All the ingredients were in the mix for the 2009 O'pen BIC World Cup that will live long in people's memories: a superb stretch of water, a fantastic welcome from the host club at Medemblik and ideal sailing conditions.
Taking place against a backdrop of windmills, an off-shore wind farm and picturesque Dutch coastal villages, the races went of quickly and smoothly and some new race formats were tested, appropriately for the innovative spirit of the O'pen BIC. Double option triangles*, used from the start of the event, seemed to specially please the fleet of young racers.
In the heavy conditions of the first day, the Dutch team quickly asserted itself, with Kevin Bergers (NED) shining in the under 15 section, Junya Fuji (JPN) and Liede Lambriex (NED) leading home the field and Liede Zijker (NED), regularly featuring in the top 5. The French riders were close behind with Vianney Bergot very consistent behind Berger. In the afternoon session, after an excellent picnic lunch at the club, the race committee ran two rounds of giant slalom. An upwind run was followed by six big full speed downwind legs in the style of Funboard racing, with some spectacular action around the marker buoys! Once again the Dutch team led the way, followed by the French contingent and Fuji. The first day standings gave a big clue as to the final overall World Cup positions.
On day two the wind slackened a little, allowing some of the lighter weight riders and those more used to flatter, inland water to climb up the rankings, but leaving them unable to dislodge the leading bunch from the podium positions. Double option triangles with upwind runs were the order of the day, with an experienced judging panel making sure that these original and innovative course lay outs were fully adhered to. Botters (sail-powered cargo ships) and ferries straight out of a Tintin cartoon sailed past in the background...
The three days of racing came to a close on Monday with a freestyle session for fun in the marina, then two rounds of open cross and one triangle when the wind picked up. A big party every evening and no race appeals allowed all the riders to enjoy these evening sessions with the same great spirit that marked the whole event (all penalties were decided out on the water, so the traditional discussions and arguments on the quayside after the races simply don't exist at the O'pen BIC!)
An excellent result from the weekend of this World O'pen Cup 2009, showing how dynamic the O'pen BIC format is and how strongly established it is northern countries like Germany and The Netherlands. A lively American team in from Miami showed how the discipline is growing in the United States, with Japanese rider Fuji symbolising its growth in Asia. See you in 2010!
*On reaching the upwind marker, riders have the choice of the water to make their downwind legs, before all meeting up again at the downwind buoy. A highly innovative course much appreciated by the riders, allowing them to make different choices for their downwind reaches and have more chance of climbing up the rankings.
Click here to look at the Video of the World Cup on Dutch TV
Results - click here