RYS Members’ Bicentenary Regatta

June 15, 2015

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I have remained silent for a long time, though with reason.

The weeks prior to this regatta have been quite hectic, more than usual I realise in hindsight. Not at any stage I was aware that it was just too much. I felt ok, but I have ignored all signals given to me by my body.

So just the week before the start of this regatta, I started sleeping badly and felt heart beatings in the night. Just on the last Friday prior to the regatta week, I noticed red patches on my body so I visited my doctor and arrived diventually at the Emergency of a hospital in Amsterdam. My heart showed no signs of being ill, nor my lungs. The verdict was that I had contracted shingles, which can happen after the body became exhausted and after all resistance has disappeared.

It was just too late to cancel this regatta, so on Monday morning 1st of June, I left with Leen for Cowes to prepare Winsome. Herman arrived as well on Monday, the rest Geoff, John, Pieter, Frank and Dries arrived on Tuesday. Sophie on Wednesday, Margherita (Frank) on Friday and Barbara (Dries) on Saturday.

We had in total 9 boats in our Class 2 IRC Rating [0.991-0.803], this didn’t look too bad at first sight, but one had to calculate four important factors.

1. I had to helm the boat myself

2. We sailed with a crew who had never ever trained together

3. Pieter Köhne who promised to navigate did this for the very first time.

What we did not know at that stage was important factor 4

4. WINSOME had a beard on her hull and would be very slow

The weather on Tuesday was terribly windy, so we postponed our first training till 4pm, but in the end we cancelled that as well.

Our first start was on Wednesday. Instead of having trained on Tuesday at least four hours, we managed only to make some tacks prior to this start and we did not even find time to hoist a spinnaker. The start to the West was comme çi, comme ça, but we noticed right away that OPPOSITION [0.958] was somewhat faster. Also FIREBRAND caused us problems, but both boats lost somewhere on the race their spinnaker and they fell back considerably. We ended 2nd in this race. In the post-race analyses it became clear that I looked too much at other things on the boat than only helming her. I promised to improve on that issue the next day.


OPPOSITION, behind us

Our second start was on Thursday. The start was to the East, with a strong easterly tide. We all had to manoeuvre around the 78 meter long Danish DANNEBORG. Only at the very last moment it became clear that we would be in danger to be OCS. Once it was clear we became OCS I turned WINSOME back to the line, but a call came that we should take a penalty in such case. So again I turned back to sail the course. It was a complete misunderstanding, so in the end we had never really started and had a DSQ. Bad luck. Our hope for a podium place was therefore gone at that very moment. (We had even seen SALVO in the previous start return to the start line, so we can only blame ourselves).

On Friday we had the Fleet Review. Thanks to Leen we had the nicest dressing of all boats and WINSOME looked fabulous. We attached her on a buoy on row P just around 10am. Leen stayed the entire day on the boat constantly trying to avoid collisions with boats around us on other buoys. With the wind against the tide and with motorboats mixed with sailboats this was not an easy job. So we all prepared for the fleet review, including Sophie and Margherita who arrived in the meantime. Dries had probably found a nicer boat, closer to the Duke of Edinburgh. In the 10 o’clock BBC news WINSOME got very special attention from a BBC helicopter, click here to watch the clip. So at least on Friday we had a first price (!).

Friday evening Boj arrived to replace Pieter who had to return to his family on Thursday. This was all arranged and agreed well beforehand. Geoff”s friend Jeremy (Sarah Webb-Gosling’s stepfather) replaced John.

Our third start was very much hindered by SIGMANIA calling us to tack but then tacking back themselves right away. We could not see any good reason for them to do that, but they were not obliged to have one. We lost speed and so did they. In this race our lack of speed became very much clear and in spite of the fact that we did beat OPPOSITION on the water, she was ahead of us in the scoring which meant that OPPOSITION became 2nd overall and WINSOME only 4th. The fact that we did not even get a place on the podium was indeed very disappointing for me and even today, in spite of my illness I have to think of, I feel that still every day.


Fleet review; carefully prepared

We made many calls at the Castle and the pavillon during these races, we had nice food in WINSOME’S COTTAGE and on Saturday Frank/Margherita, Dries/Barbara and myself/Sophie attended to the RYS dinner followed by a ball. I had given strong signs not being able to attend to the ball, but once we were in the Castle I surrendered and made some dances with Sophie.


Dinner at Winsome’s Cottage. From left to right clockwise: Dries, Herman, Frank, John, Harry, Leen. Pieter was the photographer but forgot his Selfie Stick

I felt worse every day and decided on Saturday to cancel the next RORC Race on 20-21st of June, the Morgan Cup to Guernsey, as well as the RYS Bicentenary International Regatta 25-31st of July. Much to my regret and for sure a disappointment for all crew registered for these races. Boys again I am very sorry. I sincerely hope that I will have fully recovered to do the Fastnet Race 16-20th of August.

After this regatta WINSOME was taken out of the water by Medina Yard and only then we observed how much growth was on the hull so there is no doubt anymore why we had so much less speed than for instance in the RORC Cervantes Race. The last photo shows the damage we had as a result of our grounding close to the Beaulieu River mouth.

FullSizeRender Looking horribilis ..
image004Incredibly bad looking

FullSizeRender 2Damage at the bottom of the keel

Here below I am showing Version C.1 of the program/crew. Any comments or corrections are welcome.

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We had some very nice views of beautiful boats, sometimes like we were sailing in the 19th Century.


MARIQUITA, built 1911 by William Fife III, in all her beauty on the Solent

I would like to remind you to one of my slogans saying “old soldiers never die” and I hope to recover very soon and enjoy sailing WINSOME with the enthusiastic and skilfull crew willing to share this joy with me.

Post by Harry Heijst | June 15, 2015 |


  1. Please keep me posted. I hope you’ll be able to sail soon. Sophie de Paris

    by Sophie de Paris | 27 Jun 2015 | 21:27
  2. So sorry to hear you’ve been unwell, Harry – best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery x

    by Angela Lamont | 19 Jul 2015 | 12:24