Great Gate

Great Gate

Observations on the VOR from anarchist Koen…

Yesterday the VOR short visited the Dutch coastline for the on-the-fly gate race. Being to late with their entry to negotiate a race stop-over in Rotterdam, Delta Lloyd managed to wrench in the “gate race” in order to create at least some sort of sponsor event. Since the Rotterdam stop-over during last race was a great experience, we decided to clean the business agenda and head out to sea and try to get a glimpse of our heroes. Conditions were not quite inviting for a huge spectator fleet: rainy and 20-25 knots of breeze. The fleet was expected to arrive at midday, but due to gusts up to 32 knots in the English Channel Ericsson 4 crossed the gate to start their around the boys run already at 9:36 AM (local time). Fortunately the Delta Lloyd chartered VIP vessel had anticipated to this scenario and were waiting near the gate for their arrival (as were we). Since the boats were close together in the race they arrived with intervals of some 15 minutes which provided the ideal scenario to have a good and relaxed look at each teams boathandling performance. We took position just below the last mark of the race course were the boats bear away and set the chute for their run to Marstrand. An excellent spot where we took great pictures as the boats hit the pedal and accelerate to a 20+ pace. On board Puma there was even time to film us greeting them and taking pictures of them flying by. (Who was filming who…) . We can imagine that the sailors onboard the VOR boats will look at the gate race concept as a disturbing and obligatory event putting restraints on their tactical game to pick the most favourable route towards the next finish.

As eye witnesses of this first ever gate race we are convinced that the gate race concept is great. It creates an excellent opportunity to watch and experience the real live racing action during a leg of these magnificent boats to a much wider audience than just the lucky few in the stop-over cities alone. It was the ultimate update of a VOR sched. This time no virtual boats on a computer screen: there’s nothing like the real thing.

Koen van Gils
The Netherlands