|Aussie European Tour||| Print ||
|Written by Mike Holt|
|Wednesday, 06 June 2012 14:04|
Daryl Roos reports on his and Quirky's European Adventure
Having just recovered from my jet lag after a trip with Quirky to Riva and Kiel I'm sitting in the office where it's 2 degrees and blanketed in fog outside. Getting back into work is going to be hard as I think about all the sailing that is and has been going on in Europe.
This trip was my first trip out of Australia, so as an introduction to sailing 505's overseas, Garda seemed like the perfect place to start! Quirky and I had a quick ‘learning to sail with you' session in 25-35 knots in Sydney on Sunday before setting off OS. Getting on the plane with sore muscles wasn't part of the original plan but after an epic ride from one end of the harbour to the other with the kite up we didn't care.
Riva is just slightly different to sailing in Australia! Watching the fantastic cliffs and breeze while we waited for the boat to arrive was torturous. Quirky and I were keen to get out there in the fresh air. I'd heard about the Ora and the Vento but actually sailing in it was something special. I still can't comprehend paddling to the start knowing that you are going to be sailing in 20 knots!
For people who haven't sailed at Riva before, it's a bit of a mind spinner. The breeze is so consistent that the marks are permanently set, this is also due to the fact that the water depth is allegedly between 200 and 350 meters (1150 feet) deep so permanent buoy anchors are required!
The way it works is that the start line is fairly central and is about 300 meters long with a massive pin bias. The course right hand side rock/cliff face is generally the place to be after the start. So by putting such a big pin bias on the line the pin boats can cross the fleet easily but aren't necessarily the first to the rock face where there is generally more breeze and some sweet angles. The net result is that you have to weigh up starting at the geographically bias end (pin), or at the boat to get into the rock face early. Either way, after the gun it's a 50 boat race to the rock face where the whole fleet sails a tight lane up the rock face in breeze between 15 and 25 knots. It's absolute turmoil and the water is like a washing machine, but great fun!
Having always sailed with Keysie in Australia in a YMS boat, changing boats to the Holger boat and changing skippers was always going to take some adjustments. Upside down cleats on pole launchers, thwart positions, sitting on Quirkies controls plus our timing during tacks, gybes and even our vernacular needed to align! We did our best to get settled as quickly as possible and despite a few breakages we improved as the Riva regatta went on.
Quirky and I were quick downhill in the breeze (yes - gybe set and back towards the rockface!), overpowered upwind at times but all in all, happy with the way we sailed. Our results didn't reflect our overall performance but gave us something to work from. To finish up the regatta we painted the town with the Pinnell and the Mojito men on Saturday night before making our way with a few Aussie friends to Verona, Venice and then on to Kiel via Hamburg.
Fraglia, the yacht club did a great job with regatta management and the regatta was really well run. Wolfgang and Julien won the regatta with a consistent performance, the Bojsen-Moeller's were solid to finish 2nd and Christian Kellner and Martin Schoeler were 3rd.
Full results and photos are available at http://www.fragliavelariva.it/en/regatta/811/view
Despite everything I've heard about Euro conditions being lighter than Australian conditions, when we arrived in Kiel the breeze was ON! Quirky and I spent the Wednesday arvo sailing in Kiel in fresh breeze and warmer than expected water. Thursday we sailed in light fading breeze with Meike and Holger, Friday we practiced boat handling and developed our processes - again in light air. Saturday the first day of racing was even lighter again - 0 knots. So the light air Euro thing was coming true...
Despite the light air, Kiel was buzzing with activity with hot weather and around 500-700 boats there for the Youth Championships - apparently 505 sailors qualify for youth regattas on a lack of maturity clause...
Sunday, the first day we were able to race proved to be a long 7 hour day on the water - in light air. We sailed 3 races in thigh burning conditions for the crews. The breeze was up and down a little at times but generally crews were on the side tank for most of the day. Quirky and I suffered a mystery illness when it came to boat speed and despite doing well off the line we spent most of the day pointing at transoms.
Wolfgang won the day with a 1, 1, and 4 before the black flag came out for the 4th heat that ended up being abandoned. Racing was tight on the short course and after 3 races Saugman, Bojsen-Moller, Sophie Heyer and Morten Bogacki all bagged between 11 - 15 points each.
Mercifully the breeze settled in on the Monday and we sailed another three races. The first heat was a little quiet on the start line as we were minus 7 boats from the Sunday arvo black flag. Quirky and I seemed to find some more speed and despite being 4th or 5th after the start we managed to lead around the top mark in ‘just trapezing upwind, running square downwind' but building conditions. Once again, racing was close and both gates at the bottom were very busy.
Races 5 and 6 were sailed in slightly more breeze with crews mostly wiring downwind. Once again Quirky and I spent some time leading early on and we enjoyed the tight racing. In both races the lead group of boats were all 3 wide at the bottom gate marks and the pack finished very close together.
The Bojsen-Mollers won Mondays first race and with a 5th in heat 5 and a 2nd in the final heat and almost won the day finishing 1 point behind Wolfgang for the days racing. Saugman won heat 5 and finished 3rd in the final heat giving him 2nd overall on equal points with the Bojsen-Mollers followed by the two fast girls Sophie Heyer and Meike Schomaker in 4th and 5th respectively, also on equal points.
Wolfgang however was far too consistent for everyone when he finished the weekend with a 3, 3, 1 - good enough for a comfortable regatta win with a 4th for his drop.