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.