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Belgian National and Open Championship 2004

KLYC, Galgenweel, Antwerp

September 4-5

As in previous years, there was a conflict between Belgian and German OK-Dinghy national championships. This time our boats were already in this longditude so...

The event was, as usual, hosted by the KLYC at their small lake of Galgenweel (Antwerpen).

Weather on Saturday morning was warm, sunny & still; when we passed our local lake in S.Belgium at 10.30a.m. it was like a mirror (we thought of Dümmersee), but Galgenweel is closer to the sea and had already a WSW zephyr at midday, with maybe 50 boats out, including Opti & Splash training. On arrival, we could count just 6 OK's,- 1 German (Jo), 1 Englishman, 1 Dutchman, 2 Frog eaters, and just 1 Belgian. Curiously, ALL of these currently live in France ! After lunch, a few real Belgians turned up, and we had in the end 13 entries including 2 ladies (Jo & Audrey) 2 Marcs & 1 Mark.

R1 was a chaotic start, 4 boats didn't make it in time and the others were so lazy about starting I couldn't believe the start signal had really been given. Light & shifty winds throughout a shortened course, Bart arrived late & sailed through the whole fleet for fun (or maybe just to humiliate us all), but line honours went to Marc Bourgneuf, who took the lead on the second beat and clung to it like a bulldog, trailed by Jan Melis, returning to OK sailing after a gap of 20 years, sailing Vic Abeloos's old boat.

2nd start was abandoned with with a big shift just before the gun, and then a lot of time trying to find a place on the water with stable wind, leading to R2 with wind veering, but with equally big shifts both before and just after the start, and an 'upwind' leg which required no tacking. Race won by a certain Mr Bomans.

For R3, Bart lent his boat to a club laser sailor in order to help the race committee set up a course with a reasonable beat to the NW, and at the last minute, Rod, curious to see what would happen, lent BEL 1 to Bart. His 1st place proves that there is nothing seriously wrong with 1961-built BEL 1, but maybe plenty wrong with 1946-built Rod as helmsman.

KLYC hospitality on Saturday evening included free sunset & local beer,- as much as we could drink,- and a fine cheese platter supper on the edge of the water. Nice.

Sunday started with a little 1-2 which died away to 0-1 for the race start time of 10.30. We made R4,5,6 in sunbathing weather with light but gradually increasing NE wind, Bart, Marc V, Jan, Rod playing follow-my-leader, starting and finishing in that order in all 3 races, Marc pushing Bart quite hard at one point.. The monotony was only relieved by Mark G tripping over his toestraps and going for a nice cooling swim in R4.

Back on shore there was a protest hearing, in which the race committee decided to protest Bart & Rod for playing at boat-swapping in R3. The KLYC jury helpfully commented that there is a technical difference between a fault (always to be penalized) and a genuine mistake (which might be excused), so Rod explained that they had accidentally taken the wrong boats because the colours were so similar! Bart was more serious, and interested in who had taken the initiative to protest, race committee or jury,- some local politics going on here. Both DSQ for R3, which would have pushed Bart into 3rd position overall. However, the jury also decided that the 4 boats who missed the start on R1 had been unfairly impeded by the mass of other non-competing boats on the slipway, and should be awarded redress under 62.1, attributing the average points scored by the others.

Seemed like an unnecessarily complicated way to decide the obvious; the best man won,, but with a well-deserved second place to Marc Vande Ghinste, obviously inheriting some skill from his daughter (current Europe class ladies champion) and showing excellent form in an old boat restored from ruin. 3rd place, on the same points, to Jan. An minor surprise in the results was the 6th place awarded to Jo in R3, an amazing result considering she was on shore at the time with a 'kaput knie' (Merlin accident in July).

As usual KLYC put on an excellent and thproughly enjoyable event,- we just lacked a few sailors. Antwerpen is easy to reach for many of the German sailors, let us try to make these events NOT clash next year and see more cross-participation in both this and the German championships. Galgenweel is also reasonably close for the UK sailors, several of whom have made it in the past. Let us get back up to 25-30 boats in 2005 ; note it down now; Belgian championships will be at Galgenweel, 1st w/e in Sept.2005.

Rod & Jo Andrew-Becker

1Bart BomansBEL 44RDG1DSQ1117.4
2Marc Vande GhinsteBEL 1448322213
3Jan MelisBEL 20522633313
4Rod AndrewBEL 135DSQ44420
5Marc BourgneufFRA 2113877725
6Mark GeboesBEL 604RDG4485625.2
7Beno�t de VilleneuveFRA 29956766528
8Maarten HopmanBEL 441l712558DNS37
9Senne DeboeureBEL 441d879119841
10Jo Andrew-BeckerBEL 29696DNSDNSDNS49
11Audrey DierickxBEL 235RDG10109121049.2
12Dominique IstasseBEL 125913111011950
13Jeroen NijsGBR 2009RDG111212101155.2