Mittwoch, Dezember 31, 2008

Scaling down

There has not been much to report from "on the water" for me. It is always a long time since the beginning of October, after packing up the soft water tools until January when I normally move from soft water mode to hard water mode on my DN iceboat. This year, the time seemed longer than ever, though I had the pleasure to meet some sailing friends and to see some new boats during the Newport boatshow in September. Maybe this "early boatshow visit" at the end of the season had been one of the reasons I was longing to get back on to the water.

In December my sailing buddy Jürgen called me, to ask if I would like to race one of his IOM yachts. Yes, sure. No reason for me to hesitate. The regatta took place on December 21st. Called the "Tannenbaum Regatta", first price being a fully decorated X-mas tree. But... you have to bring a new one, fully decked out, the next year. Oh, I do not want to be the winner. And in reality I would never be. Not enough experience. The competition is really strong. E.G. the good guys keep a line-up of boats like Jürgen, who gave me one out of his four boats which he keeps in prestine conditions and in full racing mode. We had sailed 2 blocks of 3 races each in chilly conditions. There were two different fleets who shared the course and sailed one after the other. 30 MiniCupper (looks like an old IOR 2 tonner) and 14 IOM boats. (Very flashy looks, very different designs within this international one meter rule). I ended up somewhere in the last half of the fleet, though I had really good moments, when arriving at the top mark in the first 4 but after that I lost it on the downwind. In one race really badly, when I thought that another black boat (I sailed GER-277) was mine and I only realized, after the boat did not react to my finger which pushed the stick harder and harder, that I looked at a different boat. At the wrong boat. Mine was drifting by the time way out of the course. A bit like JM in the Vendee... Oh, never mind, I am not fit enough to a Vendee but the discussion on SA if this guy can do it on one of the most advanced Open 60, ready for the race in the last minute, caught my eye and my readers mind. Now he is out of the race and the anarchists from the South of GB who seem to know a thing or two are right. He did not make it around. Yes OK, that was the radio control boat race for me this year. Have a good time.

Montag, Dezember 15, 2008

Lot´s to do and waiting for the water to freeze over

Mmmh, long time no hear. Sorry. Lots of stories caried around in my head. Still the Laser fotos on a stick but no-time-to-blog. I think it is OK, as there is no sailing happening with me at present. Won´t bore you with economy stories, nor with stories about sharpening my DN runners and aligning the runners on the plank. It is a very, very time consuming process when you had been lazy over the last season. Found an interesting blog with "all the stories" about big boat sailing in German language. A pity the guy has left no comment button. If Lobster one comes acoss to this, please give me a shout or a comment. Like to get in contact with you about the IRC stuff. You seem to know a thing or two about it.

Montag, Oktober 20, 2008

"Absegeln" - Last sailing on liquid water this season?

Haven´t been connected to the Internet at home over the weekend. Could not follow the Volvo Ocean Race neither write the outstanding reports about the Laser sailing and the other interesting racing. Hope to get it done later.

Had a good day out on the Moth yesterday. Due to the upcoming boatshow in Hamburg, which runs over the next two weekends, it looks like I should pack it in. I had been "over" dressed yesterday with two layers under the Musto Drysuit. A bit warm after a few manouvers without falling into the brink. Than I realized that one of the Cambers had not been set correct (jumped away from the mast during rigging, I guess) but impossible to do it whilst swimming around. Sailed without bothering too much about it which should be good mental training if something like that happens during a three race day in Kiel or elsewhere. Catch up with you later, hopefully, during these busy times...

Montag, September 29, 2008

Busy sailing schedule over the Weekend

I have put three days of sailing behind me. A lot of fun meeting with friends from different classes and on Friday evening with a boat, that I had never sailed before. The Optimist Dinghy. Yes, I have folded 190cm into this little pram and it did not feel as bad as I thought. It all started with a promise or better a birthday present which I had given to K. last week. She got a voucher to take part in the local women Opti regatta and I promised to organise everything. From the fully rigged boat right on the pier to jump in, to babysitting our little one. I was able to delegate the boat logistics to some members of our little sailing club (HSVS) where K. is giving sailing lessons to the beginners and they came with a whole group of supporters and sailing the Opti around the corner to the SSC. And yes, I was very nervous watching the race. There are some talents in the Club. A last minute starter had been the actual German Ladies Matchrace Champion. K. rounded the first windward mark in the top position and had been rolled by one of the top helmsladies (OK, lady skipper sounds better to me). We were able to see that her rig was not set right for the light conditions. The boom looked much too high. She climbed back at the next weather leg, ducked the leading boat at the mark (see the picture, klick on it) and ran away from the group. She had reset the rig and with the fuller mainsail the boat just glided away. K. won the regatta and I was proud that she made some good decisions on the course and I have to fear that the helm on our boat will be hers next year.

Next it was the mens turn with the Optis. Older than 40 years or above 100kg is the rule. There was just one starter and therefore the ladies catched most of the men hanging around at the club and it was also my turn now. The baby had behaved well and it was OK for me to sail in the race. No excuse worked. I had never before sat in an Optimist Dinghy and I thought it would not work. But I was wrong. The lower legs need to be either outside the boat or you have to knee in the boat and lean forward across the bulkhead as much as possible. Both seemed to work. My start was good. Front row but halfway up the beat I was rolled by Norbert. A little higher and faster he was sailing. More boats passed me on the first downwind leg and the course was shortened much to my delight. My good friend Robert passed me 5 meters in front of the finish and I came 5th. Only 9 starters but it was OK for me.

Saturday we sailed the Blue Ribbon of the Schlei Fjord. A distance race. Up to the first bridge and than back home. The start happened in medium fog. We could just see the starting marker but I think I was way below it at the signal. It was a downwind start, something I never seem to manage well. My friend Jürgen with his Melges 24 just ran away from the fleet in the light air. He was so much in front 2 minutes after the start that he was not even blanketed. We had to jibe and jibe again but we never really freed ourselves from the main bulk. The Bull just did not wanted to sail faster than 5.2 kn. We never came into sailing an apparent wind. The boat did not glide through the water. Therefore we misjudged a few things, we did not change into the light weather sheets and we ran out of good mood. I realized that I should have hauled the boat and cleaned the underwater after a good long season in the water with only some Wednesday night sailing. I am not taking these things serious any more. Therefore I cannot expect good placings. We lost distance on all angles of sail. Upwind it felt strange when the speedo stopped at 5.2 and the pressure increased but not the speed. Nobody else to blame but me. At the end we finished in 12th position. Corrected result under Yardstick: 30th. After nearly 4 hours of sailing in light to medium wind we finished 27 minutes behind the first boat across the line, a Melges 24. The Bull team can do much better, I am sure.

Sunday we did sail the yearly Laser City Championship. I can remember the Nr. of my boat: 84048. Interesting to know that I get this Laser borrowed from Hartmuth, who with 84 years of age is not participating in the Laser regattas anymore. But he did sail the Blue Ribbon with his beautiful H-35. The Laser regatta is another story and will follow some day later.

Dienstag, September 23, 2008

2 Days of Sailing on Different Platforms

Did the beer can race on Wednesday night, the 17th with the Bull. Only looked up the result now and we came 2nd. First time that the new X-34 won with their YS of 93. We are sailing with YS 96 and we did hang on their transom for a long time only to have a "bad concentration phase" in the middle of the run. It was low and slow with the asymetric and we decided only very late to change into the lightweight sheets. After that we could hold our speed but "Luise" had sailed away. Also with a new crew it has been difficult to fly the tackline and at the same time to roll the boat and gennaker with a loose tack. It has to be hand sheeted in the light air as the gennie wants to collapse if not trimmed right. The job looks very easy but needs an experienced hand. We had fun and nice evening out and that counts the most.

The following weekend saw a Moth regatta at a Lake near Oldenburg which is called "Zwischenahner Meer". 10 skippers had entered at the deadline but only 5 appeared at race day. Most had excused that the weather was not up to "foiling conditions" but I think it is not fair for a Sailing Club, a race committee not to come. The social aspect of a race is still important as we are all not opting for an Olympic berth. We need the clubs to organize the racing for us and should not let them down only because Windfinder or Windguru are telling us that the breeze will be zero to two Bft. Anyway all five of us had very good fun and good racing with a PRO doing a good job in the tricky breeze. (Pic nr. 3 shows part of the fleet preparing for the start) We were able to sail 3 races on the Saturday, none on Sunday.
The nonfoilers were leading the way. Actually the last race had been a match race between Harald (from Lake Konstanz, pic on the upper right) and Hans from the Netherlands (pic top left). I was able to hold my third position, (Pic nr. 4) fighting off Sven (Pic at bottom right - early on the line, killing time) who is normally winning the German events. Uwe, who had a few good moments must have had a bit of bad luck with the wind. In race two he passed me on the last upwind, gaining from a hundred meters behind to leading by 20 meters only to loose it at the last 10m from the finish line. I had opted for a one tack aproach, coming from the left, whilst Uwe had opted for 2 more tacks into what he saw would be better breeze but had swung into the left and favoured me.

