Boterletter - Dutch Open
written by Gerben den Hartog on December 8 of 2023 and read by 308
The downwind with the French team figthing hard
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The weekend before December 5th (Sinterklaas) is traditionally the season closing event for SCN with the Boterletterrace and Dutch Open on the Kralingsche plas in Rotterdam. 8 teams were registered to enjoy sailing in winter conditions. Unfortunately, the German teams had to cancel due to the winter weather. Michael Dietzel and Martin Zeileis were already on the runway in Munich with the plane bound for Rotterdam, when they had to return to the gate due to too much snow. Sigrid and Anna Dietzel were even already in Rotterdam and luckily they were able to return by train.
The French team with Marc Léfevre, Nicolas Heintz and Thierry Jamin arrived in Rotterdam on Friday morning. The boats were put into the water for battle under very cold conditions. It had frozen quite a bit on Friday night and the boats were found frozen white in the morning. At that moment you wonder what is so nice about sailing. At nine o'clock the sun rose over the lake but the wind stayed away and the start was postponed for an hour. We went to the canteen and waited for the wind with coffee and hot chocolate. Some hoped that it would not come at all and had become the greatest friends with the stove. However, the committee decided to make the first start for the Lasers at 11am. This weekend, 9 different classes started on the lake, totaling 150 boats. After the Lasers it was the Solingen's turn to sail the M course (shape of the Boterletter).
There was a good wind of 4 to 7 knots and 6 boats started. The first match was won by the NED 38 after an exciting battle. After this, we quickly went to the harbor to warm up during lunch. The conclusion was that with the sun it was still nice to sail in the winter. The water was returned to in good spirits for the two afternoon matches. The NED 33 won the second race, the NED 38 again took the win in the third race, which was shortened due to the loss of wind.
The boats were brought into the harbor and prepared for a cold night, then the sailors went back to the clubhouse for a nice chat with drinks and ‘bitterballen'. Various partners of the sailors and other good sailing friends also trickled in. At half past seven a delicious stew buffet was ready for us. Theo de Lange, who sailed in the morning race for the first time, opened the buffet with a warm welcome to all guests, especially the French team.
After the buffet it was time to present the “Shit happens award”. This award goes to someone who has meant something special to the soloing club in the past year. This year the board unanimously chose a special pair, namely Peter and Ilse Verboom, who ensured that we had a clubhouse in the harbor for all Dutch participants during the European Championships in Warnemunde. This was a wonderful luxury and a very hospitable experience for all. After a pleasant evening, everyone found a warm bed, ready to be present early the next day.
On Sunday the boats were once again frozen white and many sheets were frozen to the deck. The foredeck first had to be cleared of ice. The wind had increased to 11 to 16 knots, but fortunately the sun came back. In the fourth race, FRA 208 immediately took the lead and they did not relinquish this position. Marc's new boat was on fire. After lunch the final race followed, the podium had certainly not yet been determined. After an exciting battle, the NED 33 won this race and thus also took the overall victory.
The Soling board looked back on a very successful event and hopefully there will be even more boats on the starting line next year.
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