Dienstag, April 24, 2007

No sailing in Valencia but a great day in Schleswig...

One gets tired to read about postponements and "no race days" in Valencia though as a sailor, I have "been there" in quit a few occasions when we travelled far, say to the Med to take part in the FD regatta in San Remo or later in Hyeres when it either blew "cats and dogs" or the see stayed calm. Same happened during Kiel Week but never for more than 3 days. The good thing is that work get´s done, the bad thing for me that some journalists are digging into crap. E.g. suggesting that Dean Barker of ETNZ is not good enough because he lost against the Latin Rascals in the first race. Pressure is built here from English Journos, as far as I can interpret things. These guys want to see Ben Ainsle on the wheel to have an advantage for the next round when Britain takes part with the ORIGIN challenge. I have followed the Kiwis since the "Skiff on steroids", NZL 20 days. Being a tiny little supporter by purchasing some team gear and "promoting" this team within my group of sailing friends. Everyone here has heart the voice of the Cup, Peter Montgomery. We have a sailmaker friend, who learned from the many Cup videos which I got send from Kiwiland, to act and speak like PM. Great Fun. Back to what I want to say: Barker took some scalps during the Match Circuit. Some big scalps and I believe that the ETNZ will make it through into the Cup. And if not and you ask e.g. Dennis Conner, who will win the Cup: His answer is said to be: "A Kiwi. There is a Kiwi in every team". Like that.

Yesterday had been an interesting day here in the sailing community. My friend collected his Melges24 from the Harwich/Esbjerg ferry, the former HENRI LLOYD, from England. The boat was purchased through phone and mail with help from my side cause of language problems. Without ever meeting the owner in person, it proved to me that as a sailor (a boatowner) I can trust sailors (boatowners) elsewhere because we share the same passion. Passion for boats.

This also applies to my fellow colleague, Bjoern, who recently purchased an older 1/4 Tonner. A Bruce Farr Design, built abt. 30 years ago in Germany at the former Burmester boatyard in Bremen. A cold moulded boat, still in very good condition. Yesterday we celebrated the "boat in the water" event. The official launching will happen later. I do hope that I can post a photo later about this interesting boat, which still pleases the eye. Having done some 1/4 ton sailing myself on a Nissen design, I had many chances in the old days to look at the beautiful wide stern of this particular Farr design. (Wide of course in the meaning of the IOR days, today most boats are wider)

So, K and I did sail to the event with our dinghies. We live just on the other side of the water. (On the north side, just about the middle of the picture. Our friend watered his Farr boat just across on the south side. We launched from the green close to where we live and when we came back later, after doing some up-and-downs to shake the tacking and jibing cow webs off, we de-rigged under a full blossom cherry tree. What a sight.

Donnerstag, April 19, 2007

Did you watch the anemometer in Valencia?

Anybody who watched the anemometer in Valencia over the last 30min would have been amazed that the windspeed had been 0 knots! This thing either sits in the windshadow of a chimney or something else or the weather is not cooperating at all!

Actually I believe that the Spaniards have placed their Anemometer free of every windshadow and what we see is what we get...Have a look yourself and pray that the condition will improve now, when it looks like +39 might have their version 5 mast ready to race. Go: Weather Data from Valencia and press thumb for the Finn Dinghy guys in the AC.

Dienstag, April 17, 2007

Two days of waiting for the AM Cup Races to start

It is the second day with starts postponed in Valencia. Not a sign of enough wind. At least the weather has changed from the cold blustery days to some nice and warm sunshine from what we can read. I am not there. I am following it via the Americas Cup Homepage. I think for the true aficionado it is not a bad thing. He understands the adverse weather conditions and that you cannot schedule sailboat racing according to the TV program.

Every sailor or windsurfer must have come to a sailing site where the locals told you: "It is always windy or always sunny here" and when you arrive, you find just the opposite. Or the locals tell you: "You should have been here an hour ago". It happened to me quite often, when driving to the Baltic Sea from Hamburg, to put in some windsurfing in the waves (small) and to air my 4.7 or 4.2qm sail, it seemed that I had arrived too late.

