Mittwoch, Juni 20, 2007

Racing the Bull and thoughts about OL classes

The beautiful German summer weather turned into rain, thunderstorm and strong winds on Friday last week. On my to-do-list there had been a couple of things with the rigging. Lengthen the shrouds, shorten the headstay to get the mast more upright but I hate to fiddle with the boat (any boat) in the rain. We hoped to have enough time to do the jobs on Saturday. Saturday again, very bad weather and we cancelled the racing for ourselves and visited Kieler Woche, which had just started for all the Olympic Classes + 1. Plus one being the 2,4mR disabled sailors. First half of Kieler Woche this year being held exclusive for the existing OL classes.

K. had never been to Kieler Woche though she did some very competitive 470 sailing, but due to the iron curtain and the decline in sailing after the wall came down, she had only able to sail at Warnemünde or otherwise on the East German lakes. (This whole thing is a story in itself) Nevertheless, I thought that in Kiel I would not meet any German OL sailors whom I know, as all the Olympic sailors are max 25 years old since the Soling had to go. Wrong I was. There is still Roland Gäbler in the game, leading as per today the Tornado fleet and in the Star, Alex Hagen. Not to forget Marc Pickel, whom we helped with selection of materials for his new Starboat. (This just to drop a few names). Offshore boats, IMS 1 - 4 were also in Kiel and the crews were in the beer tent, which was fully packed. We had a few interesting talks around the Foiler Moths and Finn Dinghy developments. (Oh so, beautiful these Wilke carbon masts!). Scrolling through the results sheets: I found that the participants in some classes were at the very low end compared to years before. Bad timing with ISAF worlds I was told. But where are all the Germans, normally found in the Tornado, Star or 470 class? Good participation during weekend regattas or more fun orientated events like Travemünder Woche might be one of the reasons. Is it no fun to compete against "full time" sailors? To learn it the hard way? I had done it, many years ago in the Flying Dutchman. Having the oldest boat (G-500) on the start line. Being last in every race. Capzising even before the start and some "not so nice FD guys" laughing at me. This only made me work harder till I got to grips with the sport I still love.

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