What´s up to match the hundred days of sailing? Not much and this goal will be up again next year for me. Next weekend we are sailing for the blue ribbon on Saturday and the Laser City Championship on Sunday. A couple of good sailors are coming into town. I am borrowing Hartmuts boat as I did over the last years. Hartmut is abt 77 by now and does some Laser sailing
but not in the race. His boat has a darkbrown colour and I am not sure if this was a series gelcoat. Have to take some elastic with me and some ropes. Hope that all the battens will be there.

Mittwoch, September 17, 2008

No Moths at the Newport Boatshow but other Beauties...

Been to Newport over the weekend for the boatshow. Have been there on a special mission which is not completed by now, therefore not much to say about it. Met some guys whom I know through the SA forum. They all shared their opinions about the things, which interested me the most and it was a good thing to discuss with knowledgeable people from the sailing community.

One evening, when it has not been raining in Newport (ha ha) my bro and I strolled around Newport Shipyard. We had seen some really tall masts from the distance and needed to know to which boats they might belong to. We came across many superyachts which you normally only see in the “couch table mags” and two stunning yachts shall be featured here on my blog. The first one is the much discussed “SPEEDBOAT”, now in a new colour sheme, sponsored by Virgin Money. There was nobody on the boat. Seems that there is no weather window in sight to beat the Atlantic record. Her actual mission under the new charter. This boat is a “must see” for people who are interested in the development of things. It will be interesting to see if BIGGER is also faster. I mean BIGGER than a VO70 but with features alike. I was told by one of the sailmakers, whom I met during the show, that the square head of the SPEEDBOATS mainsail is abt 7m wide. I mean 7m horizontal at the top. What sort of batten will you need to put the top of the sail into good use? Will it open when you pull with all your hydraulic magic on the downhaul?

Many questions arose and it all lead us to another great boat from an area of life when no hydraulic or other machine assisted power could be used for trimming one of the big yachts. She looks all the business, she presents the glory of former years. The ELEONORA. What a beauty. The main boom sticking way out over her stern. All the woodwork gleaming in the late afternoon light. A pity that I only had my mobile with me but the sights of these two yachts, coming from opposite ends of the yachting history, being berthed nearly side by side, will stay with me for a long time. I like my readers to share the views.

Montag, September 08, 2008

Small high´s and big low´s at the Skiff Days

This boat immediately tells you if you have done enough practising as well as maintenance work. It doesn´t matter if you have an idea of reading the wind, or to know something about tactics, if you haven´t done your homework, it will show you already minutes after the start. OK, I should not write as pessimistic as this sounds. Not all had been bad, but I am still disappointed about my own result in the "long distance race". I did not even finish. Being second last boat and dead slow on the run I decided that enough was enough and turned the bow around to sail home. It was not possible anymore to see the front runners in the Moth class. I could name my boat the "lame duck" as it has no name at present. But this name is more appropriate for myself, as I have steered it around the course. And I am responsible for the set up. Less height than my fellow competitors, therefore a bit slower. Less deep running on foils, therefore lots more miles. Anyone with ideas to get me out of this, please comment. I have to hit the road now and might write a more positive report later about the "Kohlhoff Skiff Days", held in Kiel on the inner Fjord last weekend. Great organisation. Good fun for everyone. Watchful eyes can see me doing a port start with my GER 3170. Not bad, but than came the header... and a lull on the left.

Mittwoch, September 03, 2008

Sailing a Pram...

Not much going on recently on the sailing side of life except an afternoon of Mothing and a Saturday race with one of the local traditional fishing prams. They handed over the helm to me 10 minutes into the start sequence and I had to get to grips with this slow 3 mast boat in about zero breeze. Not that I haven´t sailed a Folkboat or a Dragon but this thing leaked and the sails did not even look like your average cruising boat sails do. But I always felt that I should give it a try. For the comradeship with the neightbors and the social event in our little club at the Schlei. The photo shows our little three mast pram with a classic wooden dinghy behind.

There were 5 of those tradition-conscious boats on the line plus about 20 Optimist prams at the same time. A downwind start. I love it. (not really) The fishing prams come in a wide variety. From one mast to three mast boats. Sails are similar to the Opti´s. Except that the sprits are very heavy as is the whole set-up. With the least maneuvers as possible before the start, we ran down an Optikid. No harm, no damage and we gave him a nice push at the signal. This put ourselves into second best starting position. (There is a price for the best start which my crew dearly wanted, but I missed it) Blading the sails out with the help of oars, Falck, Gonne and Ulli worked their way into trimming the boat. At the same time we had to bail and I commanded not to move much around. We found a nice breeze close to the shoreline. We passed the monastery and sailed close to the harbour wall. It was stop and go with all the prams. With a little luck we arrived at the first turning mark in second position. A well tuned and rigged one mast boat in front and one close behind us. Now the upwind leg home. Slow in this lazy Sunday afternoon breeze. The single mast boats tacked back to the shoreline. We opted for the long haul on to the other side of the fjord. Found some breeze and did not disturb the slow pace of ur boat by tacking. And as in many races we looked brilliant at some time and coming closer to the finish we looked less than average. Everything was possible between second and fourth place. We just had to get the layline right and tack into a little lift. When it looked good we did. Our closest competitor, rigged with two masts took our stern and tacked 5 meters further to windward. After about five minutes he rolled us. I had started to luff as a counter move but slowed the boat down too much. Couldn´t get her going again and nearly missed the finish at the lower end, coming in at fourth position. But hej, they cheered us. This old three mast pram had been sitting in the shed nearly unsailable for a year and only with the help of two long retired boatbuilders, and lots of tar, the boat had been brought back into sailable conditions. Thank you guys for a fantastic afternoon.

Mittwoch, August 13, 2008

Olympic Sailing in the Fushan Bay

Due to the NBC and BBC live feed from Qingdao being inaccessible from Germany my source of information is here. The German sailing team is not doing very well at present, though hopes are still there for them to take part in the (one) medal race. The German press does not seem to understand how it will work for the medals, do I?

Interestingly the German Yngling team has fired their Psycho Coach after they had found a lack of speed on the downwinds. Hope they are improving now without this coach overtrimming the kite... I had started a thread on the German Sailing Anarchy site about the teams "lack of downwind speed" but either people here are not following the sailing in the Olympics or they are too shy to share their opinion. Life is much more busy in the SA Forum.

If anyone out there can tell me how to access Olympic Sailing Videos or life feed within Germany or has a trick about how to tell the foreign server that my compie is not located in Germany, please feel free to comment.

Freitag, August 08, 2008

Just an Update....

Had so much on my working agenda that I did not even post about the last three days of Mothing last weekend. Though they were uneventful, the practising answered Koos question: Noops, not a successful foiling jiobe by now. I would say a 3/4 foiled turn around but in the last second the foils lost grip. As Simon P. had once described it: They were not loaded anymore. I would say, not enough speed going into it, the weight at the wrong place and my biggest dilemma, being too slow up on the new side. During the week it was mostly raining (with a big hailstorm yesterday) and only now the flags on the pole outside are starting to make some noise. I will give it a go later today.

Søren from Denmark, DEN 101 wants to sell his nice Moth. He had send me a photo showing both of us during the Horsens regatta. His boat is also in the classified ads at German Moth site. Go to Gebrauchtboote

Next regatta is in the beginning of September. The Kohlhoff Skiff Days. Have a look here: Skiff Days and see you on the water.

Ooops, before I forget to mention: Next week I am going to see Neil Young live at an Open Air concert in Hamburg. I am looking forward to this event and would even drop an evening on the Moth for it.

Dienstag, Juli 29, 2008

Somer i Danmark. Moth racing in Horsens.

What a fantastic Moth racing weekend lays behind us. Two days of blazing around on foils against great competitors in an environment which could not be any better. First of all, the weather. Summer is back and as you can see from the headline, this is what makes people happy in Denmark. This is also the slogan for a great holiday country with quality food, camp sites and houses for rent. The Horsens Seijlclub had again called for the Moths to hold their annual summer regatta. The Horsens Fjord had been the location for a Moth Euro and a Worlds before. So it must be good there. The people must know what they are doing and it was an easy decision to enter for this regatta.

