Twenty-degree weather, a clear sky, calm tides and a light breeze: the settings could not have been any better for RSZV to host the annual team sailing tournament. The upbeat music, Albert Heijn crates full of food and drinks, beanbags and students relaxing together by the dock show that this event is not merely about competing.


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Olivia Moors Image credit: Aysha Gasanova

In fact, it is a three-day event in which the participants gather under the sun, hang out, party the night before the finale and recover from hangovers during the morning of the finale. The annual finale saw six student sailing associations from six cities (Amsterdam, Delft, Enschede, Groningen, Nijmegen, Rotterdam) compete in team sailing.

“Competing is nice and that is what the whole weekend is about, but the atmosphere and people gathering together is also important”, reveals Olivia Moors, the 20-year-old Economics and Business Economics student at EUR who is the president of the championship-organising committee. The finale did not stop anyone from a Baywatch-themed party by the dock the night before, and the party did not stop anyone from sailing the next afternoon.

The weather complements the hospitality

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Anne-Sophie Balk Image credit: Aysha Gasanova

As there were participants from different parts of the Netherlands, effort had to be put into hospitality. Upon registration, participants receive goodie bags with dry, green RSZV-themed socks, a bottle of water, and a sailing magazine. Additionally, the visitors have camping tents arranged by the RSZV board at Blijdorp.

What stands out, although outside the control of RSZV, is the weather. The pleasant climate with the sunbeams lighting the surface of the Kralingen Lake is what makes this competition unique for participant Anne-Sophie Balk, 24-year-old medicine student from Radboud University who is competing here for the seventh time. “This event is always the thing I look forward to the most”, she reveals. “It was raining for the past week, and now it’s sunny, and it’s like this every year. I don’t know how they do that!”

Sailing is for everyone

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Luisa Oyens Image credit: Aysha Gasanova

The tournament is not as competitive as one might think: years of sailing experience is not necessarily a prerequisite for this event. “RSZV really put effort into teaching non-experienced sailors how to sail”, says Luisa Oyens, 20-year-old EUC student.

Sailing is practiced once every few weeks by the participants, which brings them enjoyment. “You should definitely consider joining a team if you want to get into sailing”, says Luisa. “I have a few teammates who do not have experience, but the experienced sailors make up for it and everyone learns from each other.”


The sun shone brightest when it was time to reveal the winners of this year’s team sailing championship. The participants spent an hour competing on the water but were greeted off the water by a black food truck selling hot fries, dance music, and countless plastic pitchers full of refreshing beer.

While the second and third-placed teams received silver and bronze medals respectively, the winners from RSZV received their gold medals which detached from the ribbons twenty minutes later. A bottle of champagne was popped for the occasion, with most of the champagne either ending up spilt on the ground or in the lake. A victory plunge in the lake capped off the weekend.

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Champagne after the victory plunge. Image credit: Aysha Gasanova

Two of the participants from the winning team, Niek Kampherbeek (21, double degree Law and Economics), and Lizet de Vries (22, Technical Medicine), won the tournament last year as well. Chemistry was key to defending the crown they obtained the year before. “We know each the team members from when we were small kids, and we learned sailing here in the Kralingen Lake”, shares Lizet. Nonetheless, Niek felt the effects of partying the night before while sailing in the finale: “Sailing gets much more technical when you’re hungover!”

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