The weather in Europe or more special at the Med is, according to my sources, normally more reliable as at present. But this does not help when everybody down there and at the recent Mallorca regatta has frozen like never before. In the sum of all external forces I think the weather did not change much but it may have moved. We here in the North of Germany did not have frozen lakes during this winter. The people on the Med have had 4 weeks of really bad weather, even snow where it normally does not snow at this time of the year. We can only hope for the better and better it will get in Europe. Whilst "down under" they start preparing for winter, we are coming into our spring and summer season. May the gods of wind prepare some nice racing in Valencia!

And by the way to all European moaners. It is far better to have a postponement line from AC Valencia on your work station during office hours, other than being glued to the TV at 02.00am and not knowing if it will happen or not. Smooth watching.

Freitag, April 13, 2007

Digging into the past

This blogger is a little bit out of order due to a bad cold which does not allow me to go out on the water or to do the jobs on the boats which have to be done. Of course there is some planning for the upcoming Double-Hand-Challenge, being started from Flensburg and maybe a participation in the Melges 24 Europeans held in Neustadt.

Every sailor here knows that racing on your own boat brings a lot of satisfaction but also heaps of work in the preparatory stage, whilst crewing for a friend/owner shifts over the workload and the boat prep to someone else. Going through the stages of a bad cold, I could easily decide to skip all boat work and just jump on a well prepared boat as seems to be the Melges24, purchased this week by a friend of mine with whom I had some excellent sailing and racing results in the past. I will never forget one specific Kiel Week in the heydays of IMS, when we sailed together on his X-382 with a good crew. Jürgen and I decided to share the helming from one race to the next as both work hard and concentration on the wheel would fade easily when jumping from office into sailracing. Jürgen started the first of 6 races as helmsman in the Kiel Cup where there were 25 competitors, all keen and many with newer boats and sails. I did the mainsheet on this toprigger and we changed place in the second race. Being a bit nervous after Jürgen set the goal with a second place and helming the first time in a competitive race with a wheel I tried to “bend” the wheel during the starting sequence that the crew asked me to ease the grip, otherwise the sailing would well be finished before arriving at the weather mark. OK, guys, I see what you mean. I sat on the rail, used the wheel like a tiller, softly touched and started to feel the boat like I used to feel any boat which I sailed before. We managed with some excellent crew work to come first and than we never looked back. We won this Kiel week overall under IMS with a near clean scoring sheet. Later during the price giving we learnt to know the Kiwi, Ross Field who was sailing in the Farr Maxi OD Class “Mistral”. Ten boats on the starting line. Very exciting. These 80´superyachts of those days where supposed to race to Stockholm the next day and Ross Field asked me to crew on his boat. Maybe he was lured into asking me, because I carried all the trophies from the stage to the bar. I thought about the offer but knew quickly that this one was not for me. I am not a distance sailor. I cannot sleep on the rail. I do not have enough power to even carry the smallest sail on a maxi yacht. I had to turn him down but asked him if I could help a friend, a sailmaker on to his boat. Yes. And that is a another story, when my friend Harry sailed on the “Grand Mistral” Maxiyacht to Stockholm with a bunch of Kiwis.

It reminds me also to another story when Greg Young asked me to have Ross Field to helm my brand new Bull7000 during Cowes Week 1996, where the boat had been delivered from Auckland. I acted a bit nasty and answered “Ross, who?. The man can do the mainsheet but I am going to helm my boat myself”. How we did not survive Cowes Week and got run down by a 40´Swan even before the first start in front of the starting line at the Royal Yacht Squadron is a story in itself.

I do hope that I get OK soon and do not have to bring up so much of my sailing history. Better to report about actual life out there on the water.

Dienstag, April 03, 2007

Unbelievable exciting!

just listening to America´s Cup Radio and watching the race-tracker on the official site. +39 with helmsman Ian Percy and all the Finn blokes right in front by about 203m to Areva. Our German team made it back to 5th place. We have to see how she goes downwind.

Couldn´t resist the nice weather on Sunday and took the dinghy out of the winter storage and went sailing for 2,5 hours together with K. Both had tons of fun, enjoying even our rustiness and slow tacks and jibes. NEver started that early in the season over the last years but living now so close to the water and having the boats on stand by one has to do it!

Have to hit back to the official AM CUP website to see how the +39ers are doing.