Wednesday April 8, 2015

Bajkal 2015, training CZ 112At eight it is still clear and all is lit by the strong Siberian spring sunshine. Once we get on the ice everything has changed. Clouds were descending from time to time from the mountains above us. 2-3 km of the shore are cloaked in mist and it inches out over the lake. It is carried by sudden gusts of cold air falling from the mountains to the lake. The wind is very gusty and its direction unpredictable. Despite the judges trying to stake out a track, we don’t take part in any racing. In the afternoon the race commission gives up on the attempt and sends us back to the shore.

Despite this several of us remain with our boats and improve what we can. Perhaps thanks to my schoolboy Russian there is often a group of Russian yachtsmen around me. They watch and discuss what I am doing. Together we measure the deflection of the mast and adjust the alignment. I get plenty of positive feedback from the Russian yachtsmen on the video about the manufacture of  CompoTech DN masts. They speak appreciatively of CompoTech and that makes me really proud. This year there is great interest in our masts.

Bajkal 2015, CZ 112 in speedJevgeny Chernov R 98 suggests that we go and train a bit. I am all for it. There is not much wind so we take the middle sails, to get going. No sooner do we leave the bank and there are sharp gusts from the mountains. We have to wait on the ice at the boats and hold on. The wind gusts up to 15 to 25 m/s. That calls for flat sails. We are too lazy to make the change and so we try it with what we have. The wind speed alone is not the worst – the danger lies rather in the great changes in its direction. Once the visibility increases at least enough for us to see the shore we set off. We sail for about an hour in this crazy weather. Not once do we go flat out, for fear of crashing. The mast literally crawls across the ice. After an hour I have had enough, there is no training value in it. All the same we slap palms together, Jevgeny and me, celebrating how “good” we are. No-one else ventured out. Or perhaps we’re just “daft”.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings …