The 2019 Belgian Flying Fifteen Open Championship organised by the largest yacht club in Belgium (SNEH), was sailed on the largest (artificial) lake in Belgium over a beautiful windy and sunny October weekend.
South Westerly winds ranging from 12 - 14 knots with gusts up to 25 knots on Saturday and 30 knots on Sunday and a temperature up to 22 degrees was on the schedule for this well organised regatta.
The Belgian Flying Fifteen Championship was organised together with the National Championship of the well-known dinghy Ponant. Fortunately, the PRO Henry ‘Tonio’ Antoine and his team brilliantly managed separate starts for all races and both regattas were successfully run in tandem.
Four races were held on Saturday with a duration of 30 to 40 minutes each. A hard competition in gusty conditions saw three teams stand out. Ezékiel Desantoine and Aurélie Chantrenne won three races and came second in the other to lead after day one of the regatta. Michel Vincent and Kevin Vincent scored 3,1,2,3 and Timoleon Papasokratis and Pierre Vandepoel 2,3,3,2 to make up the top three competitors.
Ezékiel Desantoine and Aurélie Chantrenne are three-time National Champions and the Vice Champions of 2018 and are tough to beat. They ended the day with a 3 point lead with one race score discarded.
The second group included Veronique Hachez and Ben Mabrouk Charles on 12 points, Bernard Vandersteen and Genevive Genart on 16 points and the visiting crew from Dinard in France, Remi Junca and Yves De France sailing their classic Flying Fifteen (17 points). A standout performance by the youngest crew of the regatta, teenagers Gauthier de Marnix and Yael Verdier finished all races in the gusty conditions in their (Silver) Flying Fifteen.
Sunday was another day with winds expected to rise up to 30 knots by around lunchtime. The PRO decided to start right on time, at 1000 hrs, in order to finish in safe conditions. The wind direction remained stable and another set of four races were sailed, allowing for two discards after a total of eight were completed.
Ezékiel Desantoine and Aurélie Chantrenne won two of the four races and Timoleon Papasokratis and Pierre Vandepoel the other two. Michel Vincent and Kevin Vincent remained very consistent scoring 2,2,3,2 to end the regatta on equal points with Timoleon Papasokratis and Pierre Vandepoel. These three boats made up the final podium.
Ezékiel Desantoine and Aurélie Chantrenne were crowned 2019 Belgian Open Champions on a total of 7 points. Timoleon Papasokratis and Pierre Vandepoel were second overall on count back.
The 2020 Belgian Open Championship will be the 20th edition and is expected to be another great event. The Belgian class is happy to invite visitors from the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and even from farther afield and with the Europeans in Crozon, France in May/June, visitors from the Southern Hemisphere are welcome to leave their boats in Belgium and come back in October to sail the Belgian Open Championship.
Overall Results (top 6)
1 Effexor BEL3915 Desantoine Ezekiel / Chantrenne Aurelie 1,2,1,1,1,3,2,1 = 7pts
2 Fors Fortuna BEL3530 Papasokratis Timoleon / Vandepoel Pierre 2,3,3,2,3,1,1,2 = 12pts
3 Swallow BEL3596 Vincent Michel / Vincent Kevin 3,1,2,3,2,2,3,2 = 12pts
4 Nor Ffrills BEL3885 Hachez Veronique / Ben Mabrouk Charles - 4,7,4,4,5,5,5,4 = 25pts
5 Deriveurs Service FRA2593 Junca Remi / De France Yves - DNS,4,7,6,4,4,OCS,6 = 31pts
6 FFans BEL3518 Vandersteen Bernard / Genart Genevieve - 5,6,6,5,7,7,8,5 = 34pts
Report by Jonny Fullerton on behalf of Flying Fifteen International / Photos credited to Michel Dangmann