Montag, November 16, 2009

A few days on the Moth

PRO-Vela in Murcia, Spain. A great place. Boats in pristine conditions. Very nice people. You better hurry up and find out yourself. The only drawback had been a nasty cold which stayed with me all week long. Nevertheless the sailing was great and I am planning to come back. To find out more just take the Internet address from the boat or sail on which I am flying on (look Ma!) Click the photo to enlarge it.

Mittwoch, Oktober 21, 2009

Group Writing Project: "Less is more"

What a coincident. On Sunday night I thought about the positives sides of having only few competitors in a regatta. On Monday I read about Tillermans latest group writing project theme, which was matching with my thoughts. Here it goes:

Less is more struck me this past weekend. No, not less strings on a Moth, not that. I did organize a Moth regatta on my homewaters and at first there were 8 participants who committed to take part. One could say this is less than the regular Laser frost biting fleet but it came even better. At the end only 4 sailors attended. We had sailed 5 great races and what was the positive side of the event: Only 4 participants plus the race committee, the wife, the baby and a dog and all having a nice evening together with various themes to discuss, new friendships being born and all in all a good atmosphere. You do not have this with "more than less" participants.

At least thats what I found out over the years in sailing. With too many people everybody is going their own way. Nobody cares about you trying to organize something, other than if it is free beer or free food or pole dancers, paid by a generous sponsor.

PS: Only for my windsurf & sailing buddies and KAFC friends:
Das Tillermeister Projekt hat mich auf den Gedanken gebracht, unsere Vergangenheit ein bißchen auf Vordermann zu bringen. Mit einem Gruppen-Schreib-Projekt. Ich würde es gerne beginnen mit einem kleinen Artikel mit folgender Überschrift: "Der Tag, als Eugen Dunkerbeck uns bat, seinen Steppke, Björn, von Pozo aus sicher nach Hause zu bringen". Das macht vielleicht mehr Sinn, als im Winter diese unglaublich umfangreichen und amüsanten Rundschreiben abzutippen... See you at the hanseboot!

Sonntag, Oktober 18, 2009

A Moth Weekend on the Schlei

Mid October in the North of Germany. Could be nice and warm or daring cold. We had planned a last weekend of racing before mothballing our boats. The week before the regatta date a High from Norway brought the first minus Celcius temperatures. Very chilly. The good thing with the wind from the North had been the high water in the Schlei Fjord, which lasted here a couple days. Very high, nearly 1,50m above normal and beautiful to look at. Friday morning it was pretty cold and I had put a big question mark into my diary. But there had been some pressure to go for it. We should be able to withstand a bit of cold. Maybe the sun would come out on Saturday. Hotels, the restaurant and most important the race committee, Michael and Johan from the HSVS, all had been booked and organized. Sven and Sören already in the starting blocks. No way back.

Sven (photo) arrived Friday evening and the rest of the Mothies on Saturday morning. Hans was a bit late and after we all helped him to rig his boat, we were able to hit the first race at 12.30h. The wind from the North was gusty, usually in the 4-5 Bft range with some gusts going for a six. We, the racers had no time to measure it, but Johan told us these facts at the price giving. The rigging area had been in the wind shadow and it was not only me who underestimated the wind and waves out on the race course around the corner. We sailed a test race, only one round which at the end counted for the total score as per decision from the race committee. For Hans and myself it was a DNF, we were fighting with the elements and not with our fellow competitors. Tough.

I had the great idea to start on port tack (even behind the fleet) because this would lead me to a one tack only and should give me a little advantage over the other competitors. Tacking in the waves was not easy. But I messed it up a minute before the start going into a jibe to position myself and I capzised and did not manage to come back within the last minute. It took a couple of minutes instead. Autsch. It seemed that I did not recover from this bad mistake over the next races. All my starts afterwards were bad ones except the last one when I was first and fast across the line. Holding a good lane and when Sören tried to pass from behind on my windward side, I took a little bite and Sören sank in with his foils and had to tack away. I wasn´ t really fast because before the third race I had lost my rudder foil. Sven picked it up and saved it. Thank you. But I had to sail back to the shore to attach my spare rudder. Missed one race and realized that the spare rudder did not have enough AOA, thus not allowing me to fly high enough to avoid the waves under the body or tramp on the windward side. Anyway, back to this last race. I looked good on the left side, The wind had dropped on the right side first, Sören was fighting to foil and Sven was hit by a shift on the head which should catch Sören a bit later as well. Than the wind backed for me, Sven passed me, just before reaching the mark but Sören was still behind. Hans had sailed home already due to being daring cold (and a hole in his drysuit). Happy to be on foils around the mark I kept going after the mark on starboard tack without thinking about the windshift. Jibing (oh, so bad!) after a few hundred metres, I saw that Sören had jibed straight after the mark and had nearly passed me, going low. I was now going high and fast. Scaringly fast and I went into the drink before the mark.

Sören (photo) passed, I had trouble to upright the boat. I was getting cold and had a lack of energy from the exhausting day. The next beat I did not sail at my best anymore. I zig-zagged a lot on the next downwind, wanted to be lapped by Sven to be able to sail home with the last bit of energy. Sven was not sailing at his best either. It took a long while until he lapped me. Grand Prix finishes in the Moth class do allow to finish after being lapped. A bit harder for the race committee to score but it keeps waiting times short. Sven´s boat had a problem which we later saw. The rigging was slack. He nursed it around the course, he did not want to give in though he was already the winner of the regatta. What a great sportsman he is. 20 years in the Moth and if you call a good regatta, he is there. We had a great get-together with hot drinks and beverage after the race. Well prepared by Kerstin. Again a big thank you. Well appreciated.

The next day started with white car roofs, frozen windows and boat covers, but the sun was out. Blue sky but no wind at all. We decided at around 11 o´clock to call it a day and did the price giving and usual speeches. The top four competitors (truly international with competitors from Germany and Denmark) went away with shirts or carbon cloth and epoxy adhesive from, the sponsor of this event. Everyone wants to come back to sail on the Schleifjord for another regatta. This Moth blog now hopefully rolls into a DN ice sailing blog. Winter is coming soon.
Photo credit: Michael von Forstner

Montag, Oktober 12, 2009

Moth Regatta "Hoch im Norden" coming soon

Boatshow season and wintertime is around the corner. The first nights with a minus in front of the celcius temperatur are supposed to happen over the next 2 nights here in the North of Germany. After that it is getting warmer. Before going to mothball our Moths we are going to have a regatta on my hometurf. We will get some help from our small Sailing Club and I do hope for some more attendees other than the usual suspects. I had given the turf another good look the other day. Sailing from West to East and from North to South. We will be able to lay a good course. Not many rescue boats on hand but one from the DGZRs (German Cost Guard) is stationed here in Schleswig and the next shore is never far for those lazy maintained boats with major break downs. The Danes are coming as well as the German top Foilerman, Sven. My money would be on Burkh, if he has got his Mach 2 by now and had the time to put in some hours of practising with the new boat ...errg, the well developed boat, coming in directly from the World Championship two months ago. A clever purchase one must say.

Anyway before speculating too much into our event, let´s speculate about the weather. Nice and sunny and wind around 14kn for the Saturday. On Sunday a little foggy (only onshore of course) with the wind around the 10kn mark. Good foiling conditions. Hope to see you on my home turf at OCt. 17th and 18th. Send me a mail if you want to know the address of the HSVS in Schleswig and how to get your boat on to the Netzetrockenplatz, from where we will launch. See ya!

Freitag, Oktober 02, 2009

More Racing in September

The last weekend in September we are always racing for the Blue Ribbon on our homewater. I had a quick thought about taking the Moth but with K. and Rod keen to sail on the Bull it was easy to make the right choice. K. kind of begged us to helm the boat and Rod and I agreed. She placed the boat very well on the starting line but it was me who had not put the sheet on the clew of the gennaker thus messing up the start. The two Melges 24 and the J-100, as well as a Banner Sports were up and away. When we actually got the breeze into our 60 msq gennaker we started the hunt. We were able to grind down the Banner but could not pass the the J -100 sailed by our local hero and sailmaker Ger. The Schlei Fjord is meandering through the country side and at the first real corner the crew decided against K. that we should try and carry the g-sail. We were right on the heels of the J who carried a large top spinnaker. We both got hit by a strong gust, which also headed us. Scrambling down the big headsails, both boats struggled. They did better as we did, rounding up one time during the maneuver. We lost more ground through the narrow pass, maybe because of the shorter rig and some inability to handle to "sailing low for better vmg" with the g-sail but the Melges in front were flying through. Nothing spectacular happened on the run, we caught up a bit on the X-34 which before had passed us in the narrow and a H-Jolle (national dinghy like an FD) also passed us. Upwind we lost some ground on the Comfortina 39 and the H-Jolle who both had a battle of titans. Always crossing tacks. The little dinghy taking their right of way and trying to throw their bad air into the towering C-39 rig.

