More and less than we could handle…

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.

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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

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