Donnerstag, Mai 31, 2007

Wednesday Night (beer can) Race in a Melges 24 and "updates"

Only yesterday, did I sail my second beer can race on the home water this season. Due to changes in life and other responsibilities I do not have my Bull 7000 ready for sailing. But this season, we have two Melges 24 in the fleet. Jan has purchased his boat "Bostik Bad Boys" in late autumn and he did practise all through the winter. Every Saturday going out with his team. I could see them sometimes passing by and got a bit nervous about the hours, they were spending in their new boat. They had asked me sometimes to come out and play but I am changing things on the rig and the Bull is not yet ready for sailing. Until yesterday I was even hopeful that I would be able to beat the Melges on the line but I fear that this is not possible. I had to change my mind which was built on last years results against Melges 24´s which might not have been sailed to even 80% of their potential. Anyway, I got my hand on the tiller of "Henri LLOYD" yesterday and I did crew for Jan on his boat last week. They were keen to learn and practise the Kiwi drop, which I had learned from the designer Greg Young during a Bull´s training session. It is a very common maneuver with A-sail boats but mostly unknown to regular spinnaker users. The main thing is to douse the A-Sail on the windward side whilst rounding the mark. NOT before. All the cloth drops nicely into the rig and you have your crew on the windward side to stow it away. Mostly this is the side to hoist it from leeward on the up-wind-mark.

The M24 "Henri LLOYD" came to Germany recently from England. There are not many used boats on the market at present and with a little communication assistance by myself, the boat ended up on the Harwich (GB)/Esbjerg (DK) ferry, where the new owner, Jürgen, collected it, using my German number plate on the English trailer. You just drive on the ferry, tow it on and off you go. Easy. Did that many, many years ago with a Flying Dutchman, coming in on a Roll on/Roll off Vessel from Australia. But this boat belonged to FD friends from down under to be used on their EURO tour. Customs office wanted to know about. Off course, and I told them to treat the Aussie boat like a football which you need for playing. Got away with it after much discussions. Otherwise you need to pay customs duty and VAT. Have to fill in many documents and be able to claim the money later when the boat goes back home.

So, "Henri LLOYD" was offered to me yesterday and I collected crew and off we went. A pity that the "Bostik Bad Boys" did not come out to play. They had work to do. New Boats to prepare for collection. That is their trade and it is busy time at present. We managed a good start, came first to the weather mark and did some nice downwind work with my experienced 14ft sailor in the crew. The wind nearly died. It died totally for us. At least that is what we thought. We came to a standstill, long way in front of the fleet of X-79, X-99´s and other boats. We sat there, waiting for the wind to pick up again but the only thing which happened, was the fleet to catch up with us. Deep inside I had thought we were caught in the soft mud but my crew, who knows this water from swimming and windsurfing all over the place, denied this until I asked why a goose feather on the water would now start passing us from behind. OK, heel and rock the boat free. We rounded the weather mark in third place, first happened to be old Windsurf buddy, Klaus on his Mistral Raceboard with a huge sail. Well done Klaus! We managed to get back into the front in this zephyr wind. We were in good mood due to being out there and our result does not turn Jan away from racing against us. Stay tuned. We will take the Melges out again next Wednesday. By the way, the photo at the top shows the committee boat on the way home, towing two tailenders. (click on it to enlarge) K. took it from the roof of our new house which is under construction. This being one of the reasons, the racing comes a bit short this summer season. My goal is to get the new in-house workshop ready by November and start into a full DN season next winter. Any by the way, for anyone interested: the Bladerider has delayed the delivery again until 10th of June. Clever guys, they are sending out regular status reports, which stops nervous clients from calling in. I understand that they want to see a fleet of their boats at the Worlds in Lake Garda later this month and me and my friends are far from being able to even reach a starting line in this nice little craft. So, let us patiently wait for the Flying Moth to arrive in June.

Freitag, Mai 25, 2007

Taken the Singlehand-Dinghies for a ride...

All of a sudden there was time left in the evening after the LV Semi Finals came to an end and work in the company had been done. A sunny evening which allowed to sail in shorts and T-shirt. First we sailed across to the SSC sailing club youth training to take part, but the young sailors did some playing and mocking around with boats. No marks laid, just playing cat and mouse. Not bad and maybe fun in a fleet that varies from 29er, Laser, Pirat, Europe and others. We decided to do a long downwind stretch, some 5km as this is my weakness against the girl. Much wind reading and anticipation for the next shift required to stay close but once she catches a gust, she is off and I am left behind in a different wind system.

Anyway, we met our friends Roger and Jörg doing some Laser training. We did some upwind work with them, Roger as fast as ever but Kerstin able to stay in front. I had some problems shifting into "competition mode", which normally is not a problem for me but once in the back of the 4 boat fleet, I only did the wrong things. Tacked into a hole etc. When a big black cloud appeared over the town which Roger analysed as a wind sucker we departed to either ends of the Schlei Fjord to reach our berths before the wind would die. A nice evening of sailing was finished with a round of strawberries from the nearby fields, purchased earlier in the day.

