That is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the past few days. After a great time in Cork (and the sailing wasn’t too bad either with a second in class IRC0 on board Tiamat, the new Mills 43) I headed down to Cork airport to meet up with a bunch of people whom were all travelling to Germany for the start of the Baltic Sprint Cup on board Danebury/Horizon. So Friday night and flying into London, 4 hours of sleep on a hotel room floor and then on to Germany (Hamburg Lübeck) early Saturday morning. It was great fun travelling with a great bunch of guys together but the little sleep of the regatta and travelling might come and bite us when doing the first (and longest) leg of the Baltic Sprint Cup.
So on Saturday close to mid day we arrived with seven of us in Travemünde for the start of the offshore at about 1-ish. The boat was already prepped close to perfection by Mike Castania (with a little help of some of the others) and it was a case of changing to foulies and stepping on board. The boat is build number one of the Rogers 46 line of which 5 are now build and is racing against two sisterships. Basically it is a carbon racer with our boat in a pole (with jockey poles) a-sail configuration and the other two boats with just a sprit. Not only is the boat well looked after, the systems are all trouble free and the foredeck is just a dream (in my opinion). The forecast for the race: 216miles and for all but the first 2 miles a 15-25 knot downwind race… NICE!
The crew for the first leg (which is the only leg I’m doing unfortunately) worked togeter really nicely and showed great competence. The skipper (Mike again) was great but so were all other 10 of my fellow crew. And the combination with the boat and conditions made it such good fun. The conditions didn’t really allow for photos but possibly one or two have been taken on board and after Cowes Week they might actually show up… I was bow but as with an offshore I did a bit of everything (this time even driving!).
The conditions were challenging due to several depressions passing by and throughout the night we could see lightning on the horizon. A great call by the afterguard saw us peeling to a heavier kite early on and when the big breeze hit it was full-on! The nature of the breeze made 20 knots feel like 35 and the boat showed some tendency to nose-dive a bit. Working away on the coffee grinder for the kite trimmer a wave filled the cockpit with water up to my knees and the speed incresing to 20 knots.
When dawn broke the wind had become less but the race was still very challenging especially for the navigator (Mike Broughton) with the tricky Swedish coast. On the radio we could here one of the faster boats in the fleet finishing and we kept pushing the last few miles really hard. In the end we finished the 216 mile in just over 20 hours which gave us victory on corrected time, a great start to the Baltic Sprint Cup for the team and a great result period.
Now I am in Sweden helping the team get ready for the second leg and the atmosphere is great within the team which makes it all the more regrettable that I couldn’t commit to more legs. I would like to thank Horizon for sponsoring the team and making the event possible for the boat as well as the owner. Then of course the rest of the team for such a fun few days with a special mention for skipper Mike and for Andy O who got me in as a replacement for himself this leg.