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.

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