Mittwoch, Mai 16, 2007

Great Reading about the Americas Cup

There are some Journos out there who´s AM Cup articles your fellow blogger is reading with interest and enviousness. Great stories about a great event. There is nothing like that happening around my life, though it is not boring, but how can I interest someone with a story about me putting the DIV II board out on the water to try to beat my lady in her dinghy. Just for the records, it happened last weekend and I put in an extra hour of boardsailing after the exciting races yesterday, when BMWO beat Luna Rossa across the line in a tough race. Tough to watch. That is why I needed some relief. You will guess by now that I am cheering more the Italian boys, the Brazilian magican, the Italien Gentleman and the Aussie boy other than the slick and self-appointed challenger team, Oracle. At least, this is the image they have built around them. Now the wall of self confidence must be dented. I am not a believer in the sand-bagging theories appearing in some sailing forums.

On another note, I read today one of the best sentences about sailing with a crew. Confidence in your crew. Something which gave me shivers. James Spithill, Helmsman, Luna Rossa Challenge, about his crew: "The guys have pretty much said to me ‘put the boat wherever you need to and the sails will be there’ and they have delivered. So it’s full credit to those guys.”

Thank you James and keep up the good work. I don´t mind to be glued to the screen during racetime and hope to see you in Valencia in the final, when I am paying a visit.

Dienstag, Mai 08, 2007

Worst Mistcake...

Tillerman on Propercourse writes today: "Write a post on your blog about the worst mistake or most embarrassing moment you had while sailing". mmmh, he wants this "to serve as terrible warnings" - a very good idea, indeed. A pity, nobody had warned me about what happened to me in the following story, but would this have been possible for the incident which I had ran into?

Some years ago, being on a cruise with my 36 footer in the Baltic Sea with girlfriend, the 5 year old boy and the dog, sun is shining, just a light breeze from the back and only the main up. There is a shallow marker at a corner of an island which we want to round, 1,5 miles outside. Girlfriend reading the map and pointing towards the marker. Some Danes take an inside route, which I also did during a regatta some years ago. "Well, you know, I know this area..."
We are not heeling at all. Suddenly we are running aground. The boat shakes, the boy (his first trip) feels the boat bumbing on the ground. The dog barks. Boy starts crying, dog goes crazy. Girlfriend ash white. We have to take the main down. Immediately. I push the dog down below, girl holds son and the main drops down on the 5,20m long boom. Dog is bleeding on his paw and wants out. Starting the engine, reverse. No reaction. Waving with rope to boats passing close. No reaction. Someone yells: "Heel that thing" - he cannot know that we have a winged keel. Draft 2m´s and we are sitting on these bloody wings. Heeling increases the draft. Oh, could someone please pass by and throw a little wave?? Someone up there must have heart it. A small passenger ship in the distance sends some gentle waves... the boat rises from the ground, full reverse, touches just a little at the trough and takes of with the next one. Slowly out of here. Backwards in the same direction were we came from. Planned destination cancelled. Straight home. The little one, since than, does not want to step onboard again. He has felt emotionally the wrong aggregate state of the boat.

The boat did not carry any damage but a fortnight later my charterer asked me if I knew a new route around that cape. "Oh, well no. I cannot recommend this way. Please stay out if you round that corner". Bloody me, I forgot to delete the course lines in the Garmin...

Mittwoch, Mai 02, 2007

Sailing without fun...but fun in the sun!

This blog is actually updated (noops, I was not able to send it through, I am doing it today, being homebound) from the airport in Singapore where we are in transit from Bali back to Hamburg via Frankfurt. The reason to visit the beautiful island of Bali as a first timer, had been an invitation to a wedding party in the Four Seasons Resort, at Jimbaran Bay Four Seasons, Bali , from a good ol' friend and sailing buddy of mine, with whom I had shared my last H-Boat, G-736 some years ago and the 36db, GER-3843 which I still keep and sail. Our friend did marry into an Indonesian family. This had been an event which I did not want to have missed. Actually it had been the most incredible event I had been to. Not only wedding wise. Definitely something, which I will never forget. (K. just talks on her mobile from Singapore Airport to her parents in Wittenberge and she told me that it is just as phoning from next door...amazing times) OK, the wedding party went on for 3 days and I had put in 3 extra holidays, getting the very special rate in a place which I normally would not choose as my holiday home. Anyw, one of the days we went sailing in the resorts only 2-hander, a Hobie Cat with a "keel". (do not know exactly the type) It was nice to be out on the Indic (Indian Ocean for non- circumnavigators) but to sail the boat was horrible. The boat was very hard on the helm. Weatherhelm. I could not find out what was wrong before coming back to shore with a sour arm. The instructors told me that they are waiting for a new rudder from Australia, which takes time. OK, it made me happy that I had not forgotten how to get through the surf in a Cat, but sailing a straight line was near impossible. The rudder just had way too much rake which put the boat out of balance. We tried to wet ourselves afterwards with a sea-kajak but it seemed that we had missed all, but one wave on the last run-in. With this last wave we did a handstand, burying the nose into the sand… a lot of laughter not only from the beachmasters but also from ourselves.

Out of balance is what I am today after the exhaustive trip home, following the daylight. But it is not the tiredness, it is a little virus in the system which keeps me close to were you wanna be alone…