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The Belgian Nationals were the weekend of August 20 th – this event normally clashes with the UK nationals so it is 4 yea rs s in ce we last participated. The venue is always the same: ‘Sharendijke’ a small village on the edge of the artificially dammed Grevelingemeer - a thirty mile long la ke separated from the sea by a large dike - 90 minutes drive north of Antwerp. Th e venue has a r eputation fo r good wind and is ex tremely popular with ki tes and windsurfers ( we have counted over 300 kites in the ai r on a good day)

We overslept in Antwerp, picked up our boat fr om the Royal Yacht Club of B elgium st ore overlooking the Schelde river & the cathedral and arrived just in time for checking in ( a first). We had assistance with rigging fr om Eric Paalman who wa s al ready rigged and le ft the harbour last picking up a tow from the rescue boat to the start 3 miles down wind, arriving just a s the preparatory signal went off (another first).

21 boats participated with Eric & I being the only foreign snipes. Eric is sai ling with his brother in a very old skipper sni pe – it survived the we ekend well but di d ex hibit remarkable mast bend chara cteristics when Eric bl asted around between races..

Saturday was a n ice sunny gentle 2 - 3 with a few lulls, the wind was, as normal, fairlyvariable with shi fts +/ - 5 degrees every few minutes and then 30 degrees every half hour or so which makes the race o fficers job tough...to make course adjustment s more rapid he set a straight upwind/downwind course and managed to complete 3 good races.

Sundays forcasts suddenly changed to 20 kts+ in the bar on Saturday night and by the middle of the firs t triangle th is wind wa s upon us giving an advantage to those of us who had trained in heavy weather this year (UK sai lors and those who went to the worlds) from those who had just done a bit of lake sai ling ... By the end of Sunday race 1 a number of crews were lo oking worse for wear & only half the boats survived through to complete race 3. We got a couple of nice results in this w ind includ in g being first to the windward mark in a ll three races (but ju st too close to the mark in one race!).

Other notable performances were Erwin Everaerts in sni pe 21635 who was always in contention, and Ben and Nadia who had trained hard at the worlds and racing on the Dragon circuit. But as normal Manu Hens was the clear winner..

The ev ent is very friendly and welcom in g .. the Schar endijke Yacht Club hold their annual ‘mussel s & chips’ festival on Saturday night & those who are still hungry or thirsty retire to the excellent restaurant on the upper deck with magnificent views across the meer.

Helm Crew Club Sail No R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Points Position
Manu Hens Nicolas Van Schaftingen RCYB 30714 2 3 2 2 1 1 8 1
Ben Van Cauwenberg Nadia Deferm RCYB 30311 9 2 OCS 1 4 2 18 2
Drik De Bock Anton De Bock RCYB 30400 6 9 6 3 2 3 20 3
Andy Gibson Carol Gibson HSSC 29374 14 11 9 4 9 5 38 8
Eric Paalman Hans Paalman BSC 23268 20 21 19 20 16 DNS 96 21

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