I have an affinity with the Dutch. Orange is my favourite colour and I am from Lancashire, where we too have a passion for clogs and an unintelligible language. In Lancastrian, ‘Put wood i’th’ole an’ git aht of it.’ means ‘Please close the door as you leave.’ ‘Willie Eckerslike’ isn’t t’name of t’lad up t’road – it means ‘He definitely won’t…’ And since we are discussing the Netherlands and Northern phrases that sound like boys’ names, it is best that you know right now that Salford Van Hire is NOT a member of the Dutch aristocracy…
According to the history books, the last Dutch invasion of Britain was in 1688. It resulted in the so-called ‘Glorious Revolution’ and led to a period of peace and prosperity under the ministrations of Wills and Good Queen Mary. And we have to congratulate Dorian van Rijsselberghe on his London 2012 RSX gold medal – he pipped our man Dempo to the post, but he absolutely dominated the racing and is a worthy Olympic champion.
I think that the Dutch invasion of 2011 is also worthy of note. Martin de Ruijter and a group of his mates opted for the ultimate road trip, from the Netherlands to the N.W.F! I asked him what made him decide to travel all that way to visit the N.W.F; “For years, I have read the stories in ‘Boards’ Magazine. The pictures and the unique way of starting the races, everyone together, made me decide to ask a few friends to join.”
A recreational free-rider, Martin has taken part in a few regional competitions in the Netherlands, although he said “Most of the time, I only race my friends.” The N.W.F’s simple ‘out and back’ racing format, with results announced instantly, really appealed. “The prize-giving after the races gives the sailors immediate results and motivation. In the Netherlands, you get your results after the whole weekend!”
I was interested to know how easy a non-native found it to take part in the N.W.F, on what was his first ever visit to the UK. He told me “It was VERY easy, Allan made everything very clear. The atmosphere was really nice, everyone looks after each other.” I asked him what he would say to someone who has never raced and is not sure about entering, or thinks that racing is just for pros? “Just do it. It looks more difficult than it really is. Even if there is not a lot of wind, it is still fun to race with so many people.”
I asked Martin “What surprised you most at N.W.F?” He replied “The relaxed atmosphere!” That is praise indeed, coming from a man who hails from a country where being ‘laid back’ is an issue of National pride!
Finally, Martin’s message to those who are not sure whether to try racing or haven’t booked their place at the N.W.F yet; “Get there! Have fun!”
Can’t argue with that! Martin will be back again this year. All I can say is “Gaan Nederlanders!” or “Go Dutch!”
If you are not sure about taking part, Martin has proved that the simple format of the N.W.F is not all Double Dutch – even to a non-Brit, taking part for the first time, on his first ever visit to the country! Book your place online to make sure that you don’t lose out. Entry to the races (along with absolutely everything else) is included in the price – so why not make 2012 the year you join the Flying Dutchmen, on and off the water. Orange shirts are optional!