Another funny moment, however not during a regatta, but during the preparations of the Europe Youth Europeans in 2003, happened to me in Ribera. Our routine speed tests got disturbed, when not expected. All of sudden my rudder started to shake as also instantly my speed dropped drastically. When I looked up I saw my partners and me got lost in a carpet of jellyfish, as far as the eye could see. One could almost walk from one boat to another. It took some us time to get out of it. Swimming was not recommended.
- 4) What is the thing that most angers you in a race/regatta?
Sometimes there's an enlightened sign that says 'Don't go there, there's absolutely no wind in there.', though it is very clear I still manage to go there and keep on begging 'Please, give me a sign'.
- 5) Which is the race/regatta that you remember with the most pleasure?
What looks like a plain ordinary Snipe weekend, the 2014 Armada trophy in Ribera had it all. No particular reason, maybe that is why. Great regatta and so many people were in such a good mood.
As a result of that atmosphere, in the idea of what Snipe Today means for the serious Sailing, Snipe Tonight (i) was born during that weekend. A platform that –should– share the same inspiring light on to the Serious Fun part.
[(i) We should pick that up.]
- 6) And the race/regatta you would like to forget?
One last reproduction of the event - For the 2015 Worlds in Talamone we a had a Belgium qualifier series. For multiple reasons I was not yet qualified after the one to last intermediate standing, though the competition was strong, everything was possible. Dries and I decided to take it serious and stay home the night before. Despite the excellent organized regatta, the nice sailing conditions and our effort we managed to make it even worse and screwed up pretty much every race in this regatta. Fortunately, we could fill in one of the empty spots to join the Worlds. (With some top 10 races at the Worlds I believe our presence in the fleet was not inappropriate.) In order to avoid having a bad time I will remember to not take things too seriously. Now please erase this regatta from my memory, thank you.
- 7) Your "dream in the peak"? (Your sailing dream?)
I'm assuming I still have to discover my dream in the peak venue. This mindset gives me a good excuse to keep on travelling and discover more beautiful places around the world. I must say though that so far I have been to a number of beautiful places like Oslo, Talamone, Miami, Riva del Garda, ...
A special mention goes out to Santiago de la Ribera, Ribera is namely getting close to that 'dream in the peak' venue. I especially like the atmosphere in December. Nice sailing area, good organization ¬on- and offshore¬ and, above all, a stress less period at the end of the year in a really nice setting. Hopefully Ribera likes us back. If so, we could grow old together. Until we really know what Ribera thinks of us I keep on traveling around and keep looking for the better.
- 8) Sailing goals for 2017, and beyond?
Discover my dream in the peak venue. Or, in other words, 'Meet nice people, discover nice places and share nice times... who knows, if water is to be found, it could it end up in a nice trip to Mars, and beyond.' (Now repeat it, but replace as 'nice' with 'Snipe'.)
- 9) The most important people for you in sailing and in the Snipe?
In first place it must be my parents. As my father is a Snipe sailor, he is mainly the one responsible for my sailing story. So blame him :) Together with my mother they had the pleasure to travel me around during my childhood years. Thank you for that!
During my Optimist and Europe time several coaches left some kind of wisdoms in multiple fields with me, like sailing, life, sports, etc. (read as: booze and women). Thank you all for that.
Last, not least. A big, turn around, was the encountering with Dries Crombé, Dirk De Bock and Wim Saeys about five years ago.
Dries, my (s)crew (up), aka the one who can make the world spin – daytime and nighttime. No matter what trouble you're into (or not), he is there, he is there to fix it. When he is in the mood and the mood is in him, he is "Probably the best crew in the world".
Dirk, crew of Wim (but also a worthy Snipe skipper), is your best partner in crime you can imagine. Little in words, great in actions. Nevertheless, his little words sweep all the pins like a strike.
Dries, Dirk and me got engaged in Persson Marine Belgium to produce wonderful Snipe riggings, such as Sidewinder and Teardrop masts. So, a lot of exiting times to come for us together :)
Wim, back in the beginning we shared our first Optimist hours. Though, shortly after, we lost touch for a long time. We encountered each other back in the Snipe. Now we are mates again like when we we were young kids.
Offshore and onshore, the four of us shared lots of 'serious sailing, sailing fun' events. Thanks you ladies for that.
- 10) Why the Snipe?
To quote -but adapted to the Snipe- someone who was talking about his fiancée: "The Snipe is the most tactical -, fun to race -, but also the most advanced, lightest- and quickest boat of all on the market - that I can afford."
When I was sailing in Optimist and Europe I always looked at the Snipe as my perfect 'end of my sailing career' boat, as I saw a lot of older and gaga people sailing it (referring to the Belgian fleet, at those days). Turned out that that 'my end of career period' at the age of 26 started rather early, at least sooner than I would have ever imagined. Traveling around for the past 4 year has taught me that Snipe sailing is excellent boat for young people and those who are forever young in mind. It is thus absolutely not an 'end of career' boat, nor exclusively for elder people - yet being gaga is recommended even at a young age.
- 11) Your perfect sailing venue and your perfect sailing conditions?
My regatta of choice would be like only one infinite straight downwind course in long high North Sea waves. I would accept on a 'current against wind' proposal at a classic windward-leeward course. #NoHiking.
- 12) Besides sailing which other sport do you practice?
I used to swim and cycle, but lately I don't get much further than running a lap around the Galgenweel lake. As some of you might know, it is not that big. For those who don't, imagine it like running from your settee to the kitchen after a beer from the fridge and back. (Somehow reality is anxiously close to that image.)
- 13) Are you superstitious?
Yes, though I tried to keep it under control. When I leave the dock I do 'salute' the water for smooth sailing and fair winds. (The water always waves back – it is a good friend indeed.)
- 14) Your perfect holiday?
It is impossible to beat a 'sun, sea and Snipe' weekend
... yet some time off in the presence of my girlfriend far from everything that's human can manage that – indeed, no boats, no beers. My boat gets jealous.
(Photos 4, 5, 6 courtesy of Matias Capizzano)