Archive for Juli, 2011

More and less than we could handle…

Samstag, Juli 30th, 2011

Travemünde – with great memories from last year we prepared the travel and ourselves for the European Championship during the Travemünder Woche. We sailed with Clive, Berit, Stan and myself, a constellation that required to diet a bit beforehand – but that’s a small price to pay for another lovely sailing adventure.

clive.JPG    berit.JPG

Having missed the summer in the Netherlands we were not more lucky in finding it in Germany, the weather was loathsome paired with stormy winds. – Meaning we had to
do the rigging and the boat measurements in oilskins and we could’t even get out for a
training the day we arrived, and worse, also not on the the next (and first) racing day! –
The festival in Travemünde is great – but loses some of its attractive features when it’s cold and just all wet. But the German class association had organised a very nice dinner dance party and so we could exchange at least the best sailing stories with our competitors from France, Germany and the Netherlands and afterwards we found some shelter at the Brazilian cocktail bar…

On the second day gusts went up to more than 30 knots, but the race committee was
listening to our pleads and let us sail as the only class of the entire Travemünder
competition!
Hard tobacco… Luckily there were no waves, but strong shifting winds and tiring
hard gusts. The first race was therefore mainly a fight for us, trying to de-power our
Jabbadabbadoo by all means without letting the sails flap. Reacting fast in the gusts and
avoiding broaching downwind. Yes, and of course not to forget to do well in the race…,
even when the wind forces were not leaving much room for us for complex tactics or
strategy.
For the second race the wind increased even more and every pull of the rope was
becoming a tremendous task greatly mastered on the jib by Berit with the help of Clive
who also had to prove his acrobatic skills in these conditions on the bow.

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At the end of this race we were done, particular I was completely exhausted and after
having had small warnings in the last race (close encounters with Djinn; tripping during
tacks,…) we decided for the first time in our career to retire form the day – but a defeated pride is still I better than a damaged boat or crew… 🙂 And we were not the only team that bailed out of that last race….

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Our stated goal was midfield and we ended up 12 and 13 (and DNC) of the 21 boats
starting this first day. In these conditions we were satisfied mainly for being able (for two
races) to keep up the pace and defeat the storm….

The third day was giving us completely the opposite challenge: suddenly the wind dropped and we were facing light wind conditions. We were eager to complete 5 races to discard the DNC from our score, as was the rest of the fleet causing many recalled starts during the day (unfortunately our best ones were among the recalled ones).

The shifting conditions were still difficult, but much more fun than the day before. Our first two races went ok-ish, however with the problem of not having enough upwind boat speed.
The light wind was also putting completely different challenges on downwind spinnaker
sailing and made positioning the main factor for gaining or losing places…
We almost overshot the port layline first leg first race, making the upwind mark rounding a nightmare (being on port tack on the layline with the rest of the field coming in on starboard). Luckily Stan found us just the right gap to smug in!

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Both these two races were reasonable and with a 15th and 14th place (of 24 boats) we
were not unhappy and a „scharfe Segler“ as lunch was taking care of the rest.

In the next race with loosened rig tension it went better and we gained from a big wind
shift, getting it completely right arriving as one of the first boats on the upwind mark!
We fought to keep the position and managed to cross the finish line as 6th! That much
enlightened we had an awesome start in the last race of the day, being again in the first
group of the field. But in the attempt to shoot the mark we had to realise that in light wind this can lead to hugging the mark and after our penalty we had the complete field in front of us…. Well, not wanting to stay there we started the haunt for a better position and reclaimed with upwind trim, downwind fights and first class positioning our midfield place (16th). We might not be in the top half yet, but we surely don’t want to be in the end of the field any more :). And the sail into the harbor with three fleets coming out of it was just too beautiful to be mad about hugging a nice yellow buoy.