Two thirds up the beat the J-100 grounded badly and we passed them. After that, both the Melges grounded but could free themselves within minutes ("Rattie" did not strap the keel down and therefore freed themselves quicker when the keel came up a little bit) It did not help us as we got caught a couple times on the wrong side of the shifts. I could not help but my mood was a bit down and I could not get us out there. I tangled the sheet once around my ankle, could not execute a good tack and one time I grabbed the spinnaker sheet instead of the jib and messed up another important tack. This shit happens when you put a "natural born helmsman" on the foredeck. Our finish was not too bad though. Sixth on corrected time with a Yardstick of 96 and sixth over the line. There is room for improvement. Number one: Clean the hull before such an "important" race, than the boat would be more slippery and the mood would be better. We hauled the boat after the regatta to put it away and there were some barnacles. My bad.

On Sunday we sailed our annual Laser Championship. I sailed again with Laser 84084 and somehow I asked myself sometimes during the regatta: "Where is Tillerman when you need him most". OK, you can see that this leads to a story with a result which could have been improved but that is another story. Maybe after I get some pictures from this event. The pictures above are showing our Bull with the blue g-sail. Shot at the Blue Ribbon. First photo courtesy to Achim. Thank you. Also Courtesy to Elke Kiupel who did hundreds of good shots from the regatta. Thanks Elke.

Dienstag, September 22, 2009

Pictures are worth a thousand words

Great sailing at Goldberger See. And what a nice video on youTube: Goldberg Cup. Me thinks that this was the last summer weekend with 25°C and a nice breeze. Excellent foiling conditions in the first two races and marginal foiling, but nevertheless fun to fight the IC`s in the third race. Very sunny on the Sunday and no sailing. Video: Courtesy, Henrik Rath

Freitag, September 18, 2009

Caption Contest...

The above headline is borrowed from SA, whom I like to thank for the idea. Another thanks to Simon Payne who directed me as well as other readers of his excellent blog to an entry from "a" Simon Propper, who wrote about putting the "mojo back into Mothing" at: (does not open as per this morning).

Anyway coming back from that "not so nice" experience at the Moth German Championship with more swimming and less speed foiling than expected, the boat broken and the ego bruised, I was greeted by my little one and of course as a father coming home I immediately had to do my duties of taking care to give the best of all wives a bit of free time. Now I am not the guy crawling on the floor and speaking terrible bababa sentences, I took her, placed her on the tramp of my Moth and started to pull the broken parts apart. When I looked at my daughter I realized that she had some fun. I took the mobile camera and at the next day I realized after running the 4 pictures one after the other that she had a great story to tell. That she was in the middle of a race, going for the downwind mark where she was fighting for room.

1. Looking back for an overlap and adjusting her course.

2. Looking upfront and hey, there is this guy trying to squeeze in. No way.

3. Adjusting course, bearing away hard to avoid a collision

4. Stay out, told you so!"

This little story brought back the mojo into my Moth sailing and I am sure I will enjoy the upcoming weekend where K. and I go sailing with two dinghies, the Moth and she goes on her much loved Seggerling (after two years of absence) at Goldberger See. There will not be much wind (due to windfinder) but the idea is to meet DN friends in soft water mode and to bring whatever boat you might get hold of. We will see who brings what this year. The event takes place for the sixth time and it is mostly a self organized regatta. Of course with the help from Dietmar, owner of the camping site.

Donnerstag, September 17, 2009


Being a bit unable to cope with updates I thought the quickest thing to do is to put a new picture into my "....days of sailing". Searched for fifty six + sailing and look what came up. I do not know how one should come to the conclusion of fifty six through this picture. Google must know something about "sailing on the Cogh" (wherever that is) and how to find the 56 boats or trees or such. Anyway, I thought this is a nice one and the explanation helps. The foto on the left only shows 2 boats. The Bull and the A-Cat on their way to the startline. I should receive more pictures with a lot of spray later.

What happened between the last blog entry and now. Six more racing days are laying behind me. And the best to come. September being a busy month and the newly found sailracing Team did some great jobs sailing the Bull. The last two Wednesday night races we were able to do horizon jobs on the competition. Rod S. my crew who had sailed 12 foot dinghies at home in NZ and came to Germany for some I14 regattas and stayed since than in Germany (you guessed it, the women) likes to be on a boat built at his motherland, likes the ideas which Greg Young had put into the boat some 14 years ago and is an expert gennaker-man. Though the deep running in the light wind, with the pole squared, needs some optimisation. Also more assistance from my other crew, Lea. A young girl from the locals sailing clubs youth squad. Communication on the boat is kiwi-english, like e.g." ged_de_koit_up". Gotit? Hoist the gennaker sounds more familiar.

Day fiftyone and fiftytwo had been the much awaited Moth German Championship. But the sailing did not match my expectations., so to speak. It seemed that most everyone got a jump on me, sailing again faster, higher, downwind lower with perfect jibes. I was stuck in middle field or back after getting totally exhausted in the shifty and strong wind conditions. The boat did not fly easy on the Saturday and I was as unhappy, about my own abilities and understanding of the mechanics to make it working and flying high, as can be. Also in the first race I did sail the wrong course. Bloody me. On the Sunday the race course had been moved down the Kiel City Fjord into an area with more stable wind direction and strength. A long way to the race area allowed me to play with settings and at the end I got it about right. Arrived just 5 minutes to the start. Got flying, had a good upwind leg, second at the mark behind Leo and we reached to the most outer mark, which appeared to be the wrong one. NO, not again. My jibing definitely not on top of the game let me fall back behind the top 6 boats. Upwind I had good battles with Hans from Holland but the other guys whom I thought I could match were way ahead. After the first race my mast got stuck and destroyed the mast stump. A self inflicted problem due to bad preparation. I had to hit the shore. Two other Mothies joined me later. Both had broken gear due to contact with other boats. Fremdverschulden. Not their own fault. Everything is repaired by now and I look forward to this weekends Moth racing on the Lake Goldberg.

The other days had been spend sailing local races with the Bull and the crew as mentioned above. Great fun for everyone. The last weekend it had been very windy. 1. Reef and still overpowered but blasting down the runs and reaches. There had been abt. 40 competitors and we tried to be fastest boat around the course but with an A-Cat and a Fanatic Raceboard in the fleet it was not possible. On calculated time (Yardstick) we finished 3rd. First had been a H-35 (Design Hans Groop) and second an H-Boat from the same Designer. These boats with their long waterlines are being sailed very well here and have enough competition to work themselves up due to the OD mode of their respective fleets.

This year I was only participating in the Wednesday night races in September. We did the last three "beer cans" starting with a second and putting in two firsts. Yesterday evening it went like clockwork and after rounding the weather mark in second position behind an H-Boat, we never looked back and did a horizon job on the fleet. Sailing into the September sunset was an extra bonus. A pity that the days are already getting shorter. There will be more racing in the Bull after the next Moth weekend. The Blue ribbon race starts on September 27th and on the Sunday after we have our Laser City Championship. Must get organized with the Laser 84084 which is owned by an old gentleman from the club. Father of the ever winning H-35 champion Roger. The only guy who could ever beat him was his father. More to come soon.

Freitag, September 04, 2009

Fifty days and more to come...

