Wednesday, December 11, 2013

J/80 JOIE DE VIVRE Smokes Grevelingen Cup

J/80 sailing off Netherlands offshoreYETI Big Time Winners in J/109s
(Marina Port Zelande, Netherlands)- This year’s Grevelingen Cup saw over 200 competitors participate across multiple classes in both ORC handicap racing as well as one-design classes.  Enjoying a strong turnout this year was the Benelux J/80 fleet sailing both in the Cup as well as sailing their J/80 Benelux Nationals.

The sailors were greeted with a real mixed bag of weather conditions that were very “un-fall like”.  Instead of fast-moving fronts bringing broken clouds, sun, plenty of wind and occasional rain showers (which is quite typical), the fleet was instead having to fight fog, gentle breezes and light air patches.  On Saturday the clouds did break up enough for a nice sea-breeze to fill in behind the fog.  Sunday was even more challenging as it was generally overcast and by later in the afternoon the wind simply quit.

The first day of the J/80 Benelux championship started an hour later because of the fog. Hence, the first up-down courses were also very short.  The RC cleverly used flashing lights on the starting boat and the buoys to help make the race course more “visible”.  As a result, the PRO managed to run five good races.  After day one the “usual suspects” were amongst the leaders- Laura Vroon’s JOE DE VIVRE and her chief rival- the Belgium team on MENTAQUILIBRIUM led by Chris Savoye.  When the smoke cleared, the JOIE DE VIVRE team  was found lying on top, albeit with only 3 points difference.

J/80s sailing off Holland in the fallDuring the second day of sailing, the battle was fierce again between the top two boats.  It was not impossible for Savoye’s MENTAQUILIBRIUM to take over the lead, but the lack of a good race track due to the light air was going to make it very difficult indeed! Here the experience of Vroon’s team proved to be very valuable when she firmly grabbed the lead and would not let go. With 11 boats at the start there was plenty of action at the buoys and the field was compact.  Eventually, Vroon’s JOIE DE VIVRE team sailed virtually untouched and took the Grevelingen Cup home with a commanding 19 pt lead!  Some might call that performance a “spanking”, or perhaps others might simply call it a “schooling” of how to sail consistently, fast, smart and stay out of trouble.

After a strong challenge on the first day, the MENTAQUILIBRIUM crew fell off the pace and their “silverware shopping trolley” must’ve lost a wheel or two.  After the sailing on Sunday, their nearly fell down to third place by virtue of the fact they had to include an 8-10 and drop an 11th from their scoreline on Sunday.  In the end, Savoye’s “MENTA” took second with 30 pts, followed by Holsboer’s JUUL team with 34 pts in third place.  The balance of the top five saw Eric Hogervorst’s QUICK & DIRTY crew in fourth with 40 pts and DeVries crew on DE SJAAK in fifth with 48 pts.

In the J/109 one-design class, PH Van Der Pol’s crew on YETI sailed a good series to take first overall.  They were followed by R Bakker’s BIG TIME in second and A Van Leeuwen’s crew took third on JOULE.

The ORC world saw a number of Dutch offshore J/Teams sailing well.  GGPM Van Beers’s J/122 JAM SESSION took second overall while H Zwijnenburg’s J/111 SWEENY took fourth in their class.   For more Grevelingen Cup sailing information