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.