Yeah, I managed fifty days of sailing despite the trouble which life sometimes throws at you. The weekend before last we had a great Moth regatta at Kuehlungsborn at the Baltic Sea. Very near were Mr. George Bush kissed our Chancelorette, Angela Merkel at a G8 meeting. I mean, I do not want to go political here. Enuf said. The regatta was suffereing a bit under the light wind. We had marginal foiling conditions in the first race and after that only small bubbles of enough wind to get up and going for a minute or so. It paid when one was looking out for the breeze and going into the right direction. I managed this sometimes and at the end was able to score a second overall like in the light wind regatta at Bad Zwischenahn before. A pity that not more Moth sailors, other than the usual five were attending. Thanks again to Alex from Dubai who managed to spend the summer in Germany and to sail two series with us. Hope you get your boat repaired and organized before your season in Dubai starts. Young Alex has style but sometimes a lack of direction. He is not short of enthusiasm for the Moth as myself and next time we will meet, I am sure he will beat me. I figured out that I am abt. 3,6 times older. Something which will pay in the long term for the young guy. Anyway, last Wednesday I took the Bull out for the Wednesday-night-race. And night it was, when we arrived back at the club. A drifter. Barely managing 3.9kn. The boat felt so slow that I thought it must have grown a beard. Leaning over the side it did not feel like there was something. And the speed compared to the other boats had been good. The Kiwi, Rod Simpson, pulling the strings, managed to fly the gennaker even in the lightest of air and we came second behind the X-34. Actually the X-34 was in sight but we did a horizon job on the fleet. (Also on the X-332 which nearly rolled us as you can see in the picture). The results (Yardstick) are not out yet. I guess it will be first or second, but with only one race sofar this season we will end up last overall.

Coming weekend we will have a great Moth regatta in Kiel. Kind á German Championship. The fleet, which had 2 years ago been about thirty boats has shrinked to 15 participants this year. My guess is that only the Foilers will attend in the races. Promising are the many orders for new Foilers which for example Felix (Assasin) and Christian (Bladerider) have in their books. And their might be a third one going for the Mach 2. Rumors are there, but I will not spread it before the news being put out officially. There will be a good breeze on Saturday and I promised myself to hang the butt out hard over the carbon tube (stole that from Bora). At least the first two races before the muscles get sore.

Montag, August 10, 2009

First results from Cascade Locks

The first race has been finished. Follow the action here on the events twitter page: Twitter

Less Moth blogging, more Moth sailing

Two days of practicing with the Moth against my friends in their Fourteen (14)last week might have helped me to nail a second at our Moth weekend regatta in Bad Zwischenahn past weekend. The practice on the Schlei provided me with marginal foiling conditions on the first day and with conditions, which saw both of us being overpowered in the strong easterly gusts. On the first day the Fourteen had a clear upperhand on me when I sank into non-foiling mode. The speed dramatically going down to 3-4kn (I used the Velocitek on both days) and the two boys were still able to hang low on their trapezes and to glide away from me upwind. (see photo) I had "learned" at our training session in Horsens with the Danish friends, that the boat (s) behind should take a shortcut and not go round the mark. This brings the boats back together and the energy and fighting spirit rises immediately instead of dropping when much behind after the mark rounding. This was not build in my mind and at first a bit difficult to adapt. As a racing sailor I am so used to go around the marks that a short cut is a no-go at all means. Flying downwind it was´nt too bad on the Moth whilst foiling but during the maneuvers the Fourtenn gained. Must say: Jan and Sönke sailed like experts. Always on the better side of the course. Gybing on the gusts and beating me regularly. They will be a team to be recognized in their class regattas. A pity that Jan is so busy, working as a sailmaker that he cannot manage to make his own new mainsail for his boat.

Thursday was a different day out on the water. Whitecaps all over the place. Starting with 4 Bft, later 5 Bft gusting a bit higher. Time to pull out the stops on my Moth. And so I did. I could beat them big time upwind, though their speed showed an impressive 12 -12.5kn and same height as myself. My speed clocked upwind between 13.5 and 14.2kn, of course also showing some lower speeds. The weather mark (cardinal mark) which we choose had been in a difficult spot. Traffic and shallow water close by. I did not want to ruin my foils, therefore mostly approached the weather mark in low riding, pointing high mode. Thus we did round this mark not far apart most of the times. Downwind I had a speed burst of course when pulling hard on the rudder and bearing away but once the 14 had set their gennaker they were often able to go lower with the same speed. Thus the results depended on the gusts. Who jibed first and who handled the jibe best. The 14 went into the brink one time, I stuck the mast into the mud once, doing a hectic leeward mark rounding. But it had been the best evening sailing this year. Smiles all over our faces and still smiling when we had a chat about our session the next day at the sailmakers loft. We will do it again for sure.

The regatta in Bad Zwischenahn is not worse much mentioning as all eyes are glued to the Moth worlds. Anyone interested can read about our regatta at Felix Blog entry (english). For the folks who are interested in the Moth Worlds, there are some useful links here on the right side. Read Scott´s blog, Rohan´s or Simon Payne´s or go to the official site. All just a mouseclick away as they say. Sailing Anarchy in their Dinghy Forum section also puts up all the latest info and has some interesting discussions running. Next racing here for the North German Moth fleet (maybe some Danes are also coming???) will be in a fortnight (22/23.8.) in Kühlungsborn Anmeldeformular on the Baltic Sea.

Sonntag, August 02, 2009

Wish I had more time (like most everyone else...)

Though sailing does not have high priority in these stressful days, I was able to do some Mothing and a week of cruising with my family and the little Bull7000. This brought my sailing days counter up from 33 to 44 days within one and a half month. In my head, during this time, there were a few posts taking shape but at the end other things became more important. Thus, before rambling about the OCS and DNF point system at an international regatta, I thought that I have to have a deeper look into the current ISAF rules and subsequent SI´s from the event organizers. The funny thing is the head game. Driving to a regatta e.g. there are always a couple of headlines coming into my mind. Difficult to stop them when you are cruising along on the motorway, cruise control set and just looking ahead to a sailing event. Same on the way home. Even when it was frustrating like in the Moth EC in Horsens, DK, with too much wind and waves to handle for me. OK, I did sail two days but was only able to put in one result. In hindsight, I should have been able to let myself get lapped two times and then sail through the finish but those are thoughts which only come in hindsight. Once you are out there, mental and physical strength "broken" from tumbling with the boat on the downwind and unable to sail (fly) for longer than a few hundred meters, all I wanted to do, was to bring the boat save home without major damage. And that is what I did. Only more practice and a better fitness regime can help me to better my results in those conditions.

After the Moths EC we decided to cruise with our little one on the Schlei Fjord and that was a very nice experience. So close with the family on this 7,50m boat, going to nice, cozy places with the ability to lift the keel, we certainly will do more... when there is no racing in the way. I should mention here that we even did 3 days of sailing with the jib alone. Downwind of course. There is so much more to see when only going 4-5kn instead of the fast and often two digit 3 sail runs we would normally do with our sportsboat.

On the last July weekend I had committed myself to go to Horsens, DK again, to practice with Søren and friends with our Moths. This time the wind was offshore with less waves, still white caps but nice sailable conditions. Only the water felt much colder than 3 weeks before and I had do give in after 3 hours because I was freezing and feeling uncomfortable. On Sunday morning Sven did some dry training for the foiling jibe with me, more or less asking, how I am approaching the maneuver and one of my biggest mistakes during the jibe had been discovered. Thanks to Sven there is an improvement now and I only hope for more practice time. The past weekend had light wind and only some foiling time on Saturday. Having learned much about the set-up´s and subsequently having done some work on my foils the boat flew early and high. If it was fast and high only the next racing with tell. Therefore I do hope for some wind on the coming weekend at Zwahn. And of course competition. Do not let me sail alone with Sven. He will take revanche for last years regatta, I am sure. Oh, and I am trying to read those blogs about the Moth Worlds at Hood River, Cascade Locks, USA taking place in 8 days. This will be one exciting event with all those ex-Olympian sailors, with the much trained Swiss squad as well as Rohan Veal and Aussie friends coming to the event and some people who think they may have a technology advantage. Many Moth links on my page here. Stay tuned.

Montag, Juni 29, 2009

Battered and Bruised...

The Moth racing in Denmark had finished last Saturday with a four race day which only saw me finishing one race and starting the second one, but not finishing. It had been a tough week for this competitor and though I tried to give my all, I ended up with mostly "Alphabets" but not numbers.(DNC by the way does not mean that you have not started ((DNF)) these days) It has not been the strong wind which teared me down, it had been the waves and my inexperience in such conditions, as well as the frugal stage of the body condition. Maybe I will write a more personnel note about the event later. The following report has been written on request for an online sailing publication. Here it goes and I did have avoided to write about any of the new Moth brands which are trying to conquer the world.

