Sail Extreme 2010 rapport

Lidt forsinket en rapport fra Sail Extreme i pinsen 2010.

Men der er jo også langt fra vores udsendte australske rapporter og tilbage til Danmark.


Every year during the May long weekend (second Whit Monday of Pentecost) in Denmark, Kerteminde Sejlklub hosts Scandinavia's largest dinghy regatta now in its 11th year.

The Tang Kristensen family came to Adelaide for the Optimistcoaching and Oceania Championships in January 2010 and invited us to come and sail at Sail Extreme.

This was not the best year for me to take my family, but as I was attending a conference in the Czech Republic, I extended my stay a week so I could go to Sail Extreme.

I also had a friend, Søren, in Hellerup with a spare Contender. I just had to do a little work on it to get it going. This old boat used to be owned by Jason Beebe, a champion Australian Contender sailor, so the boat had high expectations. It has been a dream of mine to sail in a European regatta, now finally possible, and my first trip to Denmark.

We loaded three Contenders onto a specially built triple trailer at Hellerup Sejlklub and then drove to Kerteminde. The weather was a sunny 20 degrees and it was the first weekend of warm weather since the long cold winter. We crossed the 6.8km long Østbroen Bridge and I could not notice how flat Denmark is. There was not much wind on arrival on Friday afternoon, but the days were long (almost endless) so Søren managed to get in a quick practice sail. I was welcomed by Jesper and Christine with their two sons Emil and Magnus and enjoyed a BBQ dinner.

On Saturday we were greeted with thick fog in the morning keeping us ashore for a short time and the first day of the regatta was eventually sailed in a light northerly breeze when the fog lifted.

The 21 Contenders (15 DEN, 5 GER, 1 AUS), consisting of many outstanding sailors, were starting with the 420s and Ynglings a couple of miles (it seemed) away from the marina. It seemed to take forever to get to the F‐course that was one of seven. This was quite different from the regattas I have sailed in Australia. We managed two races before the wind completely died requiring a long tow home and the cold beer Jesper packed in my lunch bag.

600 boats, 750 sailors, 16 classes (Optimist, Zoom8, Europe, Laser, 29er, 49er, 420, RS:X, Hobie, etc) had entered the event; the majority were Optimists with 200 on the A‐Optimist course. There were 3 Optimist courses and Jesper was Coptimist Race Officer. The event was extremely well organised and well supported by many sponsors including TORM and Volvo. It was actually a sailing festival with many vendor/sponsor stands including Magic Marine, Winner, and Henri Lloyd, to name a few. Everything is expensive in Denmark (25% VAT), so you have to be cautious.

The Big Boat Challenge being run concurrently, contributed to the sailing festival atmosphere.

I was fortunate to be staying with the Tang Kristensen family who lived a short distance from the marina and I could use one of their bicycles to get to the club and back. Others were either sleeping in tents, caravans, B&Bs or even in the back of their cars, in the huge grassed area they have to accommodate the visitors and their boats. There were 285 camping sites, 190 officials and up to 2000 parents/siblings as back up.

On Sunday the temperature had fallen and the wind was 12‐15 knots from the west. We started the first race, but I didn't manage to get around with out capsizing. There were two general recalls for the second race and they raised the black flag before the 3rd start attempt.

This race proved to be too testing for me in a borrowed boat that was not completely set up the way I like (a good excuse?). I had a good first leg but capsized several times downwind. My vang must have not been adjusted properly. The wind strength increased to 25 knots as I retired from the race and ate my lunch. I am sure there were gusts to 30 knots out on the water, so I decided to sail back into the marina on a very long tack. The only damage I noticed was a broken centreboard in another boat and a drop in my confidence.

The Contenders completed 6 races altogether allowing 1 drop. Søren won all but one race and was clearly the fastest in the Contender fleet. His mate Jacob Lunding came 2nd and Christoph Engel came 3rd. I came 20th with best race 18th.

The boat needed a better (and younger) sailor than I. We packed up and said goodbye, until next time.

The Optimists and Zoom8s (small version of Europe Dinghy) had teams racing on the Monday in a more sensible 10‐15 knots. Jesper and I looked after the top mark of the short rectangular course. There were 4 boats in each team and one reserve. Multiple short 15‐minute races were held in round robin fashion between each team. In the end the German Optimist team won as they did in the A‐Optimist fleet racing winning the 1st three places after six races.

A feature also on the Monday was a "test‐something‐new" opportunity for youth to try sailing a new type of boat such as a 29er, 420, or Contender?

I lleft Denmark with a strong desire to return to Sail Extreme in 2011, next time with my sons and see more of Denmark. The Danish families at Kerteminde Sejlklub were extremely friendly and they hope I have started a trend of more Australians coming to Sail Extreme.

I owe much gratitude to Jesper Tang Kristensen (Kerteminde Sejlklub) and his family and friends as well as Søren Dulong Andreasen (Danish Contender Association) and his family for a fantastic time.

Ian Kirkwood