The hard core of the North German Bladerider fleet showed up together with three Danes and Leo from Berlin. This mixed up for a small competitive fleet of 7 Foiling Moths. This should be a good reality check for me as announced in the thread before. The wind had picked up to 4 Bft on the Saturday late morning (look at the picture) and the starting flag had been raised at 11.00h. Three laps up-and-down the Horsens Fjord, start near the marina was on the menue. Sven and Christian showed the way around the course with Leo close behind. My height had not been enough to hold them and I also need to find some more speed. But not all was bad for me. I sailed away with ease from Søren who had always been close to me during Kieler Woche. I was even able to lap him and the three guys in front did not lap me! Capsizing was not on my agenda for the first two races but than I got a bit tired and checked the water temperature more than once. I did not feel fit for a third round and waited a bit in the right hand downwind corner for Sven to lap me and sailed into the finish afterwards. Sven, Christian, Leo and me in front of the Danes. Not bad. Søren had organized a splendid evening dinner at the Yachtclub which should have at least 1 star for the cooking. Atmosphere was great. The little ones playing: "catch the crabs" or "playing the dog" and the grown ups sharing stories and red wine.

Sunday was the same pecking order, bar race one, when Christian beat Sven on the last downwind run. He did a better layline localization and Sven had to jibe two more times. Everything is possible with the right determination. The wind was just a fraction lighter as on Saturday and I felt very comfortable on the downwind runs. I enjoyed the sailing immensely and could not get the grin out of my face. Even in the second lap of the third race when I decided that enough was enough, I took "time out during a weed check" on the layline and waited for Sven again to lap me. It took long. Than jumping back on to the boat and foiling through the finish. My energy level down to zero. What a day. What a weekend. The sailing hours which I had put in are starting to show results.

The set-up of my boat is so much better than it had been in Kiel, though I doubt I could have placed any better. Just look for the results of Adam, Steen, Martin, Sven and others who sailed Kiel week before the Worlds. These guys are a good benchmark, though I heart last weekend that the top guys, like John Harris and Amac are "double as fast" as the ones mentioned here. I have to see this to believe it. Anyway, the speed potential of a foiling Moth is not only in the boat. It is mostly the sailor, once his set up is alright. I am hooked, I will go for more.

Click on picture and they will get bigger
Pic 1: Ramp in Horsens
Pic 2: Me through the Finish
Pic 3: Christian in front of Sven at Finish

Mittwoch, Juli 23, 2008

Hunting the Tillerman

The great Tillerman on Proper Course has motivated me to start a kind of private sailcounter. As I am not a compie genius and are not able to install something as pretty as he did (with changing pictures), I had started to count my days out on the water through my blog entries. I have to add 3 more days from last week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I went out on the Moth and had some great sailing. It happened to be my second and last holiday week. I have now switched from just foiling around (OK, still going up and downwind mostly) to some serious upwind and downwind between two markers. It is not easy for me with this fast little craft to get the laylines right. I have cheated to myself three or four times at the windward mark, whilst my downwind rounding had been very wide or assisted by a capsize some times. Still a lot of work to do I realized. Too many tacks which have to be avoided. More concentration necessary about reading the wind on the course. About which side is favoured and than go-for-it. Much different to keel boat sailing when you can tack on windshifts easy, when you must tack to hold your position. Also the little Moth can be sailed high or low with big differences in speed and during Kiel Week I was amazed by how low the top guys were sailing their boats. And how much faster. I will go for another reality check this coming weekend. The Moth regatta in Horsens, DK is on. All Mothies are welcome.

Back to the practicing last week. Monday was OK with wind around the 10-12kn mark. Tuesday it was very gusty, average wind around 15-18kn with some aggressive gusts coming down from the west. Incredible speeds around the 20kn mark. Incredible capsizes. Some bad bruises appeared after the sailing and it was not the most fun day. On Wednesday I checked the boat thoroughly, rigged a new mainsheet and new shockcord and did some maintenance work. The boat must have liked it as it gave me the best day out so far. 12kn average wind speed. Three hours out and just one capsize. Lots of up-and down with decent laylines and mark roundings. One jibe where I got a glimpse of how a proper foiling jibe must be finished. A great day but than in the evening a bad cold started to take my mood down. I was bound for the house until Monday.

Uhhps, this was post supposed to be about "hunting the Tillerman". Adding the three days from last week I actually have sailed 44 days this year. Tillerman has done 51 days as I can see from his sailcounter. He seems to count only the Laser days. He wants to sail 100 days this year. A goal which is not out of reach and should not be out of reach for me. Just that I count every sailing day. Not only the days in the Moth. I would be too far behind. But being in a regular job, having responsibilities for a couple people and things, I am doing better than all the years before. Thanks to the Tillerman for dragging me into this contest...

Samstag, Juli 12, 2008

Eventful Days in the Moth and the Bull

Being on holiday this week and staying home, I was playing with the Moth after the frustrations of loosing the foil from the centerboard last week. On Monday I had some good time out here on the Schlei until I lost my rudder foil. In hindsight I think there must be an old fishing net or a rope where I hooked in and sheared the foil off. It happened quickly and I did not come to a halt. Frustrating after the boat felt so nice and quick. The good thing is that I am prepared for these misshapes. I have a second set of foils (ordered for the aim to help out people in Kiel when the dealership between Bladerider and Christian Brand was not settled) and as you can recognize that this helped me immensely this week. First the wing from the centerboard, now the wing from the rudder. My stocks of spares is running down as Felix still has a few important parts which can break or need to be replaced when abused or used a lot. Enough of this, back to sailing. Tuesday searching the shores for the foil with no success. Wind around the 15kn mark gave me good practice on the adjusted set up (2 turns in) Ride height in the waves not too much. Downwind I think I am sailing way too conservative. Should risk more, should steer more aggressive. But all in all some gains here and there. I have the feeling that my tacks are improving faster than my still "nonfoiling jibes".

Wednesday evening the wind was on for the last beer-can-race before the school holidays and with K. not available and my crew at the 14´s worlds, I asked young Adrian if he would crew me. He is out on his Europe dinghy at many evenings and very much interested in all aspects of sailing. No wonder, his father is a designer and engineer of yachts and commercial ships. OK, here we go. I helmed the start and the first beat and Adrian took over after rounding the weathermark middle of the fleet. We were overpowered, overcanvased or simply put: we did not have enough weight on the rail. The two of us. Around the mark, I rigged the boom, hoisted the kite, got it up without watering it. A bit of sailing on the port tack and than we had to jibe. We wiped out. Hard. Layed flat. Dropped the halyard and had luck that we, or better the others, avoided to hit us, to break our 2m bowsprit which stuck out on the front end like a sword. After I had peeled all the wet 60msq of gennaker back into the hatch we needed time to catch our breath. We were last boat by now and sailed without the red monster but after a while hoisted it again to dry it out and to catch some boats. Aren´t we racing here? Adrian excused himself for the manueuver but what for... I should have given him better advise about NOT to give much rudder with this boat. Just let it jibe and go deep again in the heavy air... Able to catch a few boats during the race, no more broaching (!) as Adrian seems to be a quick learner. We came 8th on corrected time with a total of 10 boats surviving this windy race. 18-22kn from the west. Gusting.

Thursday had still some nice breeze on with rain showers. Summer seems to have gone here in the North. Out with the Moth again with the spare foils. Tried to follow some friends on their downwind spinnaker runs (X-34) but capsized too much and could not pass them. They cheered me when I crashed in the close distance. Maybe they get the idea that this is part of the game. Part of the fun. But not for me. Before getting overly exhausted I finished my sailing and went for the hot shower.

Friday I´ve been sailing again and this time an old windsurfing friend (he did an Olympic campaign in the DIV II board for the ´76 games) came along on a RIB with a bunch of juniors. He is a sports teacher at one of the famous German residential schools nearby. A school which has 29ers, 49ers and also runs open gaff cutters for the beginners. I was able to pull away from the loaded RIB in the gusts. Thomas promised to come back and to wear a wet suit next time he sees me out on the water. I heart him giving a lot of explanations about how this boat "can fly". He surely wants to give the Foiler Moth a try. Hej, Christian! this is one for you. Give a test-sail-day to the sailing squad at Luisenlund. After Thomas and the kids had left I did some up and downs to practice my layline approach. I find it difficult in the Moth with the (my!) wide angles, sailing upwind. The last round was a good one. A really, really nice downwind run (deep, very deep on foils without capsizing) and a smooth rounding. I packed it in after that. Have to stow that in my memory! This good day even got better. After I had finished the shower the door bell rang and it was Adrian who had found my rudder foil on the beach!"heyitwasgreat!"

Mittwoch, Juli 09, 2008

Sunday was great!

The Sunday of last weekend was great. We had our annual club regatta over the weekend. The local sailing clubs, who are all suffering from participations in their own regattas had combined their efforts and organized one great event. About 50 boats participating from the OD classes, H-35, and X-79 to a field of 38 Yardstick boats varying from the fast Melges 24 (2) to Folkboats, H-Boats and the bigger X-34´s. It was supposed to be a family regatta, which for some racers meant that the families take part in the BBQ and dance festivities in the evening only. We participated with our little Bull 7000, shown here in the picture, during a reach on the Sunday.