The Moth World has changed
Horsens, Denmark had been the venue for the European Moth Championship held between 24th and 28th of June. The week had been dominated by strong easterly winds which never dropped below 15kn/h usually blowing in the higher wind range, gusting up to 25kn on the race course and even more. As the local Horsens Sejlklub had been the organisers for Euro and World Championships for the Moth Class before, they were prepared with all the necessities required by such a sportive and challenging class like the Moth. This year the event saw only Foiler Moths racing and it had been very exciting to see around 40 Moths flying across the startline nearly at once and going uphill in a battle for height and speed. Not all competitors managed the very challenging downwind leg (3 laps around) in the steep waves and only abt. 20 - 26 boats finished the races. But the once surviving, finished most of the races in style. Flying very high, going dramatically fast with a downwind speed clocked at more than 25kn, recorded for over 10 sec. The early races had been dominated by no lesser than the Brit, Simon Payne, a former Champion in the class. He came well prepared and looked unbeatable through the first races. We had witnessed the second race of the first day with a timer and found Arnaud Psarofaghis from Switzerland leading at the weather mark with 10sec which were wiped out to a 17sec lead by Payne at the downwind mark. The racing was tense between these two competitors and it must have been the last day where the race committee opted for four races on the day instead of the three which were written in the sailing instructions. This would allow two drop outs for the competitors. Arnaud Psarofaghis was already able to drop his 43 points from the first race when he did not finish and thus both competitors where on equal points going into the last day. Though everyone had his own fight within the strong competiton and the tough conditions on the Horsens Fjord, all eyes were on the two competitors fighting for the 2009 title. Arnaud P. started the day with a first which Simon Payne answered with two firsts in the next two races. The finish in the third race was reported to be 1 feet apart. The fourth and most tiring race of the day should be the decider and all eyes of many of the shorebound competitors were glued on this epic battle. Everyone hoped for the Master sailor Simon Payne, who did not have the luxury all week of a fully equipped service team like the Swiss brought to Denmark but at the end of the battle, it was the young Swiss sailor Arnaud Psarofaghis who had the nose in front and won the 2009 European Championship. The newcomer from the Netherlands, Eelco Boers came third with 3 more Brits filling up the ranks.

It was visible during the week that the Moth class is attracting many top sailors from other classes and that the days of the DIY low rider Moths are gone. At least when it comes to European Championships held in open water. During the price giving ceremony the competitors were full of praise for the Horsens Sejlklub organisers and their race committee which was well prepared not only ashore but also for rescuing many of the fragile Moths which were not able to limp home alone after some damage, mostly caused by user errors due to over exhausted riders. Full result list to be found under:

PS: A very good day by day report you can find on Eelco´s blog:
PPS: The picture shows Simon (in the foreground) and Arnaud after the second day of racing on the Horsens SK´s slipway. As usual you can extend it by clicking on it.

Mittwoch, Juni 24, 2009

Moth Euro - Practise Race Opening Ceremony

Horsens, DK welcomed abt 40 Moth sailors with beautiful sunshine and a seebreeze for the practice race. 3 laps around. Up-and down. The Swiss brothers are bloody fast as is Simon Payne. Things have moved on in the Moth class ans the top guys are not only flying very high but they are also fast. Faster than even the fastest German had expected. I am meeting most of the friendly bunch for the first time and got the feeling that many sailors are taking the Moth sailing quite serious. Most people went to bed at around 22.20h. The foto shows part of the "Pit" (Fahrerlager) here in Horsens. Everyone is excited about the first races to happen tomorrow. Catch up with you later.

Mittwoch, Juni 17, 2009

Low Water and some Damage

On Wednesday my Sportsboat Crew Jan and I decided again that we will not take the Bull out. Instead, Jan will do some work at his job in the sailmaker loft and I decided to take the Moth out for more training. It was windy, abt. 17-20kn on my anemometer and chilly but I had to go. Had to try the small changes and maintenance work which I had done to the boat recently. But I seemed to start the "day" on the wrong foot. We had very low water, see the photo of my usual boat launch. I walked the boat far out but maybe not far enough or there is another bank behind the deeper water, where I righted the Moth. I touched the ground, jumped off the boat, pushed it out on it´s side some more and climbed on to the site again for another go. Time was slipping by and the mixed keel boat fleet had already started. This time with a 29er as the only dinghy in the fleet. I thought to have fun sailing against them. 2 - 3 capsizes on my way out in the strong gusts and I did not even make the startline. within 5 minutes the fleet had sailed away to windward. When I had passed the last boat, which was already on the downwind leg, I pulled the tiller for a bear-away and blasted downwind. Fast and a bit out of control. The 29er was already far ahead but did not manage deep angles. I thought that with the long downwind leg I might be in for a chance to catch them. Coming close to the narrow channel, I realized that I would have struggled in the middle of the fleet. All the wind shadows of the bigger boats, pointing straight downwind without foiling was no option for me. I turned around and sailed some shorter up-and downwind. Looking out for the 29er to come back for the last bit of windward leg to see how we would match together. Always good to have a benchmark. Just when I was setting up to meet them I was pushed over by a heavy gust and when climbing the centerboard I recognized that the centerboard foil held on at a 70° angle instead of the 90°, which it should. I unclipped the ball crank and limped home. Getting the boat out of the water, I realized that the rudderfoil had broken in the top. Middle of the left side. As it is hollow, it was possible to shockbend it upwards to abt 40°. Arrgh, and did I report that I had broken off the last 20cm of the tiller extension? And lost it out there? Not a good day indeed. And so close already to the EURO in Denmark.

Next outing came on Sunday with my spare foils, using all small parts including screws from the "broken ones" as somehow my spareparts toolbox got lost, the ride was not really as it should be. Sitting far back was the only way to sail the boat. I took it out to the wider waters of the Schlei to avoid hidden banks. Than the boomvang broke. A metal part was flying through the boat. Good luck, as it had only been the shackle fitted to the permanent "padeye" on the bulkhead. But the shackle had broken, not loosened. Back to the workshop again. Today we have repaired the old foils (carbonized and epoxied) and the vang shall work with a loop shackle. I could go sailing again and have already been asked to take up the A-Cat as a competitor. Trouble is, I have tickets for "Simple Minds", who are having a gig in Hamburg. Open Air. I am sure they will also present some of my favorite songs like "Belfast Child", "Mandela Day", "Dont you", besides their new album which I must say, I have not heart any of the songs yet.

Dienstag, Juni 09, 2009

Will I be last in the upcoming Moth EC?

it is a rainy day today in Schleswig, Germany and I gathered through the list of the 45 participants for the Moth EURO coming up soon in Horsens DK. see also: Moth Euro Entry List. Going through this list of famous, fast and furious competitors my mind is wandering to the slower end of participants, making up a list of the "not so fast" sailors. In stark contrast to Scott B´s list about "would be" World Championship results. He starts from the top and is also able through personnel knowledge of competitors and by reading their websites, to analyze the results. I do mostly know the sailors via reports, their websites or because they have past me in nano seconds during Kiel Week last year. Some had lapped me. I was fighting for speed and height and tacking and jibing without capsizing. Some things have changed a bit. I felt comfortable on the boat with speed until last Sunday, when the bloody centerboard rod broke. I am installing a new one of course but my spare parts box got lost and some of the tiny little things, which make the difference do not fit well at present. I have a gap! At the bottom of the centerboard when in high speed mode. And the weather is not cooperating to give it a try and trying for adjustments when necessary.

Anyway the theme here is a list of finishers from the bottom up. There are a small bunch of guys whom I think I can beat. So, to become last is no option. I guess Felix will be last due to less time in the boat much time on the plane, than comes Gerold, who lives too far from the water. (sorry guys!) and the fight will be for them with maybe one or two Dutch guys. Depends on the number of break downs. Frederik and Michael might be beatable and if Burkh is not sorting his yellow raptor out, he will end up there too. If he gets good help from Adam, he is up in the top 20 and I will not see him other than on the startline. Hey, this starts to become some fun. Ole might be beatable and than I will have a good fight with Harald and Soeren as usual through our last regattas. Guess we will end up in the mid thirties if all signed competitors are showing up on the startline. What do you guys think? Hope nobody gets offended. This is all for fun and we are all sailing the Moth because we just like it. Looking forward to meet with some new Mothies. Smooth sailing!

