North Sea Race: Double Dutch win

Sunday, 12 May 2013


Piet Vroon’s Dutch Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, won the North Sea Race with the best score racing under the IRC rating Rule. Gusting over 25 knots with rainsqualls, the early part of the race was not a comfortable one but more settled weather in the latter part of the race with glimpse of sunshine coming through the cloud cover was welcomed by the 75 yachts that entered the race.

Harm Prins’ Dutch Volvo 60, Pleomax, took line honours and IRC Zero but corrected out to third overall. The biggest threat to Tonnerre de Breskens came from Géry Trentesaux’s MC34 Patton, Courrier Vintage, which was the victor in IRC Two. However the French flier was nearly half an hour behind Tonnerre de Breskens after time correction, Harmen J de Graaf’s Ker 40, Baraka GP, with Volvo Ocean Race veteran Bouwe Bekking on board, was also a threat but could not match Tonnerre. Much to the delight of the Dutch yacht’s skipper, Piet Vroon, Tonnerre de Breskens 3 was victorious in Scheveningen.

“I have been competing in this race since the late 1950s and we have won it many times but I was surprised that we managed to beat Géry Trentesaux’s Courrier Vintage,” declared Piet. “However Courrier Vintage had ideal conditions for last week’s Cervantes Trophy Race but this week perhaps we had the advantage, especially as the tide turned for the smaller boats as we passed Smith’s Knoll. Géry has raced with Tonnerre in the past and I have the highest respect for him. However this was a great win for Tonnerre; last year we only managed to win one race and to win the championship this year we will need to do better than that, so it is great to get an early win in the season. For the North Sea Race, we had an international crew including a British and a Belgian sharing the driving, Mark Richmond and Koen de Smeet did an excellent job but so did the entire crew, the spirit on board was very good indeed.”

The North Sea Race has a points factor of 1.2 which makes the win for Tonnerre especially significant in their bid to retake the RORC Season’s Points Championship in 2013.

Other Class winners under IRC were Iain Kirkpatrick’s British team, racing X 37 Fatjax. The team from Haven Ports Yacht Club corrected out to win IRC Three. In IRC Four Vincent Willemart’s well-campaigned Belgian JPK 10.10, Wasabi, took the class. Whilst in the Two-Handed class the Dutch team of Chris Revelman and Pascal Bakker retained the class title racing J/122 Junique.

Sixteen yachts were racing under ORC on the long course. Three Dutch yachts had a close battle for the overall win. Chris de Jongh’s Landmark 43, Skarp, led from start to finish and with just 30 miles to go was leading after time correction. However, just after dawn on the beat to finish, Leon Westhoeve’s BH41, Soulmate, took up the running and on corrected time beat Skarp by 18 minutes. However the overall win was not decided. Over an hour later, Frans Winterswijk’s Trintella 53, Antares sailed by Nicole Eggink, crossed the line to win under ORC overall.

“As we won the Vuurschepen to Harwich Race as well, it looks like we will be going home with a few trophies,” smiled Nicole Eggink, taking part in her sixth North Sea Race. “We didn’t really do anything extraordinary but we sailed the boat well, especially under spinnaker and if there was one aspect that did contribute to our victory, it was planning ahead for the tide. We went to the west before Smith’s Knoll because we knew the tide was going to change and judging how far to go off the rhumb line was not easy but I think we got our line almost perfect. I am sure we will be celebrating our win tonight!”

ORC Three and Four sailed the short course heading around Rough Buoy and straight up to Smith’s Knoll where they rejoined the rest of the fleet. Henk Zomer’s Standfast 43, Blue June, led the class around Smith’s Knoll however Pieter Kulk’s Bavaria 39, Pietekoppe, corrected out at the finish to win ORC Three and Four overall.

The RORC Season’s Points Championship continues on 25th May over the Bank Holiday weekend with the Myth of Malham Race. The 230-mile race from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes around the Eddystone Lighthouse and back to the Solent has particular significance; it is a points weighted race and the first part of the race mirrors the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Full results from the North Sea Race and more can be found at: www.rorc.org

Louay Habib

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 12 May 2013 )