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The day ended with a nice evening together with our friends from Jazzy, Histos and
Kronjuwelen (and actually all the other sailors around) at a reception on the Passat and
afterwards in the sailors beach party tent 🙂

The last day started again with start delay ending in cancellation of the races because of
no wind.
So the European Masters were determined – all our congratulations to the Mojo team,
which did a fantastic series and classified in front of mr Henry and the best German team.

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We ended up 14th – just a bit short of our goal to be 12th. But with boat and crew still in
one piece (ok, we need new shrouds… and our sails might have suffered beyond their
limits…;)

But despite the wind and weather it was again a fabulous event, with great friends, sailors, moth sailing shows, Weizen, Pfifferlingen and Mojitos…. And maybe the weather even did it’s part to get the teams closer together. In any case, certainly nothing to complain, but a warm thank you to all the organizers and teams who did make this event a great one!

Nadine

Zierikzee – Deltaweek

Sonntag, Juli 10th, 2011

Still tired, but also still with bright eyes from the Race around the Isle of Wright we
went directly the next weekend on tour again. A relatively short trip would bring the
Jabbadabbadoo team consisting for the Deltaweek of Audrey, Berit, Stan and Nadine to
Zierikzee for a race in salt and tidal water on the Dutch Oosterschelde.

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Luckily our boat was still transport ready, so the preparations were limited to a minimum
and despite the start of the summer holidays there was no problem on the roads. A short
queue on the crane with nice company of the other Js and beautiful weather were awaiting
us and made the mast righting and the rigging as easy as it can get.

Refreshed after a nice night of sleep (we only later found out that we must have missed a
great party at the sailors tent) and delicious mussels on the evening before we had to find
out that the start was one hour earlier than originally announced… Unfortunately this was a
bit the headline for the complete day: too late or still dreaming…

We were the last boat out, missed all tows out of the long harbour channel and had to
spinnaker to the start of the first race. Consequently our start was suboptimal and the
trimming was difficult (having the Island race in the head where trimming was a different
kind of cake did not help) But we fought our way through the light waves and the app. 16
knots of wind to a good fifth place out of the nine Js.

Coming back we almost missed the second start as we were not paying attention and there was no break. However, this turned out to be a happy incident as our last minute port start turned out to put us in a very good position behind Mr. Henry and Batavia, which both had good boat speed that day. And we could keep the 3rd place through both rounds around the cans even if we had to attempt to fetch the upwind mark against the tide and inside of Mr. Henry (it wasn’t the worst fetch we did that day…)

For the 3rd race the wind was decreasing a little and it was more getting a fight to keep up with the others. So we were happy to have won a downwind duel with HistosJr on the finish line, only to learn that the outcome was different than we thought and we only got the 5th place.

The last race was clearly one too many for us, we missed the start and didn’t manage to catch afterwards, so the 7th place was justified, but not the desired end for a nice day on the water…

A good dinner, some beers with our German J22 competitors who did very well and most
of the time finished in front of us and afterwards some biiig desserts with whiskey-ice-
cream and whiskey helped us through the evening….

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The next morning was even more beautiful with steady and a bit lighter wind. In the first two races we started well and found good speed, especially upwind, also thanks to a complete switch in the trimming philosophy from the day before. We could see the front of the fleet, playing with Mr. Henry and the Krownjuwel and could finish both races third!

Also the third race was great, the only problem was, that we were convinced we had to sail three rounds, so was Circoloco just behind us. Even when we saw the German boat going for the finish we kept going, only to find out that we were in the wrong. It’s hard to be in such a good place and to loose it due to a common but still wrong decision… But Stan managed to  turn the mood and to motivate us again by emphasising the consistent results and managed that we felt as the moral third 😉

So nicely motivated we gave again everything in the last race, enjoyed the fabulous weather, fighted up and downwind and ended up with another third place, totally happy with our sailing day and the progress we could feel and see in the results.

