Wednesday, May 18, 2016

J/105 PANTHER North Sea Race Double Champion!

J/105 Panther sailing RORC North Sea Race J/122s Sweep IRC 2 Class!
(Harwich, United Kingdom)- The North Sea Race is 180nm offshore adventure from Harwich, UK to the Smith's Knoll Buoy off the North Norfolk Coast then east across the North Sea to Scheveningen, The Netherlands. Organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the Royal Harwich Yacht Club, the East Anglian Offshore Racing Association and the Yacht Club Scheveningen.

How did the various J/Teams fair in this classic race?  Amazing! Seven of top eleven Overall!  And, five were double-handed teams!

This year’s event was blessed with summer-like conditions. After a beat to South Galloper Buoy, the fleet turned north for a long starboard tack reach to Smith's Knoll Buoy, followed by a port tack reach to the Netherland's coast and a beat to finish at Scheveningen.  The high pressure that produced a light airs race suited the smaller yachts.

In IRC 1, racing Two-Handed was Bart Desaunois' J/133 BATFISH, taking the silver while fellow J/133 owner, Angus Bates, sailed ASSARAIN IV with a full crew to fourth in class.

In IRC 2, the top three yachts were all racing Two-Handed- all J/Boats in a sweep of the class! Chris Revelman & Pascal Bakker's J/122 JUNIQUE RAYMARINE SAILING TEAM was the winner. Robin Verhoef's J/122E AJETO was second and Chris Schram's J/120 MAVERICK was third.  Seventh in class was the British Army Sailing Association’s J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER.

In IRC 3, Kees Mijs' J/109 ARETHUSA was the winner while fellow countryman Alain Bornet took fourth place in his J/109 JAI ALAI.

In IRC 4, taking second place in class and winning a tough IRC Two-Handed Class were Yvonne Beusker & Eric Van Vuuren with their J/105 PANTHER!  Fellow J/105 skipper, Robert Nelson skippering BIGFOOT, also sailed double-handed and took 4th in class.

The IRC Two-handed class was, essentially, a clean sweep of the top J/teams.  First was the J/105 PANTHER, followed by the J/105 BIGFOOT in third, the J/122 JUNIQUE RAYMARINE in fourth, the J/122E AJETO in fifth, and the J/120 MAVERICK in sixth!

Yvonne Beusker commented on her performance, ”My usual sailing partner for Team PANTHER is Edith Voskamp but she had shoulder surgery, so Eric was my partner for the race. He is our team coach and we did some of the Global Ocean Race together in a Class 40. Two-Handed racing has become very popular in the Netherlands and the North Sea Race is part of our National Championship. I believe our win was down to keeping each other sharp. It is difficult to stay alert in light winds but we made a big point of keeping each other focused, even after 30 hours with little sleep."

J/122E sailing RORC North Sea RaceHere is the report from Chris Revelman on the J/122 RAYMARINE JUNIQUE:

“As always, we focus on getting home fast! It was nice weather for sailing. The nights at sea were very cold, but you can dress you warmly, they were fantastic conditions!

After our winter break, these were our first two races for the season. We had not yet been out sailing or practicing! Our boat-handling was okay, and we were soon back in our usual routines.

The first race across to Harwich port from The Netherlands was good sailing for us. A great fight with IL CORVO and the J/133 BATFISH. Eventually, we finished 5th behind BATFISH and PANTHER.  John and Robin’s new J/122E AJETO was first.

The North Sea race is one of our favorite races of the season. We had a very nice start and arrived at the first mark together with AJETO. From there, we set, alternatively, the A3 and Code 0 as the wind kept shifting.  We kept changing places with BATFISH and AJETO for the 80nm across the English Channel to the other side near the Netherlands seacoast.  At the next turning mark before heading to the finish line, MN-4, we chose to stay inside the group around us and made a big gain, allowing us to come out in front of BATFISH and AJETO.

The circumstances from that moment on were very mixed. The effects of a cold sea and a warmed-up land nearby produced big differences between the offshore gradient wind and the onshore breeze along the coast. Exactly as the time we were going around the mark, a vacuum formed between the two winds.  Clearly, the land breeze was better.

With the speed and momentum that we had left, we headed straight ahead towards the beach for the land breeze until we can catch it and head towards the finish. That worked out even better than we had expected.

With "only" 5 miles to the finish line, after 32 hours of sailing, we are headed fast (relatively speaking) to the finish line.  Beer is finally in sight!!

However, a massive hole was forming in front of us.  We can see wind out to sea, so we gybed out to get it and then rode that new wind streak into the finish line!  Wow, we finish the race as the third boat in the entire race on elapsed time!  That beer tasted even better after the finish!

We win IRC 2 Class!! And, we were 7th overall in the standings. Two-handed sailing in this light and changing circumstances is hard enough, we are happy with our result!

Next weekend is the continuation of the Netherlands Two-Handed National Championship series. We're going for it during the inshores and we hope to be able to climb in the standings. The competition level within the shorthanded circuit is big, so there are several contenders. Now, it’s time to get some sleep!!”   Follow the J/122 RAYMARINE JUNIQUE here on Facebook  For more RORC North Sea Race sailing information