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.