Where have I been… oh yes, Sunday and "Heyitwasgreat.", the Tillerman group writing project. I will only touch Saturdays race lightly. To begin with, I had promised K. who is pregnant in her 7th month a light wind and some fun in the club. My regular crew must prepare their boat for the International14´s WC in Warnemünde and we did not want to miss the chance to sail with the local fleet and to see how we are going alone. We had decided early on that K. would take the helm and I do the crewwork. Fiddling with ropes and the gennaker is not easy with the big belly. There were a couple of events, mainly me reefing in and out as the wind had not stayed at the 10knots which I had promised but increased to abt. 20kn in periods. And always when we had to go upwind according to my feeling. I had to reef in and shake it out later. No gloves and fingers burning. I had rigged the gennaker sheet the wrong way and it was all my fault that we lost precious time. We finished the race corrected in 8th position.

The “Heyitwasgreat” Day.
Come Sunday and the Schleifjord looked very calm in the morning. We got towed out. People started to throw waterbombs during the waiting period and it looked like a great summer day. At around 12.00h the wind came up and PRO G.N. immediately laid the marks and gave the 5min signal. K. did a great start and we were holding our position between the 2 Melges up to the weather mark. She got the shifts right and seemed to be “in the zone”. Around the weather mark, the “kite up” and we were able to sail lower than the Melges with our articulating bowsprit. We did great through the narrow passage (Palörde), though the M24´s had catched a gust just in front of us which we were not able to hook in. It gave them a little advantage. The two of us now slightly overpowered in the gusts but able to hang in with the gennaker up. On the next upwind leg, I hiked like hell and K. kept the speedo permanently around the 6kn mark. It was our day. The big boats already far in the distance behind us. We had another great beat though the Melges were slowly walking away from us but not like Saturday. They had all their 4-5 crew hiking out hard. We lost about 3 min to the first M24, whilst on the Saturday it had been about 15min. Difficult to describe the smooth sailing, which we had on the day. Hopefully the little one, the unborn, got an idea of the great harmony which we had and which brought the best of sailing out of both of us. It only sunk in later that we might have won this race on corrected time as our Melges friends had reported to us after the finish. Yes, the price giving gave us the recognition. 1st place of the day and third overall. We went home tired but happy and… “heyitwasgreat”. If you want to see the results, here is the link: Result list

Freitag, Juli 04, 2008

...why did I loose my vertical foil?

Not a good Tuesday for sailing the Moth. Weather wise it was OK. The wind had shifted to the East. Nice and warm in the evening at around 19.00h when I hit the water. 10 - 13 kn. Everything went smooth with the set up and I felt ready to try again some foiling jibes. Not that I am managing this maneuver by now but after a bit of foiling high and dry the boat did not want to come up on the foils after a tack. Strange feeling. The bow deep in the pond. Me crawling to the back of the tramp but no change. The boat did not come up. Checking the ball joint, which connects the wand to the centerboard, it was OK. Back to shore. My worst thoughts had happened. The foil had disappeared. It took the thread of the stainless steel rod with it and pulled the M6 screw out of the carbon thread. Even today I have no idea how that could happen. There was no grounding and no feeling of hooking in to a net from the local fishermen. Just strange.

What made it really disappointing is the fact that on Sunday I had a really pleasant sail with this set of foils (the first ones, delivered with the boat. The ones which I had leant out till last week) and I thought that I should make notes about the set up, the angles etc. OK, I took a photo and marked the two sets. Now there is some work to do. Hope that our friends at Bladerider are able to supply spares soon. Another breakdown and I can skip the planned regatta activities.

Wednesday night race with the Bull (the little blue one on the pic.) was an interesting one. The thermal wind from the east made the windsurfers happy. In the "channel" we had about 5 Bft gusting a bit higher. With the "boys", Jan and Söhnke it felt OK. A little bit light on crew weight, therefore a reef and the small jib. A decent start because an early starter gave us some problems first. Lot´s of flogging mainsail around us. Most boats did not put a reef in. Even we got some big hits and nearly laid flat on the water but after a while got the hang of it. Got the boat going against the longer waterline boats. The X-34´s and the X-99 were gone when we came into the narrow navigable water. We had to fight more than usual as we nearly got stuck in the "crowd". With a draft of 1,70m against the 1,30m-1,40m going H-Boats and Folkboats we had to get it right. And we came out this narrow path as second boat from the tight bunch. We were than able to sail longer stretches, only two tacks on the laylines and got around the weather mark in fourth position. Henning with his X-79 had sailed clever and fast and was in front of us. We had a good ride with the gennaker and came close to the X-79 looking out for the wing mark. What we saw was ugly. No mark but the 99´and the 34´had entangled with each other and the buoy. They dragged it downwind. Henning and I decided, enough is enough and rounded an imaginary buoy and on to a tight reach. After that another beat into the wind and than the long downwind. Gennaker up and we made 11kn easy. In the gusts the speedo climbed up to 13kn. Should shake the reef out but we did not know what to expect in the "channel". Windsurfers were blasting forth and back. We came close to the X-34 and the crew hoisted their kite. Only to broach after it was set. We flew to the downwind mark, had a good round with our typical windward drop and were able to hold the first position into the finish. Abt. 2.45min in front of the X-79, our toughest competitor. It gave us a first place on corrected time and some confidence that we can do it with the Bull also in the heavy stuff. Thanks to my crew. The "boys" have learned a lot since we first sailed the Bull together ten years ago. Wishing them all the luck they need in the upcoming Int. 14 Skiff World Championship in Warnemünde next week.

3 days of sailing for my (not installed) sailing counter.

Montag, Juni 30, 2008

Great Moth Shots from the Windy Days at Kiel

You can´t get it any better. Have a look at the great shots which photographer Sommerwerck at: Sommerwerck, Maritime Photografie took during a typical race day in Kiel last week. The appetizer here at the front (Christian in typical airborne style) is one of these shots. I think we will see a couple of them in some future magazines and advertising about some „fresh products“, mens aftershave or whatever. I am glad that I have been one of the fleet. I am not so happy that I did not find myself in one of the shots. A few other guys missing also but honestly: He took the leading fleet. I have not been in that bunch of sailors. Just behind. And not flying so spectacular high.

Yesterday, on Sunday, I had a good sailing session on my home water. It was important for me to get back on to the boat. To check the setup which did not make me happy during Kieler Woche. I have 2 sets of foils and I compared them closely. Found out that the set I had used had some deviation. It was visible. And it explained some of the problems I had with ride height (actually my boat sailed very low and did not want to fly easily) and with ventilation. A pity I did not had the chance to look at them earlier on (borrowed out) but than I maybe would not have had the experience which I do have now after an extensive Kieler Woche. I will not excuse myself for not being fast enough, there is a lot to improve but if the boat sails easy, it comes easy for me. Next regatta shall be in Horsens, Denmark, at the end of July and I am looking forward to it.

Kieler Woche wasn´t finished for me after the Moth sailing. Instead I had been asked by a friend to skipper his classic 50 footer (S & S style) at the distance race last Saturday, the Schabernack Cup from Kiel to Holy Harbour (Heiligenhafen). There had been about 80 boats varying as wide as one ex Aussie racer, called “Wild Thing”, now being called “Calypso”, to a Mac Gregor65 and the smallest being a Sunbeam 22 (22ft). We had a very good start at the pin end. Closed hauled and were able to free the sheets just a little. After a while some modern IMS boats (Sydney41, X-482) tried to roll us but we could show them by luffing with all the momentum of a 13ts boat that they should pass to leeward. It worked, but not with every boat later in the race. We got rolled slowly but surely by a couple of faster boats. One particular 33ft boat impressed me. A Stern33. Looked really nice and sailed quick. Later in the race we changed to a fractional Gennaker and than later to a top spinnaker which felt good with this heavy boat. The whole race was sailed with the wind from the starboard side. No tack, no jibe. A bit boring would we not have such a nice owner, who brought food and drinks not only for the race but for a really nice crew dinner which we had on board later in the evening. We finished in the middle of the class 1 group, I think 2 or 3 places behind “Wild Thing” on corrected time, though this boat did win on sailing time. First ship home, best berth, best girls as they say. Not that Holy Harbour attracts a lot of them.
Photo: courtesy by Sommerwerck, Maritime Photografie.  See link above.

Donnerstag, Juni 26, 2008

Kiel Week Video and Result List.

