Hey lovely Aquanauts!

This weekend we travelled all the way to the pittoresque Heeg to show the rest of the Netherlands that Aqua is the most superior sailing association in existence – we went to the Dutch Student Championship of sailing, better known as NSK. With no less than 6 teams we showed up at the Stayokay hostel on Friday night, where we met with about 130 other students.

We were delighted to find a goodiebag containing our very own beer mug, and the party could begin. Aqua dominated the dancefloor and strange conversations were held about dolphin trainers. Under the motto of “integreren kun je leren”, we strengthened our relations with lots of new and old friends from other student sailing associations, especially Boreas. Not everyone kept their balance very well, so after a while we stumbled into our beds to catch some sleep for the qualifications. At 7:15 we were awoken by beautiful rays of sunshine, rainbows, chirping birds and no sign of a headache whatsoever. Time for the competition.

Our six teams got into their boats and started sailing towards the lake with determination. For some of us this was our first sailing race, others were weathered veterans. Starting turned out to be a little complicated for our team “Escaleren kun je leren”, and it was only at the second buoy that we realized that we had started too soon. Up until that point we thought we were just really good sailors. Luckily, the second competition we actually started, and our third competition went a lot better already. There were other Aqua teams that did very well, but we decided to just soak up the sunlight and enjoy the beautiful clouds in the sky. It was the most perfect sailing weather you could imagine (for October at least).

  

After our return we found out that at least one Aqua team had qualified for the Gold Fleet, and the others were going to compete in the Silverfleet the next day. We chilled out, played some fanatic card games and had delicious dinner. The night was then continued with an Oktoberfest-themed party! Dressed in lederhosen and dirndls, our members got involved with some more serious integrating and more loss of balance.

Sadly, this balance problem combined with a slippery floor resulted in the loss of  a team member and beloved chairwoman: Romee. She hurt her ankle and had to go home the next morning. Luckily, “escaleren kun je leren” could find a replacement and we could sail the full competition! Or no, toch not. The wind was a nice beaufort 4 with gusts of 6. We were obliged to reef the sail at least once, twice was also allowed. Our team sailed the first match with just one reef and we had a lot of opportunity to train our abdominal muscles while hanging out of the boat to keep it from scooping up water. Some would call it hell, I personally loved it. I started to think that maybe sailing should be considered a real sport after all!

Halfway through the second match though, after being surpassed by our feut Merith, I looked over to my crew and decided to go back to the hostel. Our substitute Romee was not prepared for sailing at all and wasn’t even wearing waterproof pants, so she was getting very cold. Because I am such an amazing and responsible captain, I decided that we shouldn’t risk hypothermia and grab some coffee or hot chocolate. We found out there that we were not even the first team to have given up, and within an hour three other Aqua teams had also returned to the safe warm haven of Stayokay Heeg. We had some lunch and decided to take the public transport back home. In the evening we were nice and snug in our own beds, looking back on an amazing sailing weekend.

What I love most about NSK is that you meet all these people from other associations. Especially as a board member it’s fun to visit them at their constitution drinks, see them at other competitions and build a relationship with them as an association. It’s also very interesting to learn about the ways that other associations deal with their fleet, finances and member activities, but maybe that is just because I am a board geek. Another lovely thing is that everything was taken care of very well. You were sleeping in nice warm rooms, didn’t have to worry about food, boat rental or anything.

Overall, it was an amazing weekend. Shoutout to our Aqua team “Als we de start maar halen”, who became 8th place in Goldfleet! Also a shoutout to @wszvaquamemes on instagram.

Love from your favourite laffe borrelaar, Anne