RBSC YOUNG GUNS TAME THE FLYING PHANTOM
During the week the Eurocat was taking place, the Phantom Sailing Team took the opportunity to set up training sessions with the Flying Phantom and also invited guests along for “flights”. As one of the most promising multihull sailors of his generation, we invited Henri Demesmaeker, 2013 Formula F16 World Champion.
In addition to that invitation, the Carnac Yacht Club organised a lucky draw during the briefing for the long distance race at the Eurocat with the prize of a trip on the Flying Phantom for two young sailors. Two young Belgians won the prize: Aurélie Van Schoote and Alec Bague who sailed together on a Formula F16 during the Eurocat.
These three young sailors are all members of the RBSC Youth Racing Team. Besides running a sailing school for adults and children, the Royal Belgian Sailing Club Youth Racing Team supports young sailors competing at the highest level. This team includes young enthusiasts, who are keen on multihulls and want to progress in the world of racing. The RBSC Youth Racing Team has already trained many Belgian champions achieving European and World successes.
The first session was with Henri, who is just 13 years old. Henri started sailing at the age of 7 on the Hobie Cat Catsy. As a pure multihull sailor he logically moved up from the Hobie Dragoon to ending up on F16 catamarans. His achievements include victories in two Belgian championships and two European championships. In 2013, he grabbed his first World Championship title in Formula 16 in Travemünde. Henri took a trip on the Flying Phantom on Tuesday 29th before the start of the Eurocat. The day was great with sunny weather and winds around 10 knots providing perfect conditions to learn how to fly on the Flying Phantom.
“First, it was like a standard catamaran, a few seconds after, it flies, then, suddenly my hair was slicked back, just awesome!”
Henri took second place in the C2 category at the Eurocat regatta and is now looking forward to the Isaf Youth Worlds and F16 Europeans with the dream in the near future of moving to an Olympic boat and maybe one day seeing his America’s Cup dream come true.
The second session was organized after the Eurocat long distance race. Aurélie Van Schoote and Alec Bague came aboard with the Phantom Sailing Team in the middle of the afternoon, right after Artemis Racing’s Nathan Outteridge and Loïck Peyron had their trial run with the Flying Phantom.
Aurélie, 16 years old, started sailing on the classic Optimist dinghy and has often competed in European and World events. She moved to multihulls in 2012, with top performances at the Eurocat and in the C3 championship. 2013 was a great year for her, winning first place at the French F16 championship, as well as in the Netherlands and finally the vice World Champion title in Formula 16 in Travemünde.
“The Flying Phantom is a unique experience. The speed and height are huge, and when the boat is on the foils, she is even faster.”
After finishing third with Alec at the Eurocat, Aurélie is eager to continue to sail with her crew at least for the next two years and then wishes to achieve a balance between top level sailing and university studies.
Alec Bague was the last RBSC sailor to try out the Flying Phantom, but he was lucky to have the ultimate experience of testing the Flying Phantom with Nathan Outteridge. Alec’s sailing experience started at the age of 9, but he became really involved with the RBSC youth team to crew at a high level with Marie Demesmaeker. This has enabled him to move forward, as Belgium has some very good female skippers and Alec has continued to gain sailing experience with Aurélie.
“I don’t know what was best, being 3rd or being able to test the Flying Phantom. The Flying Phantom was an amazing experience. We sailed it in light winds, but even then we were able to foil quite easily even without any foiling experience. The sensation of coming out of the water, the boat becoming silent except for the foil and the acceleration was a wonderful feeling. The Flying Phantom has made foiling relatively easy and practicable.”
Alec can hardly wait for the next sailing session with the Flying Phantom and wants to sail as much as possible with Aurélie to get a great result at the F16 Europeans.
“That was a unique opportunity to have sailing sessions with young sailors. For us it is a key achievement in the demonstration that the Flying Phantom is a support for adults, but also for younger sailors in moderate conditions. I was so pleased to see Henri, Aurélie and Alec mastering the boat just a few minutes after coming aboard and crewing the boat. It is clear for me now that we can develop a youth program with our boat and offer all these talented sailors a unique opportunity to gain access to flying boats. Young sailors are the future of our sport and offering them the possibility of honing their skills and flying on such a boat is now a major goal for us. 2015 will definitely be the year where we will see such young guns fully expressing themselves on flying boats.”