There is an interesting Kiel Week Video here. It shows some heavy weather action from Monday, when the wind was above 30kn, gusting up to 38n. No dinghy sailing on the various courses but a few Laser enthusiasts where practicing jibes. Also some footage from my German Moth friends, Peter and Carlo. The full Moth result list is here: Moth results, Kiel 2008

Mittwoch, Juni 25, 2008

Kieler Woche in the Moth class

...or has it been "Killer Woche", with my bones and muscles feeling so tired? And for a lot of boats which had to retire from some races for repair. Kiel Week lived up to my expectations: Windy, gusty and lot´s of waves from the hundreds of RIBS, spectator crafts and other floating objects who wanted to see the Moth´s flying on course Hotel. Herrmann from the press office had "hammered the message home" way to often.

Now being back in the office there is lot´s of work to do and I will leave you fellow readers with a great link to Adam Mays blog, Adam Mays Blog. He did not only write a great report about his racing, he is also the winner in the Moth class in her first appearance within this truly international and great regatta. Well done, Adam. Congratulations! You are a worthy winner! Thanks for reporting so well. I could find myself being one of the guys being lapped by you, not only in one, but nearly in all races. Nevertheless I enjoyed my foiling but have a lot of work to do to increase the speed upwind and the handling downwind. I will write up my personnel thoughts and experiences about "things to do" later.

Mittwoch, Juni 18, 2008

The excitement is building...

Kieler Woche, yes! Haven´t sailed it since a couple years. Last time in an X-382 under the famous IMS rule and we did win in a field of abt. 25 yachts not only in our group (IMS II) but also within the IMS divisions over-all. It was impressive and the load of silverware which I had collected at the price giving caught the attention of Ross Field, the New Zealander who was the skipper of one of the Grand Mistral Maxi Yachts which were supposed to go "Around the world" in one-Design 24m yachts. Anybody knows the whereabouts of these beautiful Farr designed boats?

OMG, all this name dropping. Anyway, the Kiwi asked me later in the evening, if I would like to join in their next leg of the ADECO Race to Stockholm. No way for me I decided. 36 hours on the rail of such a beast, maybe to jump at the grinder and to collapse after 3-5 minutes. No, not good for me. And my navigation skills weren´t any good either. I have been a helmsman most of my sailing life but to ask for this position was not adequate.

Now on Saturday I want to race in Kiel again. On course "HOTEL" and with my Moth. My goal: Not to become last in the fleet. Not to get too many alphabets. My heart is jumping at the thought of lining up with other boat class enthusiasts as it always did before the week was coming up. Boat prep has top priority now though the body should get in shape as well. But: too late now. Too many reasons not to go running, biking or swimming. Now, with 2 days to the first start it would not help either. Instead I will head out with my crew tonight for the Wednesday night race. Do some start line checks and all the things which I have to do alone next week. The weather report is a mixed affair for the next days. I have always thought that (weatherwise) Kieler Woche should be a week later in June but who listens to someone who has only done 25 or 26 such weeks. (Should count back, I am sure the journos will ask me one day). So to all my competing friends in the Moth class: I do hope that I am not getting into your way. My foiling jibes are non existing. But I am learning everyday and I am enjoying this thing immensely. Most of my Moth friends will stay in the carpark in Strande. Boats will be nearby at the beach.

Freitag, Juni 13, 2008

Sailing Caps and MOB

You all know about sailing caps. Those hats which are often a treasure and which are telling you years after you got them, where you have been. The most sought after item I think are the Mount Gay caps. And you have to get them at the event. Sometimes you have to fight to get one.

Some of these caps are fitting nicely, some of them you are loosing when looking up into your windex or checking the twist in the sail. The current fashion (coming from the Volvo Ocean guys?) is to wear your sunglasses on top of the hat. Yeap. Looks cool mate. Costly when you loose both.

With the sun low in the West and beating home at the Wednesday night race it makes sense to wear your best fitting cap and I found it to be useful, when the shade is of green colour on the inside. My "company" caps do not have that at present. They are grey and yellow. Corporate colours of course. A colour which people seem to like, counted on the number of caps which we are handing out. Funny, the second batch (1000 pcs ea) did not fit as the first batch. I am sure that the manufacturer must have saved 1 cm all the way around at the bottom. This made the cap useless in strong winds, no matter how tight you were doing the Velcro. I mean, small heads would fit into it without the danger of the cap being blown away whilst controlling your sail shape, but big heads, afterguard heads... OK, hit me with a rhythm stick, this is not Americas´s Cup talk.

My best cap at present was one, which had been secured to the sailbag of my new SL13 sail from KA sails, when I recently purchased it. A Moth sail. And sailing a Moth it is useless to wear sunglasses. You need a good cap to protect yourself against the sun, to avoid dizziness from the sun. Proudly going out sailing with the new cap I lost it of course when I took a swim. It drifted away from me, whilst uprighting the boat. But I managed a good MOB maneuver, being able to reach for the cap at the first encounter after gybing and sailing into the wind. A good practise. I had another COP (cap over board), maneuver. This one took me two trials to grap it from the water. Come on, not bad with a black carbon Moth, to find a black cap in near black water...

Now I have kinked the cap with a chock cord to my swimming vest (PFD?). You can see me on the photo coming back ashore, centerboard up already and cap saved. Yes, and all the scratches on my rudder and centerboard due to groundings on my homewater are another story.

Dienstag, Juni 10, 2008

What a difference a day makes...

As my regular readers have noticed already there has been a unique weather pattern in the north of Germany for the past 8 weeks. Constantly winds from the east veering to NE on some days. Strong winds, mostly between the 5 Bft mark, building up to 7 Bft over the day due to thermal effects on my home water. A heaven for the windsurfers.

Friday, the day after my last post I was blowing "like stink" again and I was bored not to abel to go sailing with the Moth. Do not want to frustrate myself and do not want to break something before Kieler Woche. Therefore I took my old windsurfing gear out. Used the Litewave 2,65 slalom board, made in Cornwall some 19 years or so ago. My biggest fin (35cm) to have some grip and pointing ability and the 4.7qm Gunsail. The locals had found a nice new spot, only a couple of days ago, just 2 minutes by car from my home. Awesome. I took a while to put the gear together. Way too many options in mast steps etc. It was a good evening out though a bit short as we expected guests and I had promised some BBQ work. There was only one guy who could beat me in speed and my jibes were smooth. But when we decided to round the red buoy, marking the shipping lane, I wiped out. I decided that I would go again. It is like bicycle riding or skating, you do not forget about how to do it.

Saturday, the day which made the difference: I decided to sail the Moth early in the day, before the thermal would start to become strong. Some maintenance work was necessary before going out. A shackle, which looked strong enough for the vang had bended beyond repair and the ropes were getting tired. The morning session on the water was good though I am still miles from doing a foiling jibe. I try to steer smooth into the jibe but ones dead downwind and stepping over, the boat heels a lot to the leeward side. I am just not quick enough or organized enough with my body movements. Old bones and weak muscles are not ideal for quick reactions. But I am still sure I am getting there. It was one of the reasons to buy a Moth to learn something new everyday. The first steps were easy, straight line foiling, but what you can see now from experts like Rohan, Simon, Bora or Chris on the internet (You Tube) is difficult and takes some time for a newbie like me. I was so motivated that I did put in another session late afternoon. I had learned a little bit about to use the "elevator". The rudder which can be adjusted, like a pilot does. I also trimmed the sail harder and better than any day before and I got good speed as a result. Forgot to switch on the Velocitek on the shore and did not want to destroy it in the water by opening it for the on/off switch. It was really good to put in some hours. It showed me where to improve not only in sailing but with the clothing before Kiel. Need higher neopren boots, long arm top and should wear gloves with long fingers. Lot´s of chafing on the body parts which had not been covered.

Sunday, K. and I first took the Bull for a nice cruise until we hit the ground (softly into the mud) and than we turned back home and gave the much abused boat a good wash and cleansing. She (the boat!) should be OK for the Wednesday night race. After that K. wanted to spend some time with her brother and the little one and I took the Moth for another ride. Wasn´t a real good one. Maybe too many onlookers or sore bones. Did capsize 3 or 4 times which normally shouldn´t happen anymore. Got a glimpse of how a good tack could be but always slow out of the maneuver, which costs dearly.

Monday there was a sign of a weather change. First day with the wind from the usual West quadrant. Gusty. I rigged the Moth again to improve in the changing modes, foiling and low riding. Young Adrian showed up with his Europe Dinghy. I was able to beat him to the weathermark but he beat me big time at the leeward finish. After that we changed boats. A little bit small this Europe Dinghy for me. Adrian enjoyed a couple of capsizes and a little fight with the Bladerider. He did not give up but was not rewarded with a flight. The wind had gone down further. Next time young chap. He told me that he now understands why I did spend so much time in the water the first days on the Moth. Good guy.

Tuesday, K. is running the Opti course at one of the local clubs but again today there is too much wind for the beginners. White caps all over the place. Wanted to meet a friend out on the water who has just finished work on his used Contender. Doubt that we are both able to show up with our dinghies.

