Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jachtclub Scheveningen Leads Netherlands J/70 Sailing League

Netherlands J/70 sailing league spinnakers (Almere, The Netherlands)- The first act of the Netherlands J/70 Sailing League started this past weekend on the Weerwater in Almere. Eighteen well-prepared sailing clubs will be competing in five rounds for the 2017 season championship. The national champion will automatically end up in Champions League Sailing in 2018.

The big question was how the various teams would evolve after a long winter? WSV Almere Centraal, the 2016 champion, is hoping their home field advantage might help them during the season opener. In addition to Almere Centraal, KWS Sneek, Jachtclub Scheveningen, VWDTP Groningen, WSV Giebeek, RR & ZV Maas and Roer from Roermond and WV Brassermermeer would also be great contenders, at least on paper.

women's J/70 Netherlands teamThe International Yacht Club Amsterdam (IYCA), an all women’s team, was one of the two debutants this season. Fettje Osinga- team captain of IYCA commented, "The IYCA has only existed for two years. For us, it is great to be able to compete in the league. As a women’s team, we believe that you should always participate in winning. We are all bloodthirsty and ready to take on everyone! But, we know this is our first event, so we do not have high expectations to win. The league events are fun to bring friends and family together; that is something that cannot really be done at regular sailing matches."

The opening day was characterized by little wind. In the morning, a 5-6 knot wind (2 beaufort) enabled some races to be held.  But, in the afternoon, the breezes left and it was perfectly flat across the water.  As a result, it was test of light air sailing skills.  The initial leader of the regatta was a result of the good performance put in by the Groningen crew at the VWDTP sailing club.  Wouter Westerhof, team member of VWDTP, commented, "Yes, we have started to work hard and the results have paid off. Last winter we chartered two boats in Monnickendam at Waterland and sailed every two weeks, and we have been able to grow our team to about ten sailors."

Coach Frans Robertus explained the VWDTP selection process, "We started by making everybody try out the different positions on the boat. As we get closer to the start of the season, we focused crewmembers on specific positions to improve their performance. And, we then combined the two best crew from each boat. So, that is how we created crew.  Ironically, it was the same four crew as in 2016! But, they now sail on different positions this year!”

J/70 Netherlands sailing leagueAfter two days of sailing, SZ & WV Uitdam was sailing fast and was leading the standings. VWDTP from Groningen fell to third place and Jachtclub Scheveningen was second.  What was most striking was the comeback of the KWS Sneek team, who, after the disappointing performance on Friday, was able to dramatically leap up the leaderboard after winning four races.  Amazingly, the WSV Almere Centraal team, international champions 2016, ended up fourth in the ranking and cannot even score a victory on the water! In other words, the fleet is quite deep in talent and the top is getting wider!

Wietze Zetzema, crew on SZ & WV Uitdam was very pleased with their results. He commented, "We are very happy. Well, that is the result of a combination of factors. We are growing better at this game. We know when we have a bad start. We are better aware of how we can prevent problems and penalties. We found a mode to stay out of trouble. In short, we are growing better and better in our league sailing competitiveness!  We joined the league as a sailing club, so we have 15 people on our team, young, old, women and men- all very good sailors!  The sailing is really exciting and so close together!  The difference between us and number seven in the rankings is less than six points. Six points can be gained or lost in one race!”

After the smoke cleared on the race course after Sunday’s racing, it was the Jachtclub Scheveningen sailors that scored seven wins over fourteen races in three days to win the first act. In total, there were 42 races sailed on the Weerwater in Almere in beautiful and challenging circumstances.

Evert Jansen talks about the success of Scheveningen, the club that finished third in 2016. "Our secret? Consistent sailing, keep calm and keep the same team of 2016 together. We have also received no penalties, as far as I know. So go well, stay calm and stay out of trouble. That certainly matters."

In the “time to eat humble pie category” were the big winners in 2016, WSV Almere Centraal.  They had a wildly fluctuating scoreline all weekend long, but managed to get it all together to win the last three races and secure third overall.  SZ & WV Uitdam was second.  Taking fourth place was WSV Giesbeek and in fifth place was the original regatta leader- VWDTP sailing club.  Meanwhile, after a brilliant second day where they could do no wrong, KWS Sneek fell off their shopping trolley into 7th place; it was easy to fall down the slippery slope with such close competition!   Follow the Dutch J/70 Sailing league on Facebook here.   For more Netherlands J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.