Montag, Juni 08, 2009

A bad sailing day

SA called for a report about a bad sailing day. Mine had been on Saturday past weekend: First a nice back roll after the footstraps lashing broke (than swimming after the boat!) and after repairing it ashore and out again, the centerboard push rod broke at the bottom. The wind was very strong (5-6 Bft) and gusty but I think I might have hit something. Now awaiting some spares to arrive. Nothing left in my BR spareparts toolbox. As I had only been out for a couple of runs between repair and another trouble it will not effect my sailing meter. The only good thing had been that I went out late, almost at 19.30h and it felt totally OK, though there had only been one lonesome windsurfer on the water. And Yes, I wanted to do a speed test against him but the back loop did not allow me to catch up with him. After finishing my repair and being out again he had left. The sailor on the photo is me on the lake Stienitzsee in Berlin. Very tricky this lake, surrounded by hills or woods. Felix will not find much difference to his usual water reservoir sailing.

Donnerstag, Juni 04, 2009

First Ship Home

After fighting some back pain during the last days it was a relief to be out sailing past weekend with the little Bull. K. and I had put a reef in, the small jib hanked on and off we went for a pleasurable sailing afternoon. There were moments when the wind got a bit light for the reef but as this had been our first sunday sail together since we have the little one, I was able to resist. A long beat up the Schlei until we turned the boat around to sail back home with the wind from behind. Shook out the reef, kite up and a couple jibes with the gennaker brought some smiles. We even managed 12kn for a long moment and came right back home for a marvelous asparagus dinner, prepared by the grand parents who had taken care of little E.

Last Monday had been a holiday in Germany (Pfingsten) and what a weather we had. Great summer sunshine and a warm breeze from the north/east. In the afternoon I rigged the Moth and both K. and I had some good rides. It was her first ride again after the initial 3 days two years ago. And yes, it looked good, just one capsize, good airtime, holding a straight course and downwind some course alignment to the gusts. One day she will start racing the Moth, I am sure. Her Seggerling Skiff Dinghy is still up for sale.

Now coming to the headline of this post. Yesterday I started in the Wednesday night race with the Moth together with the "big" boats from a Minitonner to X-79 and up to the fast X-34. A crowded startline and I decided to start behind the fleet which was fighting for slot on the right side. It was very gusty, wind from the north west, which is not the best direction in a narrow water running east/west. The guys on the keelyachts measured abt 5 Bft gusting stronger. I started from behind and besides capsizing two times during bad tacks I managed to round together with the first boat. Me on the outside. Immediately I pulled away whilst the keel yachts were putting up spinnakers and running straight down. All was good until after a few jibes I ended up too far on the north side of the course. Low riding through the narrow pass opposite Fahrdorf did not help my position, some yachts passed me. When the water was again deep enough I put the nose more into the wind, accelerated onto the foils, bearing away and trying to run deeper this time I managed speeds above 20kn most of the time. My Velocitek showed me 21.9 after the race as best 10sec. score. I passed all the boats and the front runner just before the downwind mark. I did not get all the shifts right and at the weather mark we rounded nearly together, me again on the outside. Now a fast reach which took me away from the fleet in no time. Next jibe ended in a good swim but the last downwind was a real blast. I even managed to round the mark on foils easy, put the nose upwind and hiked hard. A long beat home with two or three bad tacks which saw me swimming, but I managed to be first ship home by a couple of minutes. A very good feeling as I was sailing the full course, had to turn at marks and not at the best possible moments, as I normally do in training. This had been my best evening sail so far. A good practice for the EC in Horsens where we already have more than 40 entries and from the participants names mostly really good Mothies. Former champions, etc. I just do not want to become last. The photo, taken with a mobile, is a view from the north shore (no wind) taken on Wednesday. The fleet is just coming together and the little sail in the middle is me. Don´t know where the white dots are coming from. The Bladerider Moth is mostly black.

Dienstag, Mai 26, 2009

Jump of the sailing meter

5 more days of sailing and not much time to report. Therefore just for the records. Day 21 past by uneventful with some good Moth sailing on a Saturday. 4 hours on the water killed all my energy and on Sunday I was exhausted and did not move much, besides driving the Sportsboat down to the marina, rigging it and going for a nice quiet sail together with K. Pure luck that I had forgotten to load up the gennaker, therefore I did not have to fiddle too much with sheets whilst K. was helming. Day 23 had been the Wednesday last week when I took the DIV II board from the depth of my windsurfing gear garage. The long carbon mast to be used for the big sail had been used as a flag pole lately and I had to recover it from the roof. A couple of boats lined up for an unofficial beer can race and I took the chance to see how it goes. Managed to be first on the weather mark and than got passed by everyone on the long downwind when the wind decreased. One strong gust took me by surprise and I was not able to steer the thing straight downwind, instead of reaching 90° away from the mark. The upwind leg was uneventful as I was all alone at the back of the fleet. But it was fun and I do hope that it was not the only day out on the DIV II this year.

Day 24 had been some Moth training in Berlin before the regatta started the next day on the Stienitzsee. Training is a bit over expressing the hour of sailing up and down and trying to foil. There was just not enough wind for me and after I had de-rigged the boat, the wind turned up a couple of knots and some other Mothies had a good evening, getting on foils from gust to gust. Saturday turned out to be a good day on this lake. The sun was out the wind allowed for some good airtime. The usual suspects at the front of the fleet of 10 Mothies. Some breakdowns as usual, this time also a broken finger. I completely spoiled my first race due to not having an idea about the start line and the course laid out. I completely misinterpreted what had been said during the skippers meeting. Some twist in my head? Everyone was long gone before I figured out how to get around this course with the very short upwind leg and the long reaches. Race 2 went better for me and in race 3 I managed to be first boat to weather and able to hold this position a long way down the course until sinking in and Sven passing me on foils. A bad jibe later and I was back in third. This had also been my final result after 5 races. The regatta was finished on the saturday and after a good barbeque we left the Stienitzsee with some good memories. Now a little more training and than see you all back in Horsens, DK at the Moth Europeans. The unofficial entry list with pics and other information assembled by Doug Culnane you can find here:

Donnerstag, April 30, 2009

18 (days of sailing) and some ramblings...

Looking for a picture of the number 18 to replace my "days of sailing in 2009" - a couple of pictures from 18 years old people came up. Yoh, dreamin about being 18 years old and going Mothing. Maybe doing a foiling jibe within the first hour of sailing. Yes, some did. But not this old dude, Still trying but not really hard enough.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the two days of sailing last weekend. Though on Saturday the preparations took longer thatn the actual time on the water. I was lured back to the shore as I was waiting for friends who wanted to pass by on their way home from Hyeres, France, back to Estonia. All on the road. Laser on the roof, RIB on the trailer. That really is a long haul. Nearly Eastcoast to Westcoast in the US, but lot´s more country borders. But with the EU regulations nearly no controls at all. All easy these days.

This upcoming weekend the weather forecast is for good weather on Friday, where we have a national holiday in Germany. Good for sailing and I have heart that abt. 100 IRC/IMS and OD keel boats have entered the MAIOR races in Kiel. A good sign in these tough days.

More about sailing hopefully after the weekend. Have to have a look at a paint repair job on the Bull now...

Montag, April 20, 2009

2 Days of sailing the Moth

Had a short session last week after installing a new tramp and looking for problem areas to overhaul. All in all the Bladerider is in good shape. Sailed the boat on Saturday morning until I had a couple of capsizes, than stopped mothing. I struggled a bit with the standard sail as the top batten is not shifting, no matter how much tension I have on the downhaul. Therefore the boat exhilerated (and foiled) immediately on port tack and did not do well on starboard. Have to play more with batten tension maybe. Saturday afternoon i went mothing again and it was a good session. It lasted 3 hours after which I was totally worn out. No energy left. Not even for another sailing on Sunday. The whole body felt sore. Still I enjoyed it very much and hope to get into better shape slowly. As a first sign of will, I did not take sugar into my tea this morning.

There were already many keel boats out here and the nice sunny weather with wind from the east brought some chilly temperatures. In the afternoon the breeze was building up to a handy 5 Bft which in my opinion is caused by thermal effect. We heart from people who had sailed out on the Baltic sea that they had only seen max 3 Bft. This is a typical spring easterly which will last a couple days. It is only a bit early this year. Normally this high settles in the mid of May and in the afternoons the winds is building sometimes up to 7 Bft here on the Schlei Fjord. This is windsurfers delight. Way too strong for me to take the Moth out. Should maybe undust the slalom gear.