Donnerstag, Juni 05, 2008

Time is flying...

Time is flying by and so did I. Look at the pics, me having done an extended 18kn ride (Uuuh, just short of becoming a member of the 20kn club) but honestly, there are just not enough good days to put in some necessary practise on the Foilermoth. The North of Germany is a great place for windsurfing at present. Strong winds (mostly 18-22kn) from the east or north-east nearly everyday since abt. 8 weeks. Sun is shinning almost every day. Wind from the left (at the bottom of my garden...), which had been my favourite side but somehow I am not very keen of going windsurfing these days. Here is an update on the very limited sailing days recently.

Last week I only had one late afternoons of "Mothing" and an hour on early Sunday morning but no chance to take part in the beer-can-race on Wednesday night with the Bull. Nor did I take part yesterday evening. Small health problems again and very strong wind prevented me from rigging the Bull. I think we would have slipped more sideways than sailing against the strong 22-25kn wind. If it keeps blowing like this I should consider a second reef in the mainsail. Must talk to the sailmaker. Watching the X-99 yesterday evening, leading the pack with a second reef in, but still the mainsail flocking hard did look like shredding a lot of money through the leech.

Today looks promising and maybe this is another day when it makes sense to clip the Velocitek on to the boat. And yes, my spare foils which I wanted to save for the "big point" regattas are in need of filling and fairing as well as the ones which I have lent to Felix. I hope he puts them into good use to have a benchmark against the ones which he developed himself.

Mittwoch, Mai 21, 2008

Lost count of the sailing days...

Need a sail counter like Tillerman, Propercourse otherwise how shall I ever cope with the days out on the water. There are others who are counting their days and reporting and I think it is motivating oneself. Bora is doing it as well as Chris Maybe the two are playing psycho games as some others in the Moth class are doing. Psyching themselves up for the Worlds in Weymouth. All meant to be fun of course and though I will not get up to their level soon (or never), I like the way the communication in this class is working. Anyway K. and I had a nice evening cruise with our Bull the day after the horizon job. Communications on board gets better every day we go sailing together. I am taking up the crew job more or less and have to get into the groove, whilst she gets the hang of sailing the demanding Sportsboat.

On Friday evening I was fully dressed in my new Zhik gear, the Moth fully rigged as I had seen some wind out there but when I was ready to go, it faded away and never came back. I was so keen to sail on the Friday evening as the weekend had been blocked by family affairs. Actually I want to sail the Moth every possible day now to get ready for Kieler Woche. So, yesterday there was a window of opportunity. I knew before that wind from the North gives me problems starting out and coming home but I did not expect myself spending a good 30 minutes on the bank, (Wasenberg) trying to avoid damage to my foils. Thought that I would fly over it but the wind dropped and so did I. Jumped off the boat immediately, but still got a few bad scratches on my racing foils. Some filling and fairing with SPABOND 340 needs to be done. I prefer this Epoxy Adhesive instead of filler or putty as it is much stronger. Had some good times flying by my regular Bull crew Jan, (sailing on a Pirat dinghy) who told me to look up the International 14 website as they had just won the German 14 teamracing Championship event. They had started as Team CTM. Thank you boys!

Will try to do the "days of sailing" count later. Tonight we have another round the cans Wednesday evening race. Looking at the flagpole (see photo) in front of the office window right now, there is not much sign of wind. When it is light wind we are in for another top finish if I do not mess up the start. Got to go to the boat early and do some fixing of the running rigging.

Freitag, Mai 16, 2008

Horizon Job

A Horizon Job - I love those words and the meaning of it. Difficult to translate into German though a straight one would read: "Horizont Job". I doubt that anyone in Germany, bar a couple of experienced sailors would get the message.
Anyway our second outing in the Wednesday night race (this week) with the Bull was a success. A big one. The conditions were just right. Wind from the east, 2-3 Bft. A shame that K. had dates out of town on this lovely evening, therefore Jan and myself decided not to take some inexperienced sailor on board. Instead the two of us sailed the boat alone. We took the old mainsail with an efficient reef, just in case.

Before the start we had the usual problems. Tackline over sheet or under? We messed a little bit around and at the end of the pre-hoist we even put the gennaker in the drink... Anyone who has done this knows that it is building immediately some kind of a sealed net. Full of water. Heavy. We got it sorted, both pulling hard on the halyard and the mast not breaking.

The starting line not well biased as usual, I put the boat between a bigger one (H-35) to windward and an X-79 and got trapped. Slowed down, backed the jib. Tacked and got off on port tack which was favoured. Had to grind down the leading X-79 after a while, which worked, than falling into another one. Two more tacks on lifts and we were the first boat in the narrow "channel" between the markers, where the water goes shallow to about 1,20m on the outside. Didn´t hit the ground and first to the weather mark. Gennaker up and we pulled away. Our maneuvers were so smooth that I even thought about the pleasure of this evening sail later in bed. It does not happen often. At the end we had a lead of 3min 4 sec. against the 2nd boat, a X-79. The list.pdf. The four seconds saved us 1st place on corrected time. Later at the bar the usual talk like: "next time we have to recalculate your YS". But that seems common everywhere and is not meant to be harsh. Friendly rivalry. Hopefully with some more competitors next Wednesday.

Donnerstag, Mai 15, 2008

Days out on the Water

As I have promised myself to spend more days out on the water this year I should write the log ( about my activities to be able to recap later in the year or maybe in life.

It had been a hectic day to get the Bull ready for the first Wednesday night race on May 7th. Lucky me that my brother was able to help me and to organise some welding on the pulpit, to do some epoxying and to work away other jobs from the to-do-list. He also got two boat trailers through the MOT in that same week. The racing went well, we were leading the mixed keel boat fleet until 200m from the finish, (after the long upwind leg) when our friends in their brand new X-34 passed us. On handicap (Yardstick 96 for the Bull) we scored a 2nd. Worth to mention is that my brother (who crewed us this evening) has not made as many tacks as we did this evening during his Atlantic nor his Pacific crossings. Actually he told us that he did sail from Hawaii to NZ on one bow.

The Whitsun (Pfingsten) holidays were coming next. Tradition in this area is to do the launching ceremony for all new boats at Schleimünde. A little natural harbour on the mouth of the Schleifjord. A place which you can only reach by boat. No street up there to protect the nature. 3 boats where on the list this year. A big party and BBQ had been organized. Date: Sunday 11th. This gave us some time on Saturday to take out our wooden canoe (for the very first time) and the rowing dinghy. The canoe is definitely not for me. K and I used it on the way to the planned picnic place abt. two miles across the Schlei, through a bridge into a beautiful bay where there is a Viking museum. (It is all about Vikings in this area). On the way home I changed boat with my brother and his spouse and felt much more at home in the classic style rowing dinghy (carbon/sandwich DIY many years ago).

Sunday 11th, the four of us sailed (cruised) for 7 hrs to Schleimünde with the Bull now changed into full cruiser mode with upholstery, outboard engine, water etc. We came a bit late due to the light wind and me underestimating the distance and the time to spend in front of the bridges when missing the opening. There are 2 bridges, two miles apart which open once every hour. The party was great. Two X-34 and a Drabant 38 had been christened. My bro had a tent with him so it was just the two of us in the comfortable front cabin of the Bull.

Monday 12th we cruised home or better to say, we had a schlepp home most of the way due to very, very light wind. It was also time for my brother to pack up and drive home to Hamburg. The above picture, showing the Bull7000, had not been taken during this weekend.

Dienstag, Mai 13, 2008

Shifting Gears - The Group Writing Project

Tillerman from the "Propercourse" blogsite called for a group project and I felt obliged to contribute. A good day last week as I was homebound with a cold. Otherwise, I think I would have liked to go out for more learning experiences and finding out about them in my latest love for speed sailing. The Foiler Moth. The Bladerider. OK, now you are already informed that this is not about cars and shifting into sixth gear on the German Autobahn. No, it is about sailing and the importance about "shifting gears". Many of you might have read about it in the "thousand books" about sailing. It is the importance of getting your boat going. No matter what kind of boat. If you stuck your boat into a big wave, if you bring her to a halt during a tack, you need to start in the lowest gear possible. Otherwise she won´t go where you want her. This is the experience which I made through my keel boat days. And there are mainly 4 ropes responsible other than the all important sheets. On my keelboats the OUTHAUL together with the CUNNINGHAM always played an important role and than the BOOMVANG. And the BACKSTAY. OK, if you forgot about the VANG, to ease before a windward mark rounding, it is possible to break your boom. All this I seem to have inhaled well and it sticks in my memory.