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The end result was a great 4th place, behind Mr. Henry, Kronjuwel and Batavia and a
wonderful weekend in Zeeland together with happy (but deep) tiredness of having worked
really hard and some added muscle aches and skin donations to the Round the Isle
ones…
It is a lot, it can be frustrating, tiring and it is for sure hard hard work, but getting with the
boat and the team out like this, is also absolutely rewarding and great great fun!

Nadine

The smallest J-boat in the world’s largest yacht race
 – 80th Round the Island Race, Isle of Wight, UK, 2011


Montag, Juli 4th, 2011

Never mind those lucky guys being sponsored to sail around the world in that Sunday night TV show Zee, Zout en Zeilen… Last weekend WE have sailed our dream! The Jabbadabbadoo Sailing Team consisting this time of Nadine, Audrey, Ludo and Stan including our J22 went over to the Isle of Wight to sail the 50 nm of the Round the Island Race!

Crew RIR

As opposed to many sailors that we know, we are not conceived on a yacht and not born in an optimist. Most of us are late starters. We do serious sailing only since 5 years on the Braassem and every year we’ve set ambitious goals for improvement, be it a RYA skippers course, progressing onto a 3-sail boat, or to participate with a new regatta on unknown waters. Last year we entered in the J22 class with competitive, close, round-the-cans racing on our own boat. This year it was time to take our boat and all those training hours in boat handling to sail one major trip.

It all began in January. Photographs of that biiiig regatta with hundreds of spinnakers served as inspiration. We booked a B&B in Cowes before race registration opened. We weren’t even sure we could pull it off in such small boat. In the months that followed we read up on the regatta, found a convenient ferry trip and we began to understand the preparation needed. The breakthrough was when we discovered a fleet of SB3s that appeared in the entry list. If they can pull it off, so can we!

rigging the Jabbadabbadoo

The preparation really took off as soon as the race organisation confirmed that we were eligible to participate as a dayboat. We drilled 8 holes in the stern of our boat to fit the engine support, applied for an IRC rating, read up on the course and tidal currents in the Solent, we inventorised the safety regulations we had to comply with and talked some Dutch courage into our regular team members to motivate their participation. We got some flares, a three-color LED, life vests, a rescue line, a radar reflector, we fitted jackstays, we test-drove our engine in 7 bft, we borrowed a depth gauge and tethers, and of course, we copied the idea for a camera stand to film the adventure.

All that preparation and the investments in flight and ferry tickets were almost for nothing. On the day of departure we arrived with our Jabbadabbadoo at the terminal of the night ferry… without my passport! They didn’t let us on! „This is UK customs! A serious country, under continuous terrorist threat! You can’t travel without passport. No, your drivers license is not a valid ID.“ Never mind that our crew that was already flying into Southampton and all the other preparation and expenses. Our adventure would not go any further than Hoek van Holland! We brainstormed on plans B but we were only 36 hours before race start… not many options! As a last resort, the customs supervisor suggested to have my passport faxed over. AHA! „Sir? If you let me check my hotmail I can print a copy for you immediately, as I keep it there for emergencies!“ Customs accepted my A4 printed pass and guaranteed my possible return.

Happy on board the ferry

After the night ferry we drove with our right-handed car on left-handed roads, over the infamously busy M25 round London to take another ferry in Portsmouth. Not much later we arrived at Shepards Wharf Marina in Cowes. What a warm welcome we got there! Specialised in dry-sailing, the guys at the crane took no effort to launch the boat and fully understood and respected the challenges we had behind and ahead of us. We spend the rest of the afternoon in lovely weather rigging the boat and discovering the town.

Race day. Done with the lovely weather. The wind was hauling all night through the open windows of our B&B. The night was short. In anticipation of what was ahead we took our breakfast, applied our anti-seasickness plaster, wandered in oilskins to the marina and started sailing at 5:30 h. It was tricky to leave the rafted berth and to motor among the large yachts to open sea. It was even more a challenge to get our sails up in the waves, with crossing ferries and trimarans zooming by on starboard tack. In breach of class rules, we were glad to use the reefing crinkles that we had fitted on our old main sail. The starting area was a mess. We couldn’t find the expected transit on shore that indicates the line. We followed an SB3 that was supposed to start with us and, finally, only 2 minutes before our starting gun we found the starboard mark of the line. Off we went, nicely on the Northern side of the Solent, benefiting from maximum tidal current with us.

