The Tall Ship Rupel had a fantastic Race 2 and has achieved a first for Belgium by winning first in Class B in addition to first overall on corrected time.
Jan Vandenborn has been Captain of the ship since 1999. Summing up his experience of Race 2, Jan explains:
"I'm very proud. This is the first time a vessel from Belgium has won first in class and first overall. It was a fantastic race. We crossed the start line at about five minutes after the start window. We started with strong winds and put more sails up as the wind dropped to ensure we picked-up speed. The crew were absolutetly fantastic, and as we realised that we had a real chance for first place, we all worked even harder. It was important to keep close to our competitors so we were tracking Maybe and Johanna Lucretia on Yellow Brick. Fortunately, we came out on top with just 13 minutes between us! A pretty close race."
Rupel is owned by a Human Resources company who uses the vessel to host clients, but more importantly, plays a vital role in the company's commitment to corporate social responsibility. When she isn't taking part in The Tall Ships Races, Rupel is often used to help rehabilitate young people who have broken the law.
Jan comments: "We work with young people who are often on the boarder of crossing on to the wrong side of the law. Sail training helps to teach them discipline, personal hygiene, cooking, cleaning and generally introduces a routine to their life which they can't run away from as they are at sea!It is very rewarding to see how sail training can help to change lives."
Rupel left Cadiz today to take part in the cruise-in-company to give the crew a well earned reward before heading to A Coruna and then back to Belgium where a media frenzy is brewing to welcome the Tall Ship home.