Archive for August, 2012

Travemünder Woche 2012

Sonntag, August 26th, 2012

TW remains one of our favorite sailing and racing spots, always challenging, always fun (and with always interesting weather).

This year it has been a last minute decision, born because we couldn’t attend the worlds and we were eager to race and we wanted to present our lady for the first real time in her new Dino outfit….

A last minute decision makes it hard to find a place to stay as well as to gather crew. But with both we have been very lucky – finding just the last bedroom for three in Travemünde and gaining Jean-Michel Lautier as third / first person.

With beautiful sunshine and admittingly not much wind we started the first day with the weighting procedure (being 56kg underweight is was not too much of a problem…)

But the wind was a problem, so we were grounded to the harbor in the morning (enjoying mocktails and the sun…)

Finally the weather had mercy with us and we went out –  the wind even becoming stronger each minute promising nice races (but still gave time enough for cleaning actions)…

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The first race went well, a difficult start, but enough speed showing us we had the settings correctly. The fleet -mainly German- was good, stayed close to each other and making the mark rounding exciting and loud.

In the Second race Jean-Michel took over the helm and Stan jumped to the bowmen position. Despite this set-up being new to us, we managed a great start and were first after the first downwind buoy. Full of spirits we were able to stay in front and won our first race! Unfortunately, we apparently were OCS… A slap in our good mood, but not a reason to be sad for too long at all with enough races in front of us….

The next race was a show of our mixed feelings, starting third row, then catching up with any other boat one by one rounding the second mark first just to fall back again due to taking the wrong side falling to place 8…

With a good feeling we were already in evening and celebration mood (after having given everything in the last race, playing the spi with every wave) we saw the flag for a fourth race catching us in surprise and exhaustion…. It is hard to mobilize all your strength again, but there was not much of a chance, we plainly had to.

So a great day ended with a 6th place. We were playing with the waves, plaining, laughing and eating up all the scharfe Segler and other sandwiches we could get hold on (still leaving enough space for a t least pink haring, Apfelstrudel, sausages and mushrooms in the evening…)

Our hopes were high and our goal was first third so we worked hard to get there, even if the second day was not our day at all. With not enough speed and not enough pointing we fought to get a 8 and a 9 place, which out of the 15 stating boats was not enough.

However, we learned: we learned to work as a team as well as new maneuvers and to perform them faster. Calling jibes during the hoist, not perfect execution yet, but improving and giving us the feeling to progress – worth almost as much as winning 😉

The third day was predicting thunderstorm and heavy rain, so we were eager to get out and do our best before conditions were getting too bad for fair races. Settings for heavy wind and new tactics (we needed to gain two places to reach our goal of becoming fifth – two points difference were separating from us) we started the race. It was a hard fight playing with every wave and working as a team as we have hardly worked before we managed to gain all the points we needed in that race int I’ve before the cancellation of the next races and return to the crane! Jabbadabbadoo…

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See us next year Travemünde!

WF Dutch open – a rollercoaster of a regatta!

Sonntag, August 26th, 2012

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It all started with some discussions in the car way back in spring this year when Stan and I decided to participate in the Dutch open Wayfarer this year.  Of course the date was in the middle of all our other regattas, but as Helmut was organizing it so nicely and to have all 4 ESTEC wayfarers out in one regatta we were keen in doing it anyway.

So we trained, tried to optimise the manoever scheme (how to handle as a crew the spinnaker sheet, guy, jib sheets, two barberholers and there’s a pole as well… or as the helm to hoist / drop with the tiller between the knees and getting the spi sheets during all pole manoevers…)

We knew the weather would be madness on Saturday, gusting to 7 bft – more than we ever even tried to handle in a wayfarer. Yet all ESTEC WF went out to try their luck against wind waves and 120 other boats (11 WF, but countless other boat classes participated as well).

Clearly it was on the boarderline of our skills,  one moment of not taking care of the wind capzised us, ending in 4 complete turtle manoevers of the WF (and yes – it is frustrating if you just got the boat up and it falls down on you again and again)

So the race committee had mercy with all of us, getting us in the safe harbour for some more strength with fries and meat. Hoping that the wind would calm down we waited and finally went out again. Well, even more wind was waiting for us, but  the race was started.

It was survival, we decided for the full jib, knowing that this could either cost us dearly or push us forward.

The first race was just hard, trying to depower, uncleating the jib, hiking, all we had. We could not see many other boats, being caught and blasted away by the wind leaving us with even more determination (and marks on the hands from pulling the ropes). But it worked, Stan and me managed, without too many words (not to be audible above the wind anyway) and we got it all together and… finished second! Wohoooo

The remaining  races were as hard or even harder as the conditions took their toll on our fatigue level, but so it was for all the other boats competing with us.

Amazingly, we were able to keep up with the leaders and even got them one by one until we were in the lead. Not a usual situation for us causing the problem of to know where to go. Sure of it but seeing our closest competitor heading for another way we changed our mind and followed the UK boat (thankfully in the end – as they were right and we weren’t…. But causing in us deep doubts and a mixture of feelings).

There is not much more to say about this first day, it was more like a dream, being so tired and done and yet so happy seeing our name on the top of the ranking!

