With just four months to go before the Olympic Games in Tokyo the Dutch 49erFX racing teams have been taking part in the first major race of the season – the Lanzarote Winter Series 2021.
The racing took place on a restless ocean: Offshore islands typically experience reliable daily winds of Force 4-6 producing lively waves overlaid on a pronounced ocean swell arriving from a completely different direction. When the trade wind blows contrary to the current – as happened on the second to last day of the competition – things can get really bouncy. Skipper Annemiek Bekkering describes the waves that day as being like those you get in water-park wave-pool.
That was the ocean arena in which forty-six FX class boats battled it out with the fierce competition you expect amongst the world’s top athletes. Fighting tooth-and-nail for every place in these conditions produced some spectacular capsizes – either from pressing just a bit too hard on the accelerator, or being surprised by an eruption of water engulfing the bow in the confused seas.
Former double World Number One duo Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz nailed yet another career polishing result taking Silver in this exciting event.
Practising on location since the end of January – the boat and sails with which they produced this result will go with them to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
With so many faultless performances making up the scoreline at the Lanzarote event, one’s eye is naturally drawn to the races which went badly wrong! Let’s find out what happened:
Annemiek says: “When a race is slipping away from you it’s not always easy to put your finger on what’s going wrong but it can usually be remedied by calling Reset!! mid-race and taking fifteen seconds to clear our minds – even if we let a boat past – then make a plan and click back into the action.
“Frustratingly that didn’t work for us on day four when we failed to produce a good result in any of the heats. It might have been lack of strategy or lack of confidence; poor communication or allowing ourselves to be too easily distracted – or all of those things together. I remember we tacked round the top mark and lost five places at once.
“But you have to let go of the frustration, bring yourself back to basics and let the training take control. After sliding down the table on day four we were really happy to finish the competition with Silver!”
Brazilian sailors Grael and Kunze took first place; Bekkering and Duetz took Silver for Nederland; and the host nation’s Echegoyen and Barceló romped into third place for Spain.
Also competing for Nederland were: WILLEMIJN OFFERMAN and ELISE DE RUIJTER who only just missed out on taking part in the medal race; ODILE VAN AANHOLT and EMMA SIEWERS; SVEA KARSENBARG and CECILE JANMAAT; together with fellow compatriots FLORINE BRAMERVAER and IBEN NIELSBY CHRISTENSEN.
Some really great racing was enjoyed by all at this kick off event for 2021.
Next up – the World Cup Series of events is slightly in the air due to health restrictions – but the Dutch fleet should be back in action in May.
Bring it on!
Victron Energy is very proud to sponsor the Dutch 49erFX team and we look forward to more action in this exciting Olympic year.