Sonntag, April 05, 2009

Updating the Blog...

Not much happening on the water since mid of February, after I packed it in for the winter season. Due to job commitments I did not go sailing in the Swedish Championship, which had been a well organized regatta as far as I had heart but with conditions on the ice only marginal. Anyway this is past time and we are slowly moving into the soft water season.

The Melges 24 sailors from North Germany had asked me if I would run an early season training on the water for them in Flensburg. I said yes and the date was fixed. Running the RIB, laying the marks and maybe help them to get up to speed had been the goal. There were 7 M24s and 3 SB3 boats participating. We set a short windward/leeward leg and I was playing with the startline to get them to find the right side, the windshifts etc. I thought that they are really able to help themselves with trimming and timing their manouvers. It had been a good, but cold and wet Saturday out on the water and I was happy to get home, soaked wet and cold and taking a hot bath first thing.

From Friday until today I was taking part in a rules seminar held by Dave Dellenbaugh (of Speed and Smarts fame) in Langenargen, Lake Bodensee in the south of Germany. Lake Constanz) It had been three extensive days with hours in the "class room" going through the new rules and it s implications on the race course and having on-the-water sessions on Saturday and today. Debriefing and video analyses in the late afternoon. We were divided early in the seminar into 2 groups sailing as a team on the Bavaria 35 Match from the German-Match-Race-Center. The boats were in outstanding good conditions bearing in mind that the only German Grade 1 Matchrace, as well as other professionell Matchraces being sailed on the same boats. A lot of well known skippers had left their name at the back of one of the hatches on the boat which we had got to use. Anyone interested in the rules seminar or Matchrace training should pay a visit to their site:

Donnerstag, April 02, 2009

America´s Cup. Court Decision

SCUTTLEBUTT EXTRA - Thursday, April 2, 2009 (

Scuttlebutt is published each weekday with the support of its sponsors,
providing a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions, features and
dock talk . . . with a North American focus.
(Apr. 2, 2009) - The New York State Court of Appeals, in the case between
Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) and Societe Nautique De Geneve (SNG), regarding
the validity of Club Nautico Espanol De Vela (CNEV) as the Challenger of
Record, has found in favor of GGYC, reversing the Appellate Division and
reinstating Justice Cahn's orders. In its unanimous opinion, the Court held,

"Since CNEV has failed to show that at the time it submitted its Notice of
Challenge it was a '[c]lub fulfilling all the conditions required by' the Deed
of Gift, it does not qualify as the Challenger of Record for the 33rd
America's Cup competition and Supreme Court was correct in declaring GGYC to
be the valid Challenger of Record. It has been posited that the right to act
as trustee of the America's Cup should be decided on the water and not in a
courtroom. We wholeheartedly agree. It falls now to SNG and GGYC to work
together to maintain this noble sailing tradition as 'a perpetual Challenge
Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries.'"

Court decision:

Montag, Februar 16, 2009

DN Racing Again Near Berlin at February 14/15th

Before I forget and spring break fever takes over, I have a short report about one of the best DN regattas of the short but extensive season. Wait a minute, I have to scramble for the date... Berlin, Lake Wolzig at February 15th and 16th. This is what the official report reads: Ice thickness: 20cm, hard surface, night temperature: -4°C, small snow drizzle 0,1cm, Wind 4 Bft. I had hit the road already Friday night to be fit on the saturday morning as the weather report was promissing. And so it happened. 28 racers arrived by midday and we decided to sail in 2 fleets. One for the more beginners or people with older equipment who did not feel comfortable with all the fast "carbon tuned" DN racers. This is a very good rule found by our friends from the Berlin DN fleet. 16 boats in the A fleet were called to the blocks. I had received block 17, the outer right starting position. A captivating race with position changes in the front. Going from 2nd on the weather mark to third after one round they spit me out at 5th place at the finish. There had been enough speed in the boat, just the shifts on the lake were not in my favour, or better, I did not read them right. Another fifth followed by a first and a third place. The first two spots were already occupied by G-624 and G-890. Close racing with both of them but at the end their nose was in front. Two more races for the day which saw me in 6th place and my friend "Vossi", G-709, found some more speed and stamina. He came 2nd and third now and made some valuable points. In the evening we found a great thermal pool with different saunas and outdoor pool with 28°C water.

Next day same conditions and our friend "Radlhuber", G-8 from Bavaria had his moments. 2, 1, 5 his scores for the three races whilst I scored 5, 5, 4. It was always close, the front 6 stayed together for most of the racing, only on the the last downwind the winner broke free or somebody got a real good shift on one of the windward legs. Holger, G-890 won with a 4th place as his discard. Well done. I finished in fourth positions overall. Not as good as my win the weekend before but than, the competition was a bit stronger. In one of the photos you can see the race committee with some of the racers. The left person, in the picture below, Dirk, showing the "Berliner" (pancakes with the name "Berliner" only outside of Berlin) had taken part in two Olympic games in the windsurfing division. Namely the DIV II boards 1972 and 1976. I was never able to beat him in that windsurfing class but on the ice I still have the nose in front. Dirk came 9th in the "A" fleet.The "B" fleet was won by Dietrich, G-532, an old salt whom I also met in my good old FD days in the early seventies. The "B" fleet showed good stunts on the downwind mark with 360°s and all. No accidents, only some scary moments. Driving home in the late afternoon there was still some winter in the air and I did not think about the end of season. The week after it snowed very heavy and racing had to be cancelled for the weekend 21/22nd of Feb. The Polish Championship held the weekend after was a bit far away for me. No co-driver available.

Last weekend the hardcore DN racers met in Goldberg again only to decide that the racing would have been too dangerous. The ice in general was safe but there were some holes spread over the lake. All bigger in size than our runners. Nobody wanted to destroy the equipment just for some fun races. Now it is maybe up to the Swedish Championship in the middle of March. Waiting for their ice report. I am already on the preliminary starter list. For the record. This report has been written at March 4th but I will date it back to the Monday after the racing. My blogging is supposed to be a diary of events for me.

Donnerstag, Februar 12, 2009

Now, this is the real thing.

Photo: Courtesy US CoastGuard
Today the North American Championship will be started. Wishing all my DN friends, expecially the Team Germany: "smooth sailing, sail safe and fast!". I am in the mood for another weekend of DN racing. Tonight the fleet chiefs will get together on the phone and decide where we shall meet. See you on the Ice!

Montag, Februar 09, 2009

Wet, wet, wet

Another day of DN sailing happened on Sunday on a very wet surface. There had only been 12 sailors plus a few non racing DNér s showing up which could be a sign that people get tired after 5 weekends of sailing. Maybe their equipment is getting worn out, or that their wifes do not allow them to get free from the family every weekend from the beginning of January or that they are in the States to start in the DN Worlds at Torch Lake, Michigan. Anyone with a better excuses, please comment here or mail to me. The sailors from Berlin called for the Wolzig Cup to be sailed only on Sunday, when the weather forecast showed promissing 3-4 Bft. This allowed me to take part Friday evening at a big reception from the German Offshore Owners Assc. (no I did not take part in any offshore racing last year, but I think about it...stay tuned here) There had been a good film session, music session, awards for the 10 most successful German teams plus mentioning the race winners of the Baltic Sprint Cup, 1st. place went to Mr. Mike Castania with his Rogers 46, "DANEBURY" and second place to Mr. David Aisher, also on a Rogers 46, "YEOMAN XXXII". Both took part during this remarkable evening in the impressive Hamburg Rathaus. (House of lords, so to speak) and got some presents from the organising committee.

