Freitag, Oktober 06, 2006

Last sailing this season

Germany had a long weekend from September 30th until 3rd of October, the day of celebration of the re-unification. The wall came down on 3rd of October 1989. Many sailors went out for a last cruise and we took “Samantha” our 36db for a cruise into the islands of Denmark were we met friends for a dinner on board and some interesting conversations. Our friends had invited for a „good red one“ a couple from a Swedish boat, a Hallberg Rassy. This couple had already fulfilled the dream of crossing the Atlantic and cruising the Caribbean waters. Oh, we wished we would have time to do the same. The Swedish Gentleman spoke fluent German, as it happened that he worked in Hamburg as an engineer. Other people on board the classic 53´ sloop, that reminds one to the great S & S designs, had been our DN iceboating friends. Of course we also discussed the upcoming season and if we should go to the USA to sail in the World Championship in 2007. Our friends from the Detroit area had spoken out invitations last time around.
As I can only speak for myself, I will not do it again as my last encounter had cost me „an arm and a leg“. Do not worry, this means, I had spent way too much money. I had bought a complete DN to stay in a trailer with four other European iceboats but it turned out to be „not much sailing, but much travelling time“. Not exactly what I wanted. I sold my equipment and bailed out.
Back to report about the last weekend of sailing. Our destination had been Avernakø. It turned out to be a 70° apparent wind reach with our new Code Zero. Lovely weather and we were dressed in T-shirts. What a late autumn day this was. We reached the destination pretty late, as the wind only picked up around noon. Friends with their boats had come from different destinations and the cooking had already begun. We had brought a home baked cake with us, which somehow everybody was longing for. Coffee and cake in the cockpit of "Samantha" with people coming and leaving. Later a walk across the island in the beautiful countryside which wetted our appetite for the evening dinner. We watched a beautiful sunset from a nice vintage point and than back to the small harbour. What a wonderful smell as we came close to the little harbour. Lamb, spiced with garlic and fresh mushrooms were cooked in the pantry of “Katinka”. The photo shows our wide IMS stern and "Katinka" beautiful bow line.
After a nice dinner we started discussing the weather report for the next day, which showed no good. Henning, who had sailed this weekend as a single hander on his X-79 decided for an early departure, before the 25-30kn of predicted wind would have built up substantial waves on the open sea. Kerstin and I thought we could take it easier with our boat and did not want to leave already at 06.00h. Maybe it was a mistake, as after breakfast around 10.00h, when everyone else prepared for a very windy windward leg home, the wind howled in the rigs of the boats. We prepared 2nd reef and jib no. 4 for us. The bigger boats just used their headsails, which are on roller furls. When we left the wind shadow in the lee of the island, we thought that this was the right set up. “Katinka” impressed us much, when they just rolled out their headsail and the beautiful sloop with the classic lines just glided through the waves whilst we started hammering into head waves on our race orientated IMS hull. It turned out to be the toughest windward sailing of the season. Around the half way mark the mainsail broke in parts and our boat just does not like to sail upwind nicely without a piece of main. We had to go lower and of course more distance. As everyone had got the message for a right hand shift coming in the afternoon from weather reports, we sailed mostly for the right side to be able to ease and reach after the shift. What happened: it turned left around 15.00h and we had another beat into our destination at Maasholm. These “wrong decision making” or bad weather predictions do no only cause frustrations and bad placing during regattas but they are disgusting whilst on a cruising tour. You long for the hot shower but instead you find yourself beating into the wind and sea for another extra 1 -2 hour. Finally we made it. The boat was prepared for the haul out and winter storage and this season is finished for us. Hamburg boat show is coming soon, the house hunting is coming to an end, the contracts have to be signed and there is lot’s to think about what we will do next season. Maybe leave “Samantha” in storage for a season and get on with other important matters or share the boat with my brother who is finally “coming home” after having spent many, many years on the ocean and in the south sea. I am full of hope that I can improve my cruising skills, weather and navigation knowledge with his help.

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