Didn’t we have a lovely time the week we went to Antwerp

There were 27 boats in the Antwerp City cup 2.4mR regatta, 6 entrants from the UK. We were split into two fleets, Gold and Silver at the beginning of the series to make for good sailing on the water. Some remained in the same fleets throughout the series, whilst others gained themselves a promotion from Silver to Gold. Only Megan started in the Gold fleet and no surprise, she stayed there. The fleet was very close overall, giving everyone the incentive to keep trying , despite frustrations when it felt like one had a bad day on the water. A small improvement gave big rewards in results.


After a somewhat daunting briefing where one had to quickly swat up on flags to know what might happen, we took to the lake. The winds on the lake were surprisingly challenging. Coming from Frensham I thought it might be a doddle.. how wrong was I; pressure differences and shifty winds all adding to the challenge (and enjoyment?!). In the end all races consisted of a straight foward windward / leeward course (flag W), no inner and outer courses which required flag R (inner) or O (outer) were necessary. There was one abandoned race, where a wind shift meant the Gold fleet had a fetch to the windward mark. The Gold fleet also had one general recall, showing how competitive their starts were.

For a few of the GBR boats there was successful sailing. For others there were successful races and for others successful moments. We all had our personal moments of glory on the water, with Megan winning the series for a 3rd time. There was a wealth of information and sailing tips to be picked up from the European (and American, who had a strangely German accent) entrants, who were only too happy to help a “newbie” develop her 2.4 sailing skills. A great way to learn and another reason to recommend attending such events to others.

The regatta has an extremely good balance (unlike myself – those of you who were there know what I mean) of sailing and socialising, making the entry fee a bargain. An endless supply of Belgian Bitterballen and beer following the afternoon racing lead to a certain amount of “what day is it? ” A continuous game of word bingo (I believe Martin, Megan’s Dad, was the winner of this particular event) where everything one said had another meaning, entertaining clothing at the gala dinner (Simon and Keith sporting port and starboard chino’s respectively) , all added to the fun of the event. A few of us ventured into Antwerp for the Friday (yes Ian - the Friday) meal, where there was a surprise visit from Gene Kelly (aka Simon) who did a rather marvellous rendition of “singing in the rain”, whilst riding his bike , lit up like a Christmas tree- (no tap dancing though).


Next year is the 5th anniversary of the regatta and has promise of being a very special event, so hopefully a few more Brits will make the journey.