Thursday, April 10

Bajkal Cup

The last regatta here in Baikal started yesterday. It’s called the Baikal Cup. It was a lovely day, but no wind. We waited on the ice for a long time, but for nothing. That’s why I didn’t write anything either. Today, however, the situation is completely different. The wind started blowing during breakfast and we had solid 6 m/s for the first heat. I go into a skid as soon as the first running. I reached the upper buoy second, Torsten, G 666, ahead of me. I try to catch up with him, but the boat slips, I just manage to turn the control lever to the side and wait. Thankfully the boat didn’t go into rotation. After thirty metres, the back runner returns to its position. Alas so abruptly that suddenly instead of the starboard, I sail on the port side. It’s like I don’t even need to sit in the ship, it sails on its own. Of course I lost few positions before I managed to start the boat again. Eventually it’s a decent fifth place. I check the runner for breaks, but it looks fine.

We sail another 4 heats quickly one after another. The wind keeps getting stronger, 8 m/s in the last heat. That’s the way I like it. Torsten, G 666, is doing really well today. He really tuned the boat in for today. He keeps permanently among the leading positions. No matter how much I try, I only manage to beat him once. Still I’m satisfied, I reached 3rd, 6th, 4th and 4th position and I finish the day running in 4th place.

The other heats are postponed for tomorrow. The racing was very quick today and I still have lot of time to spare. We agree with Jeremy, Z 101, to train some more. The wind got even stronger and it reaches a steady 10 m/s. One needs to be very careful on the bumpy ice. Me and Jeremy build improvised buoys out of my bag and his Swiss flag. We sail a few rounds, Jeremy is slow at the start. I share with him a tip for how to start well in a strong wind. Jeremy is smart. You only need to tell him once. He applies the tip right away and gives me a hard time. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Bajkal, oprava

Zhenya, R 98, and Valentin, R 204, are joining us. It’s much more fun now that there’s four of us. Jeremy doesn’t let me take the lead anymore, and I don’t let the Russian guys overtake me. We try the last race – the hands do get tired after all. In front of the upper buoy, close behind Jeremy, my boat suddenly falls apart. The ice is really bumpy, still it takes a while before the pile behind me stops. I have the side stay in my mouth almost all that time. Thankfully I’m all right, just a slightly sore arm and a mouth scratched from the stay. Pretty much as if somebody hit me on the lips with their fist in a pub. The boys are arriving, helping me to dismantle the pile so that I can get to the shore. Except for the ripped-away sheet-metal plank holders nothing happened to the boat. I must have sailed into a hole or a soft spot. That’s why the joint between body and the plank is very weak, so that the ship breaks into halves in a crash and nothing gets destroyed. Repairs and licking my wounds are on the menu for tonight. Tomorrow is the last racing day.

We will see what it brings us.