Dragon Team Racing in Hamburg 16 Jul 2006
The host club provided the boats with an owner’s representative on each. They have a large Dragon Fleet with 30+ for regular club racing and 54 was the peak during this year’s spring series. As the RCYC were sending a six boat team and more than that wanted to sail from NRV, we were loaned two ‘honorary’ Brits, to make up an eight boat team for us, namely Fritz Torneden from the host club and Thomas Olrog who had flown in with his family from Sweden, to take part in the event. Tim Tavinor & Paul Springett, Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen & Andrew Norden, Rob Campbell & Andy Moss, Tony Allen & Roger Clarke, Gary Harrison & David Andrassey, Martyn Fogg & Paul Noonan made up the rest of the team.
The emphasis for the event was very much ‘friendly team racing’ so everyone did their turns and avoided the protest room. Racing takes place on the Alster Lake in the heart of Hamburg, which produces some very shifty conditions, resulting in some dramatic place changing throughout each race.
We were allocated eight boats for the weekend and drew lots; Martyn Fogg did very well at this, selecting sail number 1025, a beautiful teak decked 4 month old Petticrow. Following the briefing the Race Officer got the fleet away on time at 11:00 on Saturday morning in glorious weather, sunshine and breeze. Local expert Hans-Verner Zachariassen showed us all the way home by reading the shifts perfectly, which he went on to repeat twice more on Saturday, Tim Tavinor came 2nd and Poul-Richard 4th.
Race 2 was also sailed in a good breeze, but once again reading the many wind shifts was all important, however Hans-Verners win was cancelled out with our 2nd 3rd and 4th from Rob Campbell, Poul-Richard and Tim respectively.
After lunch in the club, the Race Officer was keen to get us away promptly in case the breeze failed later in the afternoon. This he did and another good race saw Thomas Olrog as the best placed RCYC boat in 2nd and Rob 4th. Counting up the points once ashore, the RCYC team were pleased with their days work, 12 points ahead, 198 to 210.
Saturday evening was also the club’s summer party and NRV entertained us very well, dining outside on a beautiful summer’s evening on the edge of Lake Alster.
Sunday morning did not produce the breeze of the day before and after over an hour of drifting around the committee boat, during which time the wind came from all points of the compass, the Race Officer got us away on a short course of a beat to the windward mark and then back to the club line to finish. However shortly after the start the shifts prevailed again and Rob Campbell even got a spinnaker up during the ‘beat to windward’ for a few minutes and the fleet were soon well spread out, due to the fickle conditions.
After the windward mark, it should have been a spinnaker reach to the finish but everyone found themselves on a beat again. This was with the exception of Martyn Fogg who started the last leg in about 13th place, hoisted the spinnaker and with his own private breeze sailed through all the boats that had been beating, with momentum carrying him through any lulls to finish 3rd still with spinnaker, close behind the winner Tony Allen and Tim Tavinor 2nd. With Rob and Thomas coming in next, the RCYC seemed to have extended their lead. However our hosts decided that this race would not count due to the unreliable wind strength and direction, so the overnight score stood.
Our hosts presented us with the trophy and joined in our celebration when the champagne corks popped. During the Commodore’s address at the prize giving and having spoken to us at the dinner the night before, he announced that he would like to invite the Corinthian Otters to take part in a similar annual event alternating between the two clubs and produced a new trophy that would be the prize. He went on to remind us that it was our past Commodore Tiny Mitchell who had been so impressed by the way the NRV youth section The Alster Piraten YC was structured, when he was visiting in 1930, that he used this as a template for youth at the RCYC with a separate name ‘Corinthian Otters’ and Otter Flag Officers. The team on their return spoke to Stuart Munro (Chairman Otter Management Committee), who is hoping to take this project forward. (See Otter website for more details – click on Otter Home at top of RCYC site). The Commodore also presented books to Rob Campbell, giving the history of NRV and the Alster Piraten, which are available to see in the club house.
We all enjoyed the weekend and look forward to seeing our friends in Burnham next year.