16 Andrew Cracknell & Sally Wynne 15thand GBR135 Martin Read & Bob Curtis 16th. Full results are on the website here.
If you haven’t tried the Dutch Nationals before it is definitely worth the effort. You won’t be disappointed and will be assured of a very warm welcome by our Dutch friends.