16.-17.6.2012 CompoTech Catamaran Open
Vladislav Ptašnik Early this past winter, I agreed to organize a catamaran race with Ondra and Vítek in CompoTech. We’d like to establish a tradition. This couldn’t happen without the enthusiasm of the catamaran community or our own hard work. We’ll see how it’ll work in the future. 15 catamarans attended in the first year – exactly the same number as at the 2010 Polish Sea Championship in Gdansk. At the time, I’d said that that many boats would never gather at one place in our country, and yet here they were. Included were the Tornadoes, an especially strong group of 8 crews, including D. Křížek and Z. Adam, who placed fifth at the recent European Championship. The Pavliš brothers, multiple national champions, were also there. Then there were two Predators and a Nacra 6.0. That’s 11 boats altogether in Formula 20. These were followed by one F18, two Nacra 5.0s and one Baby Predator.
The weather forecast was bad. That is, it promised nice weather, but without wind. That’s bad for sailors. As I was assembling the boat (which was still full of salt and sand from Texel) at Lipno Lake, I prayed that the forecast had it wrong. If only a portion of the North Sea wind could be captured in a box and released here! There was a stable 15 m/s there the last weekend, and the same this weekend – and absolutely nothing here. Is this natural? This must be unnatural!
Saturday morning looked promising. I set out one hour earlier with Petr Kordovský, my crew member. We had good reason to do so: Petr had never sailed on a catamaran and had to learn to control all the lines. He was learning quickly; only climbing on the trapeze was a bit difficult for him. We hoped that the wind would not be that strong – although I could step in if really needed. Working with the Predator’s gennaker and the main sheet is not easy as the sails are really large.
And then we went for it. We had two “ones” after the first two races, even after recalculating using the Texel rating! That was gorgeous! Certainly unexpected! We finished the third race in third, but actually fifth once the rating was taken into account. The wind blew reasonably; we sailed upwind typically at around 4 to 5 knots and downwind approximately twice as fast. Not bad for a disastrous forecast. I completely removed the Cunningham from the sail before the last race. I suspected that it had gradually pulled itself in and contributed to our bad result in the third race. Removing it made our boat work better immediately. We arrived in second position in the fourth and the last Saturday race, meaning we stayed in first position in total rank after Day One. Even the second Predator, CZE 013, did much better than in previous years. Surely it was due to the newly modified wing-mast and the large sail, even though we paid dearly by the increased rating.
There was a party, barbecue, and beer in the evening, along with a slideshow of photos from Texel during the previous week, and loads of Martina Barnetová’s outstanding snapshots from that day. They came out really well and you can see them here. Compared to Texel, the smooth local water may seem boring, but the day was filled with anything but boredom. Just from the number of close duels, the intense thought which went into choosing a wing, where to attack, and where to catch the smallest gust to gain an advantage…some went to bed very late at night, or rather, very early in the morning.
On Sunday, we went for additional races. However, the wind completely died down during the second round of the first race, led by the unbeatable Pavliš brothers, and the race had to be cancelled. No further races could begin by 1 p.m. and the day had to be closed. What good luck for us at CZE 007! Thanks to this, we remained the winners. In the meantime, the wind reappeared and turned completely. It was as if someone had shot into the flock of catamarans. They spread throughout the lake, all rigged with gennakers and trapezes, as though they wanted to make up for a Saturday spent kneeling on the trampoline.
Then there was packing, the score announcement, saying our good-byes, and finally the crews began to leave. I was very happy with the race result. Who wouldn’t be? It does not often happen that one beats the cream of the Czech catamaran crop. The smooth water and calmer wind suited our Predator well. I hope we will meet more frequently on the water during the year, even outside races. And, thanks to Petr Beneš and Veronika Hrabalová, a very solid catamaran base was established at the Jestřábí I. campsite over the last two years and it continues to grow.