Masters of the light, Spindrift racing is victorious in Medemblik
Two points separated the four top teams going into the third and final day of the 2019 M32 European Series’ second stopover in Medemblik, Holland. A forecast for an easterly breeze of more than 10 knots had the crews sailing five up licking their lips such as Aston Harald boss Håkan Svensson’s Valhalla Cape Crow Vikings and Zurich-based Brit Richard Davies on Section 16. However after a promising early part of the day when four races were sailed, the wind slowly dropping until it was sub-four knots, and being uneven across the race course proved too light even for the featherweight M32 catamarans to compete.
Stars of the show today, like yesterday, were Spindrift racing. The Franco-Swiss team won Saturday by two points and today came within a point of a perfect score line, claiming three of the four races causing enabling them to win the M32 European Series Holland with a five point cushion.
“It was the team that won – I’m very happy for us,” said Xavier Revil, who is standing in for usual skipper Yann Guichard. “It is our first win on the M32 European Series but it was very close – we had equal points this morning with Section 16 and were only two points ahead of GAC Pindar and Cape Crow.”
Spindrift racing seemed especially quick in the light conditions, a function perhaps of having a lighter weight crew, but also being especially slick in their light wind manoeuvring. “We have very good speed upwind and downwind in these light conditions,” said Revil. “Downwind we just managed to fly a hull when the others didn’t. We were treading on egg shells….”
A long term catamaran sailor, Revil has raced most comparable boats to the M32, but is still impressed by how well it sails in impossibly little breeze. ”The mainsail is really big and the mast is really high, so in light winds the boat is really nice because it will still fly on one hull. And we can use the gennaker upwind. Yesterday we had more wind and it was really good fun also.” He adds: “And the circuit is good. What we are after is good competition and we have had that in Pisa and here. The management of the circuit is really nice, with a good race committee and umpires and we have had good, fair races.”
Spindrift racing’s victory finally broke the unbroken string of victories in the M32 European Series by Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar team which began a year ago. Williams’ crew went into the final day very hungry to continue their success but acknowledged sailing with two new crew here, he had lost to the better team. Of Spindrift racing he said: “They were gone. They are generally fast all of the time and they sailed well – all credit to them. Well done.”
According to Williams the critical moment came in race three when they were leading up the final beat only for Spindrift racing to gain the advantage (and the bullet) by crossing them on starboard: “We got a penalty and that meant they were ahead of us for the day, rather than us being ahead of them.”
Finishing just two points astern of the British team was Section 16’s Richard Davies, top owner-driver here in Medemblik. Coming third, despite having been tied on equal points with the leaders at the end of day 1 and day 2, Davies was nonetheless delighted by his performance: “We had an advantage on the first two days, sailing five up in slightly more pressure, but then the pendulum swung back towards them today when the wind dropped away. I hoped we could hold on to second and I think if the breeze had been up we would have had a good shot. It is fantastic to be on the podium with two world class teams, Spindrift racing and GAC Pindar.”
Håkan Svensson’s Cape Crow Vikings finished fourth, five points astern having been fully mixing up in the top four throughout the event.
Two of the new M32 teams competing here also showed great improvement today and in race two it was Dutch keelboat sailor Harold Vermeulen and his LeeLoo team that won the start and was first to the reaching mark with the young match racers on Knots Racing Team, led by 20-year-old Nick Egnot-Johnson, in second behind them. The team that is part of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Performance Program have joined the M32 European Series making use of the development generously donated to the circuit by the M32’s builder Aston Harald.
Of the regatta, local organiser, Frans Driessen of Event 32, said: “The event has been fantastic and it has been great to have the M32 Class racing here in Holland. The weather has been good and we got almost all of the racing in. I hope the M32 European Series will return to Holland again next year.”
The M32 European Series Holland was hosted by Regatta Centre Medemblik and Dutch Match and Team Racing Association. The circuit now moves on to Marstrand over 19-21st July.