Nieuwpoort marina was the setting for the first LCL North Sea Regatta. The day would prove to be unforgettable for everyone present. In the morning, the skippers of the yachts initiated the participants into the ways of sailing. The 14 yachts set sail on the North Sea for the first time, and the basics and terminology of sailing were demonstrated and explained. The participants learned all about hoisting and tying fenders, hoisting sails, easing and tightening lines, wind on the beam, tacking and gybing, and the highly educational morning was rounded off with a healthy lunch.
The afternoon programme consisted of the LCL North Sea Regatta, in which participants had to sail a course marked by buoys. The yachts made their way out of the marina, hoisted their sails and prepared for the start. The starting signal was given using a system of flags and on-board radios. The participants had to put everything they had learned into practice in two races. Steering a yacht turned out not to be a simple matter, and the jury were extremely strict, disqualifying all boats that sailed around a buoy the wrong way.
In the end, the crew of the ‘Manta Sailing’ snatched victory twice. The crew, led by Michel Lefèbvre (the father of Yannick Lefèbvre, one of Belgium’s most famous sailors), had a reputation to defend and went home with the LCL North Sea Regatta Trophy. The day was summed up well by the jury: “even when the horizon is in sight, reaching your destination isn't always easy.” However, persistence wins.
By holding the regatta, LCL raised EUR 3000 for ‘Let’s Go Urban’, a project that helps children and young adults develop their talent and believe in themselves, with a view to helping them shape their future. The project's workshops are attended by more than 1000 children and young people every week. The project's founder and director, Sihame El Kaouakibi, was present at the regatta and spoke passionately about what ‘Let’s Go Urban’ stands for.
The day concluded with a barbecue to fill the many hungry (and a few recently emptied) stomachs. We hope that all participants found the day to be highly enjoyable. We believe it is definitely worth repeating, and we welcome any feedback to make the next edition even better.