Anyway, back to the DN Sailing in Berlin. Left home with the van on Saturday evening to be fit and ready next morning. Wanted to unload the boat at 23.00h when I arrived, but the place was closed. High fences. Being the only car in the carpark, I felt a bit strange. "do they really show up tomorrow morning for racing?" I asked myself. I had faith in the Berlin race management and of course, Dieter S. , G-368, greeted me in the morning, being happy that some "foreigners" wanted to take part in the racing. Lot´s of action as one has to carry his equipment a good 100m to the ice. Ready to sail at around 11.00h. Wet and cold feet at around 11.20h after walking through water to collect my starting position number. "Where are my Goretex socks??". First race from block 2. Right side, first inside the middle mark. My testing had showed that the left side was favored. After a good running through the wet I had enough height to bear away and blast across the next boat to leeward. Than tacked, tacked back in the middle of the course, crossed with G-709 but had built a good lead at the weather mark. Extending the lead and crossing the finish first. Next race I had block Nr. 1. First boat on the left inside. Easy. Start, run, jump in the boat and blasting away. Maybe the smoothing of the runners helped in the slush ice under the water. The boat was exhilarating, the new mast did bend nicely and I reached nearly warp speed. A pity, all the top guys this season did not take part except of G-709, 896 and 136. The third race was more interesting. I only managed to be third at the weather mark, was not able to shorten the distance to the two leading boats, neither downwind, nor upwind and had to fight on the last downwind run to secure third place against an impressive G-542 who used older equipment than even mine. Something had to be done. The wind had increased a lot. New sharper runners and the sail a little lower. The left side was not favored any more. G-709 went early for the right and he crossed me just after I had tacked on to the layline on port tack. He went too high and I was able to leave him in my wind shadow. Right in front was the blue boat. Knut, G-896, who was lying very low in the boat just in front of me. He was fast and I could almost match his speed to the first weather mark. We rounded very close and he extended the lead on the run. I had a better mark rounding in the gusty and strong wind and gained already 30-50m on him. Now bending the mast, crawling into the boat and of we went for a real dogfight upwind. Both tacking on to the layline, he a little higher than me, investing his lead. I had a bit of luck, tacked on a hard spot, accelerated a little quicker and started to point high into him. Catched the wind from the front, giving him a little backwind and rounded the mark first. From here on it seemed easy. Finished with a good lead. Knut reported later to me that he had spinned a 360° on the last downwind leg. Mmmh, the sharp runners, which I had mounted, felt good. The race committee called it a day and the Wolzig Cup was finished. Everybody went for the shore where we got our feet dry and packed up the gear. Price giving, the typical "Berliner" pancake and hot drinks for all. Short speeches, hipp-hipp-hurray and off we drove. You cannot have a good day of DN racing when you don´t leave your cozy home. Hope some more racers will show up next weekend. The show must go on as long as we have some sailable ice in Germany this winter.

Freitag, Februar 06, 2009

Blizzard in Steinhude

We had some excellent DN racing on the ice last weekend in Steinhude, near Hannover, though the lake had already opened up big enough in the middle to hold a regatta with optimist dinghies on liquid water. Nevertheless the race committee had laid a course with about 1,2km upwind and totally safe on the eastern side of the "Steinhuder Meer". Safe from going through the ice but not safe against accidents. (Actually it never is...) There were 35 DN´s on the startline, which is a lot on a fast and short course. The port tackers have to get around the windward mark and there is normally half the fleet approaching the mark on starboard. Average speed on the day had been abt. 50km/h to windward. And it was me who caused the biggest crash of the day and the only one. Really bad and totally my fault. Glad that no person had been injured. The other boat, G-390 was mostly destroyed. A. was absolutely right to be angry with me, to shout and stomp her feets. When she calmed down and I had a chance to apologize (to fall on my knees...) we got into action and took away from the ice every little peace of wood and steel which we could find. Just in time for the fleet to approach the weather mark for the second time. We collected all the bits and pieces left from her equipment, put it in my boat and headed for the shore. I was able to collect my nerves and headed back out with my boat which had only be scarfed on one runner. I tried some tacks and jibes and the boat did well. Nothing loose, steering worked fine. I was able to race again and to free my head from the bad accident. In hindsight it had happened because I lost control on the steering. I tacked into a hole at the starboard line of boats and thought to be safe. The tack had been unsuccessful, no grip on the steering, the boat just slipped sideways instead to tack. I can still imagine the moment when I knew that "NOW" someone will hít me from behind. Bad. My responsibility. The boat had been trimmed in such a way that there was not much weight on the front runner. Should have put more body weight into the front of the boat. Or trimmed differently. That´s what I did for the next races. The runnerplank one more back. The maststep one more to the front. A safer and more comfortable set-up. Maybe a little slower. Definitely in the next race, I was able to take part. 20th place. Tightening the shrouds and hoisting the sail one knot brought back some power into the boat. I managed a ninth and a fourth and and things started to look better.

Sunday we did sail out to the course with four sailors and tried to lay the startline. It was really windy and it snowed. Kind of blizzard conditions. The gap in the ice had opened. It looked great to see the open water with wind waves in the "not" far distance. Most DN´ers stayed ashore and when we measured the wind at around 11.00h it had increased to 12-14m/sec and the race committee called it a day. No more racing. Hitting the road for home. Need to mention for my diary that this had been the first weekend ever when I took my brother iceboating. He had never before sailed on the ice but he likes iceskating. He has not done it for many, many years as he had lived in the south Pacific. Va´vau to be specific. He cruised around on saturday with the DN and he much enjoyed it. He told me that he got an idea about it and he started to understand why I am so hooked at this particular sport.

Now off to a big reception tonight in the Hamburg Rathaus with the German Offshore Owners Assc. and than going racing the DN again on Sunday near Berlin. That´s the plan at least. Have to check the weather on Saturday morning, when waking up in Hamburg.

Freitag, Januar 30, 2009

Cool Winter

A weekend of DN racing is behind me and another one in front of us. Thursday is mostly the day when we decide where to go, where to meet and where to race. Our mighty "Vossi", chairman for the North German fleet has now organized two weekends of racing in a row. Of course we are helping him and we try to have only volunteers but there is some equipment which has to be carried around. Equipment like two big orange marks, smaller off set marks, the starting line equipment and the scoring equipment. Maybe this is boring information for my two readers but there are the other two who have no idea about what it takes to organize racing in winter time. It is much less fuss than the soft water racing. E.G. We are laying the marks ourselves. Usually the fastest guy takes the weather mark and will lay it out. Of course we take the fastest sailor because he always lays the mark as far to weather as possible. He wants us to have some "speed races". Long distances where his speed will come into play. If we asks sailors from the back of the fleet, usually the weather mark is laid with much less distance. Often under the wood and not straight into the wind. So everyone has his own opinion. Usually we get under way after some re-shuffling the start line and the downwind mark. After the wind has stabilized in direction. And also waiting for the very keen racers who are running one test lap after the other. Always changing runners in between or even the sails. This is a bit difficult to understand for softwater sailors. They cannot walk around their boat. Changing a mainsail in a 470 dinghy is no easy task and what do you do with the spare one? We just drop things in the rigging area on the ice. As well as hot tea and some snack. So, to bring you up to speed. No coaches necessary to carry your gear out to the course in iceboat racing. You take it all yourself. And you are discussing and testing with your fellow friends between the races, directly on the ice. Looking at trims, set ups and everyone is very helpful. You just need to ask some good questions.

Last weekend we had some raining in the afternoon on Saturday and most of my friends played it lazy. Myself too. The photo is from some practice racing between the rain showers. So, no racing as we thought that visibility through the ski googles was poor. Dangerous sailing so to speak. On Sunday the sky cleared and the sun came out. We ran 3 races in light air and had to abandon as our chairman ran into a pool of water. (Rescued himself and no damage to his boat) Nobody knows why and it was definitely out of the usual course area (which was safe of course) but we had a winner for the "Silberne Drache vom Goldberger See". I was in contention for first place after 2 races but screwed up the start in the third race and could not make a comeback. Fourth place overall and Holger, G-890 won with Bernd, G-107 in second and our friend from Bavaria, Thomas, G-8 came third. Now, looking forward to racing this weekend near Hannover on the Lake Steinhude. I´ll give my brother a test sail on my spare boat. See if he likes it. He helped me with some repairs and refit this week so he already got an idea how the DN looks like.

Freitag, Januar 23, 2009

Can it get any better?

The picture shown here had been taken with my mobile last saturday after the DN racing had been finished for the day and we had put our boats to sleep. Can it get any better outdoors? Runners prepped for the next day and a cool or hot drink in hand and chatting about the action of the day. The huge trailers and the tall masts belong to the 15qm class. Two seaters with the crew facing backwards...