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However a south-westerly current with us and a south-westerly wind blowing 25+ kts against us delivered a sea state on the Solent that was…. well, the English say: interesting. Fortunately we trained in crazy wind and short choppy waves during the Spring Cup in Medemblik! In that regatta we experienced a crash-tack when we were feathering to keep the boat flat and the combination of a wave and a wind shift put us about. I didn’t want to repeat that on the Solent and therefore we didn’t quite point as well as we could have. We ducked some large racers and we put an old gaffer about that did not want to duck our small J22. We had to call for some emergency tacks when other boats seemed to appear out of nowhere. What a chaos: the wind, the waves, the fleet of hundreds of other boats, most larger and faster, and our own inexperience with sea sailing on our small boat.

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By the time we got to the Needles confidence was back up and slowly turned into arrogance again 😉 The open sea threw 2 meter waves at us, but the period of the waves got longer, not the Medemblik-type. It became a joy ride! Nevertheless we saw some small boats returning to sail back home against the current. We did not need to discuss about cutting inside the wreck, we took the long way round and slowly we bore off as we rounded the lighthouse. Handling the waves on a beam reach took again some getting used to and the second wave that rolled over us (after 3 min. in movie) inflated the life jacket of Audrey, who was sitting on her usual bow. Fortunately we prepared well and carried a spare. The surf was amazing. On a reefed main and without a spi we did 10 kts, maybe more, but there wasn’t much time to look at the GPS. Our boat rolled violently when large waves picked up the stern, after which we headed up to a safer reaching course. We saw a few demasted boats, ripped spinnakers and catamarans gone turtle. Later we learned that there have been some 70 incidents that involved the coast guard, including man-over-board situations and t-bone collisions.

After rounding the southern-most St Catherine’s point we got some shelter from the island and the sea state decreased a bit. Wind was still up well above 20 kts but with the flatter water it felt more like home. We gathered our courage and dared hoisting the red monster. It was a difficult beam reach and many boats besides us broached. Ludo practiced weight trimming the boat and we managed to carry the spi over to the Bembridge Cardinal, where we changed to a beating course for the last leg back to Cowes. At that time we were cutting inshore to avoid the tide that was now against us and we were using a J24 ahead of us as depth gauge. Not a smart idea as we noticed some boats that ran aground and that were creatively using the spinaker to be pulled off the sandbank. Luckily all of us were directed back to the fleet by some of the volunteers in RIBs.

Nadine at RIR

The last stretch was behind some cliffs with trees and after 9 hours of racing Nadine on the main sheet needed to stay vigilant to the shifts and gusts. We finished just North of Cowes, dropped our beaten sails and slung the engine back on to get us back home. The guys from the Marina gave us their warm welcome once again. Knackered but satisfied we celebrated, hoisting our flags, drinking a few ales and enjoying pub grub on a, now again sunny, terrace.

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The numbers: out of the 1900 registrations, 430 boats retired, most of them small ones like us. In our sportsboat class, some 10 boats retired, some without a mast left. In the 40+ fleet of SB3s more than half retired or did not start at all. We came 6th in our class, and something like 300th out of 600 IRC boats. Fits nice with our ambition of classifying mid-fleet. But our biggest accomplishment was to get out of this in one piece, and with a whole lot of confidence and experience under our belt!

A biiiig thank you to the team members for their confidence and patience and for donating the top layer of skin on their fingers… And now to our next trip: the Europeans in Travemuende…. Jabbadabbadoo!

Stan

J22 NED1360

Movie:

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