4. Denebola Adventures
Yacht Name : Denebola
Length: 30 feet / 9.6m
Yacht Type: Mount Gay 30
IRC Rating: 1.027
Hull Colour: Blue hull, white deck
Draught: 7.22 feet / 2.2m
Sail No: BEL1265
Port of Origin: Ostend, Belgium
Tilman Trophy: ??
Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/groups/696351893765629
Alain Poncelet – Skipper
Occupation: Harbour Pilot
Alain started sailing dinghies as a teenager in Ostend, but was also a passionate windsurfer. He chose a career at sea, first as sea captain, later on as a harbour pilot in the port of Zeebrugge. In 2004 he started building his own race yacht, Denebola, in his back yard. The boat is of plywood-epoxy construction, and was launched in 2008. Every element, including the rudder, the keel, and the second keel (after an unfortunate incident involving an underwater wall and about seven knots of boat speed), was homemade. Since then, Alain has sailed the 1000-mile double handed race to Norway in 2011, the Three Peaks Yacht Race in 2014, the AZAB in 2015, and multiple editions of the Nieuwpoort Channel race. Throughout the year he competes with a small amateur team in coastal regattas along the Belgian coast. Having already competed in the Three Peaks once before, he is especially enthusiastic for this second time, as it is “one of the most beautiful and thrilling races you can take part in”.
Matisse Poncelet - Crew
Matisse is Alain’s son, which makes this race sort of a father and son venture, taking turns on the helm and telling each other to stop pinching. He has sailed dinghies at a young age, but only became really ‘bitten’ by the sport when he started sailing J24’s in 2013. Since then, he has competed in small regattas with his father, either on the Denebola, or his own J24 “Poester”. After his studies, he chose to further this passion into a career, and started working as a sailmaker with Wittevrongel Sails. This comes in especially handy for his father, when he’s looking for a new mainsail or a larger spinnaker. Last year, Matisse sailed the Nieuwpoort channel race. The Three Peaks Yacht Race will be his second offshore race.
Annelies Brak - Runner
Occupation: Surfing Coach
Annelies was one of two women aboard the Denebola during the 2014 edition of the Three Peaks Yacht Race. Then she ran the Snowdon and Ben Nevis leg. Now she’s back for a second time! Annelies, who’s a mother of three kids, is passionate about running, swimming, bicycling, surfing, … Just about anything in the outdoors. She participates in various local races and trail runs of about 10 miles, as well as quarter triathlons. She works at the Twins surf club in Bredene, near Ostend on the Belgian coast, and teaches surfing, windsurfing, supping, optimist sailing and other sports on a daily basis.
Simon Zee - Runner
Occupation: Tax Expert
Simon is a recreational trail runner and sailor. In the last ten years, he ran a lot of small races ranging from 6 to 20 miles. In the last three years, he upgraded to longer trail races and completed two 35-mile races with 6000 feet of elevation gain. He only started sailing a few years ago, often on the Denebola. It was he and his friend Christophe who urged Alain to compete again, as it’s an opportunity to combine two very challenging hobbies. It couldn’t be more perfect!
Christophe Storme - Runner
Occupation: Volvo Salesman
Christophe started sailed dinghies at a young age, and quite recently became part of the Denebola team. He ran his first marathon in 2017 and his first ultra-run in 2018. Similarly to Simon, he saw this race a chance to combine two hobbies. For both of them, this will be their first offshore race, as well as one of the most challenging races so far. But if there’s anything Christophe never lacks it is enthusiasm, which is why we’re sure he’ll bring this to a good ending.
The Delivery Team
Luc Martens has been part of the delivery team for the Three Peaks Yacht Race edition of 2014 and will be there again this year. Luc was co-skipper on the Denebola for the AZAB 2015 edition. Dany Vanhauwermeiren is a keen regatta enthusiast sailing with dragons, J24, SB20 and of course the Denebola. This year he joins us in Scotland to sail the boat back home after the race. Stefaan Casier will do his first long distance delivery from Oostende to Barmouth and go back home by bicycle.