Point of discussion had been my "stunt" during race 8. It happened on the second downwind leg that I suddenly lost steering. I tried to signal G-390, Anja, who past by very close because she thought that I would get out of the way due to her right of way. I could not do anything and doing some inspection under the boat, when running downwind at abt. 80km/h, is not possible. I seemed that the tie rod had been broken. And I was running straight downwind into the start line, the race committee and the spectators. Something had to be done. I tried to put the brake on with my spike shoes. The boat slowed down considerably but not enough for me to jump out and stop it. The wind pressure increased in the sail and there was no way of holding the boat or turning it into the wind. Shit. I detached the sheet blocks from the boat but this was a mistake. The sail immediately eased out until the boom hit the sidestays and the wind pressure in the sail increased. The boat still running straight downwind towards the crowd. A moment of desparation. I could not jump out and let the boat do some demolution, let alone some people get hurt. Seamanship help! What would a seaman do in such a situation? "Get the bloody sail down, man", I said to myself. Easier said than done. Undo a shackle first and than pull the thing down. Hard and fast. No care for battens or the sail being run over by the sharp runners. Just down and pulling together. Than G-890, Holger came running into my direction and helped me to stop the boat. Good guy! Thank you. We stopped it 20m or so in front of the starting line (with rope and numbers on, the business!) Now a lot of DN érs swarmed over me and my boat. Trying to find out what happened. Please, please, give me a pause. Let´s get the boat to my rigging place, my tools, my jacket first. Some where understanding my concerns. The "mechanics of the DN world" got into business. Got angry with me. Only 3 turns into the thread... It just came loose because of vibrations. "Fix it better next time!". Yes, you were all right. This should not have happened. Together we fixed the boat and back into the next race. My results: mid fleet. 10 races were very exhausting. Have to work harder on the boat prep. The body prep. Or to be happy with some mid fleet results and enjoy the family on the ice, the atmosphere and all. It is hard to be beaten by the fellow DN friends with whom I normally fight it out on the course. Tough when being in the top 3-5 boats at the weather mark but than downwind loosing miles. My score card looked like following: 3 , 6 , 3 , 5 , [10] , 9, 8 , [17/DNF] , 5, 8 . Finishing 7th out of 16 participants.

The racing is on again this coming weekend. Looking forward to another great weekend of DN Iceboat racing on the Goldberger Lake.

Mittwoch, Januar 21, 2009

North German DN Championship

In spite of time and myself travelling, I put up an article from a local newspaper about last weekends championship. Might have some information about the actual racing later. I´d like to put the attention of my dear one or two readers from abroad to the second picture on the left. And something funny I just realize by having a second look. The headline in the article has a spelling mistake. I mean, it is not some blogger writing this, it is a journo. The first one who points out on the mistake will get a CTM wooly. As usual, klick on the pic and it blows up.

Dienstag, Januar 13, 2009

DN Iceboating in Steinhude

Second weekend of DN iceboating and what fun we had. As I haven´t written here about the first weekend this year, Jan, 2nd and 3rd, just a quick recap. After a lot of phone conversations, convincing people, surfing the Internet on New Years day we finally agreed about meeting in Steinhude (near Hannover Airport) A big lake with abt 32 square km. Room for everyone: Skater, 15qm class and the DN´s. We met on Friday for some practice races and to worm up on the hard water.
Great weather, the sun shining and with a nice breeze we had some interesting results on the hard, smooth ice. Come Saturday and we had 25 DN boats lined up for 5 races. The breeze was building during the day and the results not far from the usual pecking order. I came third which was absolute OK for me.

German DN Championship
Second weekend with sailable ice in Germany we have to sail our International German Championship. This year it was a bit "early" for me as my gear had not been optimized, I was a bit lazy with my runners. Or maybe did the wrong thing after picking up some new ideas the weekend before. I did work on the runners some evenings during the week before but putting the runners into use when it was windy on Sunday they did not work as supposed. Anyway we had 60 starters from Germany, Poland and Denmark. The Dutch friends were sailing their own Championship after many, many years without sailable ice at home. On Saturday the fleet had been divided into two groups and the second the group of 34 sailors, bar 16 fixed starters for the Gold fleet, had to fight it out. As the wind was fading the first "A" group race, held late in the afternoon, had to be abandoned. Good luck for me as in spite of a good starting position (nr. 5 on the starboard side) I got rolled after the start from the fleet and never found pace again. With a little knee injury it was really difficult to outrun the other starters. It was me who had been out runned big time by the fleet.

Sunday one could already feel the difference in the morning. Chilly, temperatures below -5° C and the breeze was starting at around ten o´clock. This had been the supposed starting time and I got up 2,5 hours earlier. Just to realize that 2 and a half hour are not enough to get fully organized and to sail with a fully loaded boat (5 sets of runners, tools and an extra sail) to a start line on the "other side of the world". At least that is how it felt, seeing almost everyone in the starting area and me slowly jibing my way downwind. Some action to make you nervous. Must change this. Get up very early. The first race of course had been called for the "A" fleet. I came away from the line OK and finished 16th. Next race better speed with different runners (more grip on the ice) I placed 6th. A pause to recover was given to us as now started the usual order: B fleet, A fleet, B fleet and so on till the last possible race of the day could be sailed. Third race, I got lost on the racetrack somewhere and finished deep down in the fleet. Everything went wrong. Result, 29th place. A sail change was necessary, even if only for psychological reason: ...and out comes my weapon. A low drag Shore sail from Henry Bosset, produced in the mid ninethies. (Yes, Henry, I hope to get a photo from the event) Often used in strong winds it propelled me into the top ten most times.

The fourth race will stay in my mind for a long time. I was leading the first lap, when rounding downwind, my mast did not bend to the right side. I had to fight to get it right and that is when Hans, D-92 passed me. We both got into a kind of Match race, fighting hard for positioning and I was able to grab back first place on the 2nd downwind.. Same procedure at the downwind mark with my mast and Hans passed me. This time he was building his lead. We finished 1st and least this was what we thought. Until our friends came and asked why we have let the Polish sailor P-154 and Thorsten, G-666 to pass us in the third round. Both Hans and myself could not believe this had happened and we investigated. Yes, the two sailors had lead us by 2 min and we were in front of the rest of the fleet by 40 seconds. The scoring sheets clearly showed them sailing their 3 rounds and Thorsten was the winner of this crazy race. A big "righty" when Hans and I had been fighting on the left side of the course had propelled our friends into the lead. Nothing we could have done. We did not even see them on the racecourse. Iceboats, when going into opposite directions of the course (into the corner, as it was really, really slow to tack due to the snow patches) are separated by miles...

Not all was lost for me to end up in the top ten but with a decent result of a 15th place in race 5 I lost it. This race could have gone both ways it was just wrong for me to be on the right side of the course when the wind died on that side and the left was screaming up to the weather mark whilst we (all the guys on the right) had to get out of the boat and to push, push and run. To run like hell. To jump into the boat during the mark rounding (Running not allowed here) hoping to built some speed whilst the ones speeding around the mark had build already so much apparent wind that they were going downwind, whilst we pushed a bit lower than upwind. Out of the boat again, run till you nearly collapse, jump back in, sheet in and build speed. My boat speed was OK, my running only decent, my course management in this race not good and I finished 15th. This gave me way too many points and I finished 12th in the "A" Fleet. Congrats to Thorsten, G-666 a worthy German Champion. Having been an assistant, to World Champion Ron Sherry, US-44 for long, he has learned his lessons well. I think his runners must have been the best prepared from the whole fleet and I promised myself to spend more time in the workshop to better my results. Not an unhappy guy with my placing, no, I learned again a lot. Enjoyed the racing and the atmosphere and are longing for more. May the winter stay for a couple of weeks within a circle of 500 km. Yes, before finishing this report, I should mention my buddy and former co-driver to the big events: Sailmaker Harry, G-145, who placed a sensational 20th place after being absent for three or four years due to a motorcycle accident which paralyzed him from the hip downwards. Always smiling, a great character, he gave us a good example about what you can do with will and a great attitude to life. Of course all the sailors did not deny him to get a push start from the line from his helpers and he was mostly in the the top ten at the weather mark. Harry, we are happy to have you back. What a great idea to strap you into the DN and get on with life!

Montag, Januar 05, 2009

The clock stopped ticking at 64...days of sailing in 2008

Happy New Year to my fellow readers!

The year starts nicely with 2 days of iceboating in Steinhude. A report will follow soon. This is just the announcement that I will try hard to beat the 64 days of sailing on various crafts in 2009. Please keep coming back. DN G-99