Mittwoch, Februar 27, 2008

Underwhelming - The DN World Championship

Due to a massive work load in the company and commitment to my folks I have put the blogging a bit on the side. Also my regular readers must have noticed that the DN iceboating (which actually pulled the trigger to start this blog) has not happened as in the years before. May it be global warming or just bad luck that one low after the other is running over the north of Europe from the Irish sea without giving the Siberian high a chance to settle. Anyway I had been asked by a colleague from England, who visited my company in my absent and who gave a well received lecture, to tell him about. The following is a mail which I had sent to him on Monday which should give you the story:

Thanks for our mail. Now that you are asking me about the sailing: I learned a new word yesterday: Underwhelming! Yes it was! (Sorry Scott, I ripped it from your blog)
The ice on Lake Lipno in the Czech Republic was good. The lake is on 800m altitude and big. The river Moldau is feeding this reservoir. We had perfect weather. Abt. 200 participants. 4 groups with nearly 50 sailors each. A > D group with qualifiers from D upwards. I am fixed at the gold group due to my actual ranking of 13th.

At practise day I bent my steering post due to running into a crack in the ice on the way “home”. Only pushing the boat across the crack but the boat fully loaded with 2 extra sails and 9 spare runners and toolbox had a bit of momentum. (You never know exactly which runners to use as the conditions are constantly changing from morning over midday and mostly freezing again in the afternoon) I had to change to my brand new spare boat (should have a spare steering post but did not.... repair was not possible at the time) which I have not sailed much and never during races. In the first race, I came very, very, very last. 2nd race: Very, very last. 3rd race: Very last. Frustrating. Than started to see some light after more and heavy tuning than in the races before (completely different to my old boat as I found out the new one is a very stiff hull) In the fifth race, fighting in the middle of the fleet, the sheet jammed in one of the Harken blocks, upwind at about 60km/h. I was able to avoid an accident with the first boats sailing downwind at around 100km/h, but could not finish the race. That was the WC. In hindsight I must say that a conversation with former World Champion Ron Sherry, US-44, who came to me to ask “what about me being so dramatically slow”, helped sorting out my boat and more important my “head”. Ron gave me the important tipps for better tuning the stiff boat. He actually asked, how the boat felt, how it behaved and so on. It made me think at least in a positive direction, away from frustration. The stiff boat (hull) needed everything a bit loose. And that worked.

After that we have started our European Championship. I started this new event quite good, ranking 21st after 3 races. Due to the changing weather (abt. 12°C and other circumstances, my friend and I decided to go home. With us about 1/4th of the participants. The PRO and his race committee found good ice around the corner where the river Moldau did not destroy the former good ice from the bottom up as it happened where we were staying on the camping site. So I missed a good opportunity to gain some valid ranking points and it is possible that I have to start in the Silver fleet next time to try and qualify myself for gold again. One American friend, Matt Strubble, US-183 (also an A-Cat sailor) had an outstanding season. 2008 North American Champion, World Champion and European Champion. No brake downs on his boat. Plain good sailing and preparations. Tough to do this in Europe but thanks to some German friends they have access to a complete workshop after landing in Germany and before the DN show begins somewhere in Northern Europe. 3 US boats broke their hulls from accidents and we had a really good session during the night glueing it all together with SP106 and the repair kits. They call me Mr. Epoxy cause I am always carrying SP products with me. Here are some photos taken by a friend:

Sonntag, Februar 17, 2008

Championship is on

We are dwn here at Lake Lipno. 182 sailors from 15 Nations. Beautiful weather but a lack of wind. Today the first qualifier for the "D" fleet had been sailed. "C" fleet hat been abonded. Tommorow we will have 7m/sec and we do hope that the Race committee will find a bigger area than today otherwise I expect a demolution derby on the small course.
I myself have not raced officially today but did a lot of sailing and on the way home I pushed the boat into a crack and have bend the steering. Our good friend Peter G-868 borrowed me his spare steering and my co-driver Henning, G-499 drilled an 8mm hole free of hand with a "not-so-good driller". Nice job.
Something my dear friends might be interested: There is no such "Koch-Duell" as our Gourmet cook, Krogo, G-749 had to stay home due to a big, I say BIG flue. He is staying in bed and calling everyday to ask for weather.
OK, Niklas and some others want to look up the weather for tommorow. Have to stop the reporting on this borrowed computer. bye for now.

Mittwoch, Februar 13, 2008

All my DN friends are sitting in the starting blocks

You might wonder why this sailing blog is so empty. Yes, there is nothing to report. My dear Bavarian DN friends are sailing nearly every weekend on small lakes but they are not having any regattas as the lakes are too small for fleets of abt 30 participants upwards. Whilst in the south of Germany they having freezing temperatures all the time, we in the north have the opposite. Temperatures around 5°C. Still the water being too cold for me to go Mothing. To help you to understand our iceboating and the difficulty to find a location for abt. 200 (!) participants from all the world (The US boys are flying in to Frankfurt today) others are sitting with their equipment stacked up on cars or in trailers. I had started to pack up the Van last night. Unfortunately my partner has some sad family responsibilities and I am looking for a co-driver. Might have to talk again with K. who is so occupied with some interesting projects. Anyway, please read the following if you are interested. Our Pres has currently made a round trip from Vienna, via Sweden to Finland and now back to Lake Lipno, Czech Republic, close to home. I just got a phone call from my spies that the lake down there has got 20cm of black ice (kernel) with a light snow slush cover. M best guess is that we are seeing al our iceboat friends from abt. 17 nations for the World Championship 2008 at Lake Lipno. Stay tuned.

edited: Thanks Niklas, of course 200 participants. A logistical nightmare.

Message from Niklas, the President, written last night.

Dear friends,
now I'm sitting on a ferry again.
Some people ask if I became a "Fähroholic"

Today I have been in Finland and had a look on Lappalan Järvi. Ice conditions there are not that what I would love to have for WC 2008 or EC 2008.

Before starting to that lake I had several phone calls to Stan Macur, Chris Williams, and other reliable informing persons and we realised that 12cm on lake Siemianowka won't be thick enough. Especially if you see weatherforecast with cold and snow together. Snow will bring some isolation and will avoid the growing of the ice.

Anyhow, I have been following (in secret) the last days Lipno. Before I started from Vienna I got information that ice there is too bad and unsafe. But after having seen that there has been every night about -6°C to -9°C I asked Sebastian Obermaier and Friedl Liese to go there and to check the ice. (Thanks for doing that so fast !)

After having got some informations I decided to leave Helsinki and to go with Superfast to Rostock. I plan to be on Lipno on Thursday morning and I hope that I can make a final decision on Thursday noon - early afternoon.

The decision will be (from the point of view now !) Sandviken (Sweden) or Lipno (Czech Republic).