Mittwoch, Januar 30, 2008

Water, water but not everywhere....

Having been quiet over the last weeks, no weekend reports means that there has not been any DN sailing for me. The main reason is the warm weather. January here in the north of Germany had an average of 7°C. Much too warm to freeze over the lakes and way too cold to go out in the Moth.

I do not remember such a bad January of iceboat activities. In former years I had always been driven to Sweden, one year for two to three weekends to Hungary and in another year to the Czech Republic where we had been invited to race and when the conditions at home were not any good. And it had always been a pleasure to go, to be on the move. Something must hold me back which I have not yet deeply analysed. The prospects for this weekend are also not looking good, though my DN friends and I are programmed to go somewhere. 3 man in a Van.

Anyway the weekends at home gave me lot´s of opportunity to check my gear. Runner alignment is all important and I have not done this for 3 years. Now everything looked a bit worn and rightly I spend some time in the workshop. One thing is for sure: The world championship 2008 will happen in Europe. In the middle of February it is supposed to be sailed in Poland. If not possible in Sweden or Estonia. Our Estonian friends have not been sailing this season for lack of ice. The Polish iceboaters have been out every weekend since Christmas, only now the ice is fading a bit and this upcoming weekend they will sail their national DN Championship right at the Russian border, deep in Poland. (way too far for me for a weekend trip) The Swedish friends are a bit laid back. The weekend fleets decreased from about 60 to 16 boats on the starting line lately. They have to travel far north at present.

The two pictures attached are telling a little story. The first one with the bit of ice on the reed had been taken in the first week of January. It gave us hope! The picture below is from the same vantage point taken last weekend. Most of the water is gone. A heavy storm from the south-west blew out the water from the Schlei Fjord. Amazing. I had not seen this before though I live here since ten years. I was not able to read at the monitoring station due to dirt but I guess it had been 2,5m lower than normal. It was possible to walk to the birds island.

The Devil´s Playground?
Before I forget, our American iceboat friends: are thinking about a crazy event with DN iceboats. Look at: I do not want to discuss this in depth as it is mainly against my philosophy about this sport. We do not want spectators as it is dangerous for them. We do not need to party on the ice as we can and we are doing it afterwards. You cannot predict the place nor the conditions for such an ambitious project due to the weather. It ain´t no beach volleyball. But maybe I am getting old.

Freitag, Januar 04, 2008

Time is flying

Back in the office again since 2nd of January I barely find the time to reflect on the Christmas holiday which brought some excellent iceboating with it. But let´s start from the beginning.

The questions to any avid DN iceboater here in Germany for the X-mas holidays is always: To move North or South. Very seldom we have frozen lakes around in Germany but the winter has arrived in the North, in Sweden, Norway and Finland and funny enough, in the South, in Austria and Italy. Yes, the north of Italy of course. To collect weather information is your first goal Than messaging with friends. This year, our friends Anja and Holger had already travelled at Dec 21st and were already sailing in Sweden, north of Stockholm. I checked weather at Dec., 23rd and after the last day of work in 2007 reflected about the possibilities and necessities. This happened around 22.00h in the bathtub. I was tired of the grey sky and short daylight, which in Sweden lasts only 6 hours at this time of the year. The decision was easy this year for Lake Rescia in Italy. The big reservoir was frozen all over and there had been no snow reports for the next couple days.

Packing up the Van on 24th, doing the family commitments in the evening and on the 25th (the duck was excellent, thanks Carmen!) we moved on in the evening and arrived at the destination around noon on the 26th. What a sight! There was black ice and wind and the sun was out above the mountains.

This had been the settings for the next 5 days. OK, there was only light wind on 2 days but the other days we had about 5-8 m/sec. Very little snow on the last two days on the ice. Everyday we did lot´s and lot´s of practise races on a long course. I tried to figure out which of my masts are going well this year. We did sail the Bavarian Championship and I was happy to hand over the price to my friend the "Candyman" who now has the burden to bring it (a very big and heavy Harken block) to the ice everytime we are sailing, otherwise he has to pay a round. I came fourth in this regatta. Not a brilliant result but seeing it in the light of "no preparations" before leaving, it was OK for me. I will start working on my gear now and hope to find more speed in the upcoming season.

Anybody who wants to read my race report in German language, please go to: and look in the menu under DN Yacht.

Agenda to the photos:
1st one shows the Lake on our arrival from the village down.
2nd one shows the early morning view from the Van on the last day.
3rd one shows part of the startline set up.