Last weekend, going racing with the Foiler Moth I made the experience with myself that I did not even think about the above. The basics in sailing. There was real light wind at the start of the series, lot´s of wrinkles in the luff and the sail as deep as possible to get me going. OK, I played a little with the downhaul (CUNNINGhAM) which has an 8:1 purchase. But not really enough as I should have done. When the wind picked up later and I got up on the foils, more than doubling the speed, I kept going with the same profile, I was up in the air, so exited that I did not have a disadvantage against the top sailors in the class due to weight or other issues... I was inhaling the thrill holding my breath and trying to keep her going on the foils. Racing in a new class. New mates. Than the other boats kept moving away from me. Going faster and faster. At the end one or two guys lapped me. I was puzzled. Could not get to grips with it. Asked around in the evening how about them doubling their speed again when already foiling. Carlo said to me more or less: You must shift gear! "Du musst Dein Segel anpassen..." it struck me only than. Yes, I had forgotten the basics. If I go racing, there is no excuse not to built on your experience. All you have learnt is counting on whatever boat you are sailing with. You have to use it. I will make a note on my boom. Next to the LiveSailDie sticker.

Dienstag, Mai 06, 2008

A Must See for Sailracing Enthusiasts

This should not be all about Moths. There is other racing going on at the level I am interested in. Farah Hall pointed me into the direction of Racing in Hyeres through her blog, which you find at Windsurfing towards Beijing on my first link list on the right.

High Quality sailing on film, which has taken place in Hyeres mostly with strong Mistral winds. The reason I had to abandon most of my Moth training in Le Levando, the place being close to Hyeres and staying there during the same time. Watch the day 2 of the RS men or women. Great Sailing!
On the home front today: Getting the boat trailers through the MOT with the help of my brother. Rigging up the Bull for the wednesday night races which are starting this week. New EasyRigging to put on the mast. Hope we can make the first race.

Montag, Mai 05, 2008

Racing brought lots of fun

Not much time for a big report as I have to travel a bit. But for the ones who are eagerly waiting here are some more short cuts and photos:

OK, Sven won the regatta at the end after 2 very interesting races on the Sunday (6 races in total) with lot´s of foiling possible due to some nice gusts. Carlo had it in his hand to win but there was a moment when he tried to pass Sven, he got caught in the wash (turbulence) of Svens sail and capsized to windward. Sven won the regatta in typical style. He does the best Veal heel, he has control nearly all the times but with Carlo we have another real good sailor coming. I came 7th out of nine regulars, 10 participants all together which was totally OK for me. Tons of fun and learning from the top guys who are giving tips and encouragement to keep improving. Going to races is important as in every game but some small tricks I have to practise at home.

Something I reflected on the long journey home: Being really into trimming sails and set up of boats I totally forgot about the most important things when getting into foiling mode: To change the sail shape from full to flatter. Being exited about doubling (and more) the speed and passing other boats I forgot the basics of sailing. To shift gear! Like a beginner. Something I have to work on immediately. Full result sheet and a German report will be on the German Moth homepage. German Moth site

Agenda for the photos: My sailnumber on the Moth is not the usual "99" but GER-3170
Top picture is showing the Moth mess at the start line in very light wind.

The second picture is taken after last races start: Not the usual scene, me in front and the winners battling it out in the back. Sven in typical Veal heel style (white boat) and Carlo (1058) tried to block him out unsuccessfully. They had already caught me at the windward mark. Next time guys....

Third picture and rare scene: Me getting a gust and up to foiling and passing a competitor.

Samstag, Mai 03, 2008

Today we have sailed 4 races. Carlo is leading and Sven is 2nd. Wind in tne first three races good for the lowriders. Some gusts which have the "Lightweights"some airtime. The 4th race had wind hp to 4 Bft. All the Foilers had good tun but there are some who have more.

Donnerstag, Mai 01, 2008

Not a good Day...on the Moth

Favourable wind on the Wednesday afternoon let me leave work an hour earlier. The Moth needed some attendance with the new boomvang and some minor adjustments on other parts. At around 18.00h I was ready to go out and the wind had increased. White caps all over the place (should take the anemometer, I know) Had a good start with wind from the left, which is my favourite. Upwind, hiking hard and sailing from the flat water to the more choppy zone. Suddenly I realized that the vang came loose. I pulled more until there was nothing to pull. The blocks were blocked. Now with a lot of power on the sheet and the mainsail twisting a lot the fun of sailing the Moth faded away. I tried some downwind but had spectacular capzises over the bow. The boat digged the bow deep into the water which made me slipping to the front of the tramp which made the digging worth. Lots of swimming and I was fed up for the day. Has it been my bad knots or what caused the problem? For sure one of the ropes had slipped.

I fiddled with the ropes again today but despite there had been some good conditions out there my bones are feeling tired and I want to do the regatta at Stienitzsee on the weekend. Therefore I packed it in, put the Moth on the trailer, everything ready to go and will leave tomorrow. First we will drive to Hamburg. We have an invitation for a boat launch ceremony. A old beauty has been restored (with lots of epoxy of course) and there is a christening tomorrow in the old port of Hamburg, The ship is called “Artemis” You can find information here: Kreuzeryacht ARTEMIS

For the regatta I have lowered my goal after the disappointing last sailing. Have to do a reality check and want to see how the other Mothies are doing. Will report after the weekend.

Donnerstag, April 24, 2008

An evening out on the Moth

Yesterday, after getting ready with work and everything else like playing a round of football with the little one (got drubbed 4:5 and 2:5) I managed an hour af Mothing. Had to play against the wind (strong) and therefore got the idea of going sailing afterwards. A little more tweaking on the boat and a new, tighter tramp rig and it was already 19.00h. The wind from the east had calmed down to small white caps and about 4 Bft. I managed some good upwind legs though my upper legs hurted badly. Had good speed and a better boathandling than the other days on the reach/run but never a good jibe. Maybe I tried too hard. Ended up with the boom sticking into the air which than costs a lot of energy to get the boat into position for a re-start. Maybe I should try a more conservative approach to jibing first. Getting the boat low and safe around onto a tight reach to get it on foils and than bear away. But as a former slalom windsurfer I know what it costs dearly when you blow the jibe and have to go nearly upwind first when actually you want to head downwind.

Anyway it was a good session and I had seen some progress. Less time in the water and good solid flights. And as I used to say to my buddies: "It is the hours which you have spend on the rail that counts at the end. Talent is only 10-20 percent involved". Looking for more hours on the Moth as the temperature is raising now.

Edited: I ripped the above Foto from the Bladerider site to give my motivation a kick. I am a Regatta man and I should be able to do this...

Montag, April 21, 2008

Wind, Wind and not much progress...

Just got the photos from my Finn session which happened already on the Sunday a week ago. I have added these photos to my recent post to shut down the remarks which are about like the Sailing Anarchy phrase: "Pics or it didn´t happen".

Have been busy with the Moth over the weekend, renewing the ropes for the tramp which had chafed through as well as the very thin shockcords. Not being very fuzzy with the weight, I upgraded to a little thicker quality. There are always small jobs to do with this boat, with any boat to my experience, but the Moth is critical to the smallest of changes or wear. If you go out by yourself there is nothing you can do if you have a breakdown on the gear and all you can do is to drift ashore somewhere. That is why I hate offshore winds. Anyway Saturday there was too much wind for me and when it had calmed down in the evening to a handy 4-5m/sec (3,5Bft) we had to leave home to a BBQ party. A good alternative to put on even more weight than just the thicker shockcords.

Sunday the boat had been in good conditions and it was already impatiently shaking on it´s trolley. Sun was out and I put the boat in the water in the afternoon. White caps and abt. 10m/sec did not make life easy for me. I could manage a straight line to windward but I did not reach my goal of 3 miles upwind and than down as I gave the downwind a try after three or four bad tacks, ending in the water. It was scary. More boomvang, more outhaul (need to change that stiff rope) but in earnest I did not do very well. Not deep enough and watering myself way too much. And oh, these capsizes, when you end up with the boom sticking into the air downwind and you try so hard to get the mast out of the water, turn a bit into the wind and help the boom to go down. You push it and it won´t. You have to lean out hard otherwise you stick the masttop into the mud. Righting the boat than means a handful of dirt on your head. Dinghy sailors on lakes know about this special experience. I gave up fighting the boat and went ashore. For a drink, warming up in the evening sun and to think about my manoeuvres. Took the boat for another spin and it was so much better. Enjoyed the upwind and managed decent depth downwind. Past some boat with speed, got the passengers from the round trip boat looking. Cameras clicking. Well this motivates, makes you a better sailor for the moment. At least that is what I thought.

Freitag, April 18, 2008

Update: This weeks sailing.