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On the next day the wind had mercifully died down a little bit and so all WF were able to start (as on the day before for some the conditions were too strenuous to start) and we started fighting nicely with the group coming second. We thought it was lunch time as the day before and returned to our harbor, discussing and getting the strategy for the two remaining races, knowing that the fight was on and we were close to the Uk WF. On our way from the Club harbor to the Watersportverbond we saw that all other WFs were still out and in a starting procedure. I cannot describe here how the feeling is dropping from heaven high to an absolute depressed low, knowing that with this stupid mistake of ours we would loose everything.

We went back to the boat and to the race, only to see the finish and being called into the harbor for the real lunch now. Depressed and mad as anything with us we went and eat, having only a ray of hope left that there might be a discard and that we might be good enough to struggle us back in at least something like a good position again.

 

Well, there would be a discard, if the last race would go through. Trying to come down from our deep thoughts we wanted to fight again, knowing that these mind-set ups and downs are our biggest enemy. But this last race would count. We knew we had to fight and be good, but in this race the UK wayfarer was better by a fraction of a bit or one wrong sided gust for us. But at least in the meantime we could think clear again, doing the math still on the water concluding that it was likely good enough to claim the championship… But not sure…

So when the result was there with our names on top a smile was crossing Stan’s and my face – not completely believing it, but trying to get the hang of it. Even during the price giving we could not grasp it yet, just a light headed feeling that I surely want to have again!

 

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It certainly was the most roller coaster like regatta we had till now and for sure the most successful one, now we are eager to repeat this with the J, however, the WF and this regatta will remain special for us.

I’d like to thank all organizers, friends and competitors who made this such a great event, not only for us. Especially the WF class association letting us compete with our club boats, Helmut organizing hits event for the ESC and all the sailors fighting with us through the storm.

 

Thank you and see you next year!

 

Jabbadabbadoo!

North Sea Regatta 2012

Sonntag, August 26th, 2012

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The NSR in a Dutch report from Stan:

Afgelopen weekend hebben elf J22s de North Sea Regatta gevaren in Scheveningen onder fantastische omstandigheden. Zon, wind, stroming, feest en een mooie vloot Js…. Beter dan dit kan wedstrijdzeilen niet worden!

Vrijdag startte het vierdaagse evenement met een fikse bries met vlagen rond de 20 knopen. Gelukkig kwam de wind bij uitzondering uit het oosten dus de golven vielen mee. Te midden van zo’n honderd jachten, vijf catamaran klassen, vier zwaardboot klassen en zes kielboot klassen werd de J22 vloot samen met de J24 vloot door startschip de Jar voor twee wedstrijden weggeschoten op baan D. Enkele teams hadden flinke moeite de mast recht te houden en naar verluid is broachen door de gate niet de snelste manier om de tonnen te ronden.

Zaterdag viel de wind wat terug en werd de getijde stroming, die soms dwars op de baan stond, goed merkbaar. Baan D bleek iets verder uit de kust te liggen dan sommige teams verwachtten. De Jar was onverbiddelijk en stipt om 10 uur werd de eerste klasse weggeschoten. Spinakers werden gehesen om tegen de stroming in achter de startlijn te geraken en te blijven. Een sleepje, een uitstel en twee general recalls werden er geregeld voordat de gehele J22 vloot eindelijk compleet was en kon vertrekken. Zo konden gelukkig alle teams hun klassement positie verdedigen. ’s Avonds werd er nagekaart in het zonnetje op het evenementen terrein en de klasse sloot de dag af bij de pizzeria.

Over Italianen gesproken… die deden het prima in het klassement: samen met de Henri Lloyd en Kantoorbutler legde de FraPorIta beslag op de top drie. Die onderlinge strijd werd zondag doorgezet. De wind nam nog iets af naar een 10 knopen en het effect van de stroming zo kort voor springtij lag steeds meer teams dwars. De start tactiek zorgde voor hoofdbrekens en toen de pin tegenstrooms toch niet bezeild bleek klapte de helft van de vloot naar bakboord. Ook bij de boventon ontstonden er flinke opstoppingen en regel 18.3 “overstag binnen de zone” zorgde voor flink wat stemverhef. Het gevolg was dat de vloot uit elkaar getrokken werd en de boten die voorop in vrije wind hun eigen ronding konden kiezen liepen verder uit. Na drie mooie races bleek het stuivertje wisselen in de top, in het midden en in de staart van het klassement. Dat werd natuurlijk onderwerp van gesprek bij de klasse borrel georganiseerd door de Kantoorbutler. Later op de avond werden de Olympiërs ludiek toegezongen door het NSR publiek en op een tripje op J-class Rainbow getrakteerd. Zo voelden we ons allemaal even lid van de Nederlandse zeilfamilie.

Maandag was het net als de rest van het weekend prachtig weer met zon en wind, in heel Nederland… behalve aan de kust. Door een opkomende zee mist werd de vloot, die net uitgevaren was op om tijdig baan D te bereiken, teruggeroepen om aan wal en onder genot van n bakkie troost het strijken van de AP vlag af te wachten. Helaas bleek de mist hardnekkig en om half twaalf werd bevestigd dat er geen tweede discard verdiend zou worden. Daarmee was de winst voor team Henri Lloyd bezegeld en Wouter kon zichzelf geen mooier verjaardagskado wensen.

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