Bright and early on Sunday the 24th November, the team gathered in the dark, wintery morning to scrape the ice off the car windshields and hit the road! After a quick coffee stop in an attempt to fix up some sore heads from the night before, we arrived in Medemblik Regatta Centre to a calm and sunny Ijsselmeer.
Being the last racing day in the 2019 series, the Nestor Trophy was on the line if we didn’t perform at our best. At this point in the series, Broach was in 1st place with 5 points, with RSZW just 4 points behind us and Orionis in 3rd place after them. The team was determined not to let Rotterdam claim the trophy this year and to bring home the gold for Broach once and for all!
After a quick team meeting to refine strategy and positioning, our first race was against the team from Orionis. Straight away our luck was out, as our kicker broke with 1:19min to the start gun which required a quick fix on the water, with no sympathy from the start-ship or jurors. Needless to say, we were playing catch up for the first upwind leg and hoping that our teammates would be able to execute a ‘passback’ on the offset mark, to get us out of losing position. But by the final leg Orionis was just a couple boat-lengths from crossing the finish line in 1st and 2nd place. Our only hope was to gain an advantage on pure downwind boat speed in the Elliots. Thankfully, our training had paid off and one magnificent roll gybe gave us a burst of speed and we secured a leeward overlap with the Orionis boat in 2nd, and in the perfect attacking position on the field. As we led them back upwind away from the finish, Orionis’ teammates realized they couldn’t cross the line in the meantime. As they turned around to defend, the other Broach boat managed to skillfully pressure them into fouling. And so, the Orionis boat was left taking their punishment ‘spin’ and Broach sailed over the line in 1st and 2nd place after the heart raising minutes of ‘constructive chaos’.
The second race against RSZW had the team most anxious as we knew our pride was at stake. Fortunately, there was no need for nerves as we out-sailed them easily into 1st and 2nd place.
The next 3 races against the other teams were mixed; with some instances where we could win on boat speed alone, and a few times where our mastery of the team-sailing rules got us out of a losing position including pushing windward boats over the start line and not letting opponent boats take ‘room’ at the downwind mark. The light and shifty wind added some challenge to the racecourse where the most attacking position (from a strategic point of view) happened to be on the side of the downwind with the lightest winds. Balancing boat speed and strategy is what makes team-sailing one of the most interesting ways to race on the water and show off Broach’s skills.
After some quick calculations over the tosti machine we were heading into the final race of the day, knowing that we had guaranteed ourselves the trophy no matter the result against Loefbijter. Still, we wanted to finish the day with a clean record of Wins…
Attacking aggressively from the first gun, we attempted to drive a Loefbijter boat out into an area downwind of the starting line known as ‘The Graveyard’. Hunting them by staying so close to their stern that they cannot alter course leaves them vulnerable and put us in control. Unfortunately, their teammates came to save them by attacking offensively on our boat. The tables had turned and it was our boat that was ganged up on and unable to make a good start. In combination with a shift in the wind – that resulted in an upwind-downwind course that was closer to layline that it should be – there was little Broach could do in terms of strategy to get out of losing position. So, after an uneventful up-down-up-down, Broach took their first and only Losing score of the day.
Of course, this did not dampen our spirits as we sailed off into the sunset with excitement, towards the Prizegiving where we would be awarded the shining trophy! Celebrations continued at the borrel the following Tuesday, where the trophy multi-functioned as a pitcher…
Articile by Laura Crowely
Team members: Laura Crowley, Christiaan Feij, Wouter van der Geest, Julia van den Heuvel, Emma Kok, Bryan Lesage