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.

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