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.