DN Regatta, Estonia 2016, Day 2, Race
So yesterday we did not make any trips, what can you do against nature? After breakfast in the hotel in Viljandi we go for about 20 minutes together with the Polish sailors to the lake. We wait together with the other competitors for the commission which is on the lake investigating the ice. We are in the same place as yesterday, only the commission set off in the opposite direction to the one Tomek and I chose.
The commission is made up of two people, Jaan Akermann C-64 and his father. One has a four-wheeler and the other an ice-scooter. They are already the other side of the crack and disappearing in a haze of mist and weak sleet. After about half an hour they reappear, drive around the length of the crack, cross it and head back to us at the dock. With the remainder of the Estonian organisers we listen tensely to their report.
We can’t understand anything, not even the gestures. One of the members of the commission pulls from a sled a sail and mast for an Ice Optimist and pulls it from the ice onto land. I guess nothing’s going to happen I tell myself. Then there is the official statement in English: “We found an area big enough for the race, and as soon as the visibility improves we will start the race.” Hurrah!
About an hour later it happens. In the meantime the commission carefully marks out two crossings over the cracks. Slowly and carefully we make our way to the course. All go slowly, standing to get a better view and try to find any possible dangerous places. This is for the safety of everyone. In the depot before the starting line we trim the boats and each of us tries a few circuits. The wind is weak, 2-4 m/s and the ice is starting to soften. There is some 2 cm of slushy snow lying on it. On starting unfortunately Adam Szczesny P-234 finds a small hole. He pulls out the plank and puts the boat together. He puts the plank in a different position and doesn’t have to repair anything on the ice. In the morning everyone has to get him a beer as the whole was exactly on the track where sooner or later one of us would have gone. The commission immediately marks it with a flag and the race starts.
We manage to hold three decent heats. The wind gradually strengthens. I manage 20th place, then 12th and in the third heat 17th place. I am happy only with the middle one but that’s sport. The rising wind brings with it rain and snow. The organisers have to end racing for today. There is nothing to be done as visibility is rapidly worsening and so we pack up and head for the dock. On the way I admire the kids on the Ice Optimist, how well they are doing in these tough conditions. The bigger help the smaller ones, especially when crossing the crack, and no one makes a fuss. Hats off to them.
We will see what tomorrow brings …