Already 2 evenings on the water due to the daylight saving time. I love it.
Got the boat in the water on Tuesday after we came back home from France. We did it without a sleeping stop this time.I took the Moth out just for an hour to see how I can manage it alone from the green in front of the house. There is a stone wall which I have to climb down a meter. Of course first priority is not to damage the carbon shell. Used the new foils. Got going upwind easy but downwind it felt a bit like a rodeo ride. Not very funny and it puzzled me. The boat always behaved great without fiddling or special tuning. This Bladerider worked straight out the box and it had been sailed now by 5 different people without causing any problems or major breakdowns. A very nice product. So I put the boat back into the garage and had to think about the problem. Yesterday evening I read Bora´s blog who described some problems which made me think about mine again. Maybe the new foil has a different rod length?

Today, I looked into the BR Trouble Shooting Guide, rigged the boat, took some measurements (for the first time) and found the problem. Somehow the wand could not give enough AOA. I had to cut 7,5mm off the thread and than screw the ball/socket joint head fully on. This gave me the right reference data. The wind came from the east today which means less gusts, more stable and I had a good time on the water. The Bladerider behaved nice again on the downwind, but my jibes were shit. Even some of my tacks ended up in the water. I had to quit today because some of the ropes holding the trampoline broke. Have to purchase new ropes first thing in the morning. Looking forward to more sailing tomorrow and should start mentally tacking and jibing tonight.

Scuttlebutt Europe today! Moth Alert

Moth Alert!
Only flying must be more thrilling than sailing a Moth (International Moth Class) in a good breeze and riding with a Bladerider over the waves, .... a feeling very similar to flying over the water.

Even in moderate breeze the hull of this single-hander lifts onto the water and kisses the top of the waves. The sailor flies over the surface of the waves while fin-keel and rudder foil keep in contact with the wet element.

For the first time this spectacular 3,35 m Loa production built single-hander will be represented in the International Part of Kieler Woche 2008 (June 21 to June 24, 2008), and the International Moth Class Association expects more than 30 entries.

The Moth is a high-tech, fast Cat-rigged single-handed dinghy which was invented some 80 years ago. The Class Rules allow the designers to draw exciting one-off designs or to develop a production foiler Moth. Quite early Carbon Fibre was used for the hull production, thus optimising the lift-off speed of the hull.

Since 2000 the development and addition of foils contributed to the hull's weight which is mainly borne by the foils. Consequently, the hull lifts onto the water even at moderate breeze, but at the same time causes exceeding boat speed. The rather small Moth dinghy at high speed reaches easily 25 knots, - a boat speed which normally reach twice as big Cat hulls with an 8-times bigger sail area than the 8 square meter Moth sail. The width of the Moth hull is no more than 35 cm, and to balance and trim the dinghy the skipper sits on a 2,25 meter wide outrigger-frame. The Moth dinghy, ready to be sailed, has a weight of less than 30 kilos.

The Class was founded in 1928 and seems to stay forever young. -- Herman Hell

Edited: Due to my training status I am not sure if I shall sign in to the Kieler Woche with my Bladerider GER-3170. Actually it is a dream for me after taking part 27 times already in various classes.

Donnerstag, April 17, 2008

The Finn Dinghy Experience

A beautiful Sunday in Cannes, our last holiday and my friend invited me to sail one of his Finn´s. I mean a real one. A Devoti with a Wilke Carbonstick and a very nice North Sail. The boat was a delight to sail. We went out with four Finn Dinghys and it was easy for me to stay right with them. To beat them to the weathermark. OK, only 2-3 Bft. Just hiking and trimming. Lot´s of chances to look for pressure. I easily got the hang of it. I spent 4-5 hours on the water instead of the usual 1 hour I do with the Moth. And I had not been exhausted as being after the Moth events. It was fun and it helped me to gain back a little confidence which I must have lost at all the capsizes with my Bladerider. My friend tried o convince me to go to the Finn Masters in Medemblik, Holland this year, but really the sailing in the nice conditions in the Bay of Cannes did not prove at all if I would be able to sail this big singlehander in a breeze. No, no, I took the day as it was: A nice day out on the water. A photo will follow.

First Days of Sailing the Moth this year

Second Day of Mothing
OK, back to blogging. The weather changed overnight and with it the wind became an onshore breeze. The sun disappeared behind big grey clouds and the shore break did not look inviting. Nevertheless I rigged the Bladerider and worked (walked) my way through the shore break. Got on the boat fine. Flying not really a problem. Upwind not pointing very high. Tacks were slow and bad, some with sailing backwards. Downwind the sailing was fine but however I tried to jibe I put the thing into the water. 13° C definitely better than the 5 ° C at home. But I lost my power quite soon cause of the capsizes and I knew I needed some fitness to get the boat through the breaking waves on to the beach in one piece. Oh, I am still fitting the blades outside in the chest high water and do the de-rigging there as well. The new centreboard foil sank to the ground and did not come up as the older one used to do.

Third Day of Sailing
Still a nice onshore breeze and meanwhile Felix had the new boat “Orange” rigged and ready to sail. We changed into the bay nearby where we did not have to fight the breaking waves and starting the Foiler Moths was easy. “Orange” should have been sailed by Kerstin but due to special circumstances she let Felix do the first sail and decided to do some photos. It was OK out there but again only for a short period after which I got exhausted. A bit early and again I thought I should start a fitness program. The “Orange” did not last very long, back to the workshop was the motto. But it was got to see some progress on the flap mechanism which worked well.

Fourth Day of Mothing
The day after packing up Felix gear, we decided that he and Claus should have a go on the Bladerider to get some airtime. Felix did the first session but I think he only managed about 5cms. He acted way too much as a lowrider with the boat heeled to leeward. Of course he blamed the wind which was also right. It just was not enough breeze for his weight to get him up on the foils. It was time for Claus. A first timer and he did very well. He got up on the foils easy, did some tacks and tried some jibes (of course not on foils). His fitness is great and he is not one to give up. He foilded and capsized until I think Felix called him in via some family magic. Felix in the meantime had talked to Kerstin and got some tips which worked well for him. He got up on the foils and you could hear him scream. Full of joy and exitement. After Felix had put in a good session it was my turn. I had some fun, tried again to jibe on foils but are still sofar away from being able to handle this manoeuvre. A few capsizes later I packed it in.

The weather changed again the next day. Sunny but brisk and some offshore wind. No way I would try it again. Our friends had already hit the road and we decided to change place and to visit friends near Cannes. We did an adventure trip across one of the Cols (small mountains) due to me believing the GPS navigator and not my good sense and we ended up on a very twisty and narrow road. With the Van and the boat on the trailer is was no fun and at one time we were blocked by oncoming traffic for more than half an hour. No way for us to move back and the Frenchies insisted on their rights in their homecountry. Bloody Germans what are they doing here… OK, not that bad but they showed us that this was not a road to be taken by van and boat.

Mittwoch, April 16, 2008

The End of the Winter...5 days of sailing

It had been planned for a long time. To start the sailing season with a little bit of Foiler Mothing down at the Med. At first we wanted to meet with friends at the Easter week but due to a very early Easter holiday this year, we delayed this until the beginning of April and it happened that the boatbuilding of our new Moth by Felix had been progressed to a near finish of the project.

The trip took about 20 hours on the road. When we arrived in Bormes des Mimosas (le Lavandou) it was sunny with a strong offshore wind. Blue sky and a nice temperature wetted my appetite for some “flying hours” with the Bladerider. I should have known better…

On Sunday the 6th it was blowing cats and dogs and even worth it was a strong offshore wind. White caps appeared not far from the shore. Waiting for our friends was disrupted by a call from Felix being only about 2 1/2 hours away: “We have a flat tyre. Not one. It is a twin tyre in the back and we cannot get a replacement on the Sunday. We will get there on Monday”.

Some sightseeing into the local boatyard and marina did not bring much satisfaction as most of the boats moored there had been white plastic boats from the “well known sources”. Oh well, yes there were a couple of boats on the hardstand, more than 50 foot long and these boats featured double rudder blades. Boats which I hadn´t seen before. Not the typical Open50 or Open60 style boats. More cruising orientated, but with a wide stern. Thus the twin rudders.

It had offshore wind again on Monday. But there was much to do with the newly arrived boats. To look and to discuss and to assemble. Felix had 3 Moths on the roof of the Mobilhome. His old Lowrider and two newly built boats, mostly designed by himself with a modified “Schenk” hull. After much discussion and scraping parts and things we came to the conclusion to just assemble one of his new boats. The “Orange”, as it was called immediately by Kerstin and him. Due to the colourful bow section I think.

Oh yes, and I was in the water for about 45 minutes as you can see from the photo on the right. Beautiful blue sky. Offshore wind. Whitecaps in the back. Always a bit scared that something might break or that I would loose the boat. Or ending up in “Africa” due to the offshore breeze. From my windsurfing days I remembered that it was not wise to take this risk and I packed it in. Sloopy fitness also played a role due to the capsizes in the very gusty conditions. But it had been the first day on the water. Should set up my counter as Tillerman did. More about the sailing within the next days.