ROST takes silver at European Sea Sailing Championship with help from Deltares

Published: 12 October 2022

With the help of a flow model from Deltares and clever sailing, the Rotterdam Offshore Sailing Team (ROST) managed to achieve second place at the European Sea Sailing Championships on the Westerschelde near Breskens. Besides the young talent in the boat and good coaching of the sailing team, a decisive asset was knowledge about the currents in the dynamic area in the estuary of the Westerschelde.

Team ROST and knowledge institute Deltares joined forces in the run-up to the sailing competition. Based on the flow predictions made by Deltares in the race area, the sailing team was able to make tactical choices. During sailing, the flow data were expertly measured from the sailboat. Based on

this data, Deltares’ flow model can be further optimized and even more accurate predictions can be made in the future.

Flow and direction predictions accurate to minutes and within 50 meters

The Westerschelde with its currents, sandbanks and deep channels is a very challenging sailing area. To make smart use of the currents in such an area, a forecasting model must be able to calculate quickly and with a lot of data. Bas Stengs, forecasting expert at Deltares comments: “In addition to tides, the influence of weather on currents must also be taken into account. This effect, together with reliable boundary conditions, gives confidence in an accurate forecast.” And it did. Deltares’ detailed flow model predicts the flow direction and velocity for sailors at minute intervals and within 50 meters of the boat. Julien Groenenboom, flow expert at Deltares, adds, “Based on the data collected, we can optimize our models. In addition to making flow predictions, our models are used, for example, to calculate the effect of an offshore wind farm on water movement and ecology.”

“It is incredibly beautiful to see how we can bring together top sport, talent development and research and at the same time also offer a return-on-investment as a team to our partners,” says coach team ROST Gerd Jan Portman

Accurate flow data provide the fastest route

The quality of the data was so accurate that ROST’s tactical team could make well-considered choices for the fastest routes. Thorough preparation is ‘key’ within the sport and the cooperation with Deltares made this possible. Portman: “The result was amazing. ROST hopes to achieve even more podium finishes together in the future. A second position at the European Championship with a young talent team among seasoned pro sailors is truly an achievement of stature.”

Following the good results that Team Akzo-Nobel achieved during the 2018 Volvo Ocean race, the top young talents from ROST sought cooperation with Deltares. In the context of “every centimeter counts” and “measuring is knowing,” they saw great opportunities. The reliability and accuracy of tide and current data led Team Akzo-Nobel to set the 24-hour distance world record. A record that still stands.

ROST talent team

The ROST is a talent team with an average age of 22. ROST’s platform offers sailors the opportunity to develop from dinghy to offshore sailors. The initiative was started by the Royal Rowing and Sailing Association “De Maas” from Rotterdam and is supported by a business club of partners, including DutchSail. DutchSail is the foundation for professional offshore sailing projects in the Netherlands. This body makes the connection between professional sailing, sustainability, youth training, innovation and government.

 

Animation of flow predictions in the Westerschelde provided by Deltares during the European Sea Sailing Championship in August 2022.