2014 Sevenstar Contest Cup - Medemblik 30 May to 1 June 2014 52:46.337N 005:6.633E

Frans & Sarah Toonen
Sun 1 Jun 2014 14:42
Sarah arrived late on the Thursday night and so we headed straight to town to celebrate her arrival and the start of our sailing season proper. We couldn’t relax on board anyway as every surface was still covered in tools and equipment as work was still in progress. Friday morning was hectic with the last few thru-hulls still to be bonded and everything to be tidied away ready to move up from the MYS Yacht Services quay to the town harbour for the regatta.
We were delighted to receive a visit from Karen & Dave Cheeseborough (Moss, Wrexham) on Friday afternoon. They were on holiday locally and it was an ideal time to visit Pelagia ‘quietly’ as the canal was like a millpond. We were able to give them a mini cruise along the canal, through one lock and one opening bridge to the town harbour where about 10 Contests had already arrived and rafted up. 

By evening about 25 boats had arrived and we got our regatta pack and number 13, hmm. There was only one other British boat, a very smart 40S owned by David & Brenda Rivett. Their crew was Charles Watson of Charles Watson brokerage, Hamble, who has been the UK agent for Contest for many many years and had sold us Pelagia in 2011. It was good to meet Charles as we had sought his advice on the phone from time to time. Charles has known Pelagia from new when his client wanted to buy a new Contest 46 but was insisting on a swimming platform being designed to be added to the stern. Contest were keen to sell so they agreed and made the ‘sugar scoop’ style platform. This then proved very popular and so the Contest 46 model was changed to the Contest 48 by adding it to all the later hulls. Charles used Pelagia as his demonstrator boat from time to time and then handled the change of ownership 3 times.

Friday evening there was a drinks reception in the Cafe Brakeboer which was the quayside host venue and we felt very ‘Toonie No Mates’ as the larger crews of up to 6 came in dressed in their matching outfits. Contest were represented by the current MD, Arjen Conijn, of the Conijn family owners and his sister Annick who organised the regatta together with Saskia Kersten of the MYS yard. Saskia had arranged for one of the Contest design engineers, Bob Engbers, to join us as crew and we were very pleased to welcome Bob and his partner Eveline on board on Saturday morning. Bob is a very experienced racer and he took charge of sail trim with Frans helmsman and Eveline jumping around line and sail handling with the strength of 2 men - turns out she is a kite surfer. Sarah was in charge of the sandwiches and not getting in the way. There were to be 2 races on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. All the glorious details below.

Saturday night was great fun. After all the boats were rafted up again Annick and Saskia came alongside by tender in fancy dress handing out chilled beers by the dozen…having come in last we were on the outside and got loads of beer. A fancy canopy had been erected on the quayside with long tables for dinner set up. Delicious 3 course meal served by the nearby Twee Schouwtjes which is a tiny place we had visited the previous weekend. How they catered for 140 is a mystery. The action then moved into the Brakeboer where the live band belted out the music until about 1am. The oldie sailors can dance! 
Sunday wrap up and prizes was more drinks and vast amounts of rolls. We got a free night on the town quay as we were heading to Terschelling Monday early. David and Brenda headed to the MYS yard for repairs to the thrust bearing, after that they are cruising the Baltic so we may see them again later. 

Race Class 
There were 17 boats in our class ranging from 40 to 57 feet. All were newer than Pelagia and none were laden for passage (gear, dingy, liferaft etc) except possibly David & Brenda but maybe they don’t carry 30 tins of Danish ham when going to Denmark. A couple of the boats were so new their interior fit out had not been completed. One pre-delivery 57CS was crewed by Contest staff and a 50CS was crewed by MYS. We mention this because overall we beat the MYS boat!

Race 1
Very slow starting as did not pick a good position. Struggled with the snuffer as the lines kept tangling inside it. Lost a lot of time getting the chute up and down twice. Finished 12th 

Race 2
Good speed towards the start and controversy between trimmer and helmsman as to whether we would be too early or not. We were less than 5 seconds too early and so we had to turn around and recross the start line by which time all 16 others were tearing up the course. Last position by ages but hey last to join the raft on the quay got us handy position for the free beer. Still drinking it a week later as we write this.
Race 3
Much better start position today and cruising at 5 knots up to the line on time just inside the marshals boat. ‘Ernesto’ came at us from the port side and although they had plenty of room they took the opportunity to barge us out so we had to turn away outside the marshals boat and miss starting as we didn’t cross the line. They had right of way but it was certainly not cricket and how they could feel challenged by Pelagia beggars belief. We had to gybe and recross the line but in the light winds it was slow to recover any speed and we never caught the main pack. The snuffer was still causing problems on the chute so after the first lap we decided to remove it and lay out the chute in the forepeak ready to hoist manually shielded by the genoa. Frans and Bob were able to do this whilst Sarah helmed. If the wind had been stronger this would not have been possible. We managed to catch the pack and finished a respectable 9th. A massive improvement on yesterday. 

Race 4
Took a position at the other end of the start line so that nobody could get right of way to shove us out. Good speed and hurray!, leading the field from the off. Soon overtaken by the empty brand new 42CS Stella Maris (overall winners with the matching jackets, polo’s, cherry red chino’s and caps) and cheek by jowl with the others but they never passed us. Cruising chute up and down twice manually and never mind the sorting and laying out in the forepeak took about 20 mins each time. We could see several contenders trying to catch us but none came close. The barging ‘Ernesto’ suffered a chute wrap or they might have. See, they were actually right to be scared. Ha ha. 

In summary a good event and pleased we stayed in Medemblik to join in. A massive thank you to Bob is due as he kept us focused and without him there is no way we could have achieved a respectable 10th overall!  

View from behind!
 Getting serious. No talking! 
Sarah learning the ropes (get it?) from Bob.
View from the front!
Ernesto - viewed from in front