Moana leaps forward on Day 2 of IRC Europeans

Day two of the IRC European Championship at Damen Breskens Sailing Weekend could not have been more different to Day 1; yesterday’s opening race, a medium coastal, was tricky in the extreme for race committee and competitors alike as the wind went through 180 degrees and built from nothing to mid-20s.

However, for this second day of competition for the RORC and UNCL’s popular rating rule, the wind had consolidated in the north. Here in the Netherlands on the mouth of the River Scheldt leading to Antwerp this is a more stable direction although today the breeze still built from around 12 to 21 knots.

In these conditions and still under a brilliant summer sun, PRO Menno Vercouteren laid on three races: two windward/leewards, followed by a round the cans. Once again, for the three IRC classes each involved three starts and three courses of varying lengths with, for example, the final round the cans being 13 miles for IRC One, 10.5 for IRC Two and nine for IRC Three.

Beneteau First 47.7 Moana put in the best performance across the classes – Ineke Peltzer pic

Across the classes, it is the Goubou family’s Beneteau First 47.7, Moana, that has put in the best performance. Fresh from her recent class victory at Cowes Week, Moana, which is the longest yacht competing here, posted a 3-3-1 today.

At the halfway stage of this seventh IRC European Championship, the Belgium boat holds a commanding 10-point lead over RORC Commodore, James Neville’s HH42 INO XXX. Jean-Eudes Renier’s MAT 12 Sailplane, winner of today’s second race, is one point behind in third.

The Gerd-Jan Poortman-skippered Ker 46 Van Uden-ROST, the scratch boat here, won today’s first race, but is still reeling from a costly DSQ in yesterday’s double scoring, non-discardable coastal race.

Arjen van Leeuwen’s J109 Joule is top of IRC2 after two days – Ineke Peltzer pic

In IRC Two, the pair of J/109s, Arjen van Leeuwen’s Joule and John Smart’s Jukebox from the UK, continue to lead with Belgium’s Wouter Borghijs and his A-35 Tontin third. Oddly, none of them won a race today.

Instead, Radboud Crul’s Dehler 36 Rosetta took the bullet in the first windward-leeward, the second going to Jörg Sigg’s J/99 Lallekonig with the round the cans claimed by Robert Jockin’s Dehler 39 Griel. Rosetta and Lällekönig would most likely be on the podium overall tonight had they not been among four boats disqualified under the third race’s U flag start.

Despite her UFD, Rosetta is fourth overall, a mere point away from the podium. “We have still got Saturday and Sunday to go,” says Crul cautiously, a RORC race regular and veteran of six Rolex Fastnet Races. “We enjoyed the sailing today very much. It was very nice weather – a real joy to sail in this championship…so far.”

Of his racing today, Crul commented: “Every dog has his day and today I had some lucky breaks. We were not so good in the start, but we came back and did okay. The boat is going well. And you have to do your tactics right and go fast in the right direction. It was a beautiful day to sail with 15-18 knots.”

Michel Dorsman’s Sport Extra Djinn is on a roll in IRC 3 – Ineke Peltzer pic

The only boat to win two races today was the new leader of IRC Three, Michel Dorsman’s Extra Djinn. The Dutch X-362 Sport (which has kept its appealing name from when her previous British owner Neville Hodkin campaigned her on the Solent), won today’s first and third races, and has leapt ahead of yesterday’s winner Alain Rousseau’s Dehler 29 Picsou, to lead by two points.

Kees Keetels CSI Rakker is third. His A-31 is one point from second, having won today’s second race after a day never finishing off the podium, albeit still one point shy of Extra Djinn.

Extra Djinn’s genoa and spinnaker trimmer Madelon Voets commented: “We had a really good day. Today’s wind suited us very well – better than yesterdays. The forecasts were saying different winds, but it turned out really well.

“Out here off Breskens, it comes down to the tactics. Boat handling is important, but there’s all the wind shifts (because we are between different parts of land and islands and the wind is different on different sides of the course) and because there is also shallow water in some places, so we have to look at the current to see where we need to be regarding the tide. Our tactician did a really good job today.”

Extra Djinn is having a successful season, winning events across the Netherlands including the Dutch National Championship. “We are on a roll this year,” continued Voets, adding that after Extra Djinn’s origins racing on the Solent, “she remains well optimised for IRC.”

A win to win to Gerd-Jan Poortman’s Van Uden-ROST – Ineke Peltzer pic

Racing continues tomorrow (Saturday) with the wind still northerly but lighter (sub-15 knots). Once again, an around the cans race and two windward-leewards are scheduled.

Further information is available on the event website: https://www.breskenssailing.nl/

James Boyd/RORC media

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