The Race of the Classics is the biggest annual student sailing competition of Europe. This year the Race of the Classics celebrated its 25th anniversary. Team RSM ended up 13th out of the 18th participating teams. EM talked to one of the members of Team RSM.

The Race of the Classics is a competition in which different student teams of different universities and applied colleges (in Dutch: Hogescholen) in the Netherlands compete with classical sailboats on the North Sea. The competition starts in the Veerhaven in Rotterdam and within one week the students have to sail to harbors in Belgium, England and eventually, finish in Amsterdam.

Racing and partying

Although achieving the highest possible spot in the competition is one of the main goals of the students, the Race of the Classics is also known for the many parties that are organized once all ships reach the next destination. “As a sailing team we did okay since we ended up 13th out of 18”, says Sjors Lankhaar (19), a second year Economics and Law student, “but as a party team, we definitely won the race!”

Hoped for more

The RSM team did hope for a higher end rank. “While racing we had hoped to get a rank in the Top 5 as we had a really good start in the longest race out of three. We kept position one for a couple of hours, but lost the position as the current changed and helped the other boats to catch up and overtake us”, explains Jan-Philipp Hotze (20), a first year IBA student.

No more beer

The Race of the Classics is notorious for its parties at the massive classic boats. “We drank almost 2/3rd of our total beer supply on the first night. We were afraid to run out of beer before the end of the week, which would be horrible. Fortunately there were parties on other boats as well the other days and we had a fine supply of strong liquor, as well as champagne”, says Jurriaan Houtman (21), a second year BA student and chairman of the RSM Race of the Classics team this year.

No sailing skills required

Although most team-members have significant sailing experience, sailing skills are not a necessary requirement. “Even though my parents live near the sea, I had never sailed before this week. So I had no idea what to expect”, admits Lankhaar, “but after such a great week, I will definitely go sailing again.” What was particularly difficult was dealing with the motion-problems that accompany sailing on open waters. “I did get sea sick the second day. I think that was due to the combination of motion-problems and all the partying”, highlights Lankhaar.

Bad weather

This year, the weather was not optimal for sailing. “Due to strong winds we were not able to sail to England, but instead sailed up north along the Dutch coastline”, says Hotze.  Therfore, there was much less sailing than the organization of the Race of the Classics anticipated. “The fact that we did not sail that much because of the weather was not that bad”, says Lankhaar, “because that just meant that the parties started earlier.”

Indescribable view

For many RSM team members participating in this lustrum edition of Race of the Classics was a once in a lifetime experience. “What was absolutely the best part about participating were the beautiful sunsets I got to see.. The view from the ship was breathtaking”, emphasizes Lankhaar. “I enjoyed sailing at night a lot. It was really spectacular. I will never forget how the waves even reached us while we were sitting inside. “, highlights Alies Monterie (21), a second year IBA student.