Last month, from June 10th to 13th, I attended the 77th Nordseewoche in Helgoland on board of the XS. It's Germany's largest regatta event and hundreds of boats join in.
We started in Hamburg with a large, free banquet. Free food and beer. And good bbq: Roast suckling pig and various cuts of beef from a real American smoker. The first race from Hamburg to Cuxhaven was scheduled for the next day. But the starting time was scheduled so late in the morning that you would get stuck in the currents of the rising tide on the Elbe river. And that would mean painful sailing with little wind against a strong current for hours. So we decided not to do that and left for a night cruise to Brunsbüttel (east of Cuxhaven on the northern shore). I slept through this cruise because my crew decided it wasn't necessary to wake me up for this trip. Nice, because now I had the whole day in Cuxhaven and went a little geocaching
The first race we participated was the track from Cuxhaven to Helgoland. Took a couple of hours and was a nice trip, but later the wind stopped and we were floating around. Even the nice, new sails couldn't help. But then we had a sudden, strong weather front coming through. Lots of wind and it was me who had to go to the front and take down the genoa. I got so soaked. Salt and fresh water from any possible direction and thanks to the high waves I was thrown around like a little tennis ball on the frontdeck. I skinned my shin quite badly, but I felt great! Anyway, we came in 16th out of 20 ships that started. Since the big ship's crews already got in hours earlier we had no problem to get a table in our favourite fish restaurant.
The race committee really messed up this start. We had no wind so they decided to start later but wanted everyone out on the water and spontaneously decide later on which track to sail when exactly. This is totally fine. The big mistake was not to use any of the prepared courses described in the racing instructions everyone had on board. This would have been an easy information via the radio like: 'We will start in 10 minutes sailing course 2A.'. Instead they decided to set up a completely new course and anouncing it on the radio, describing all the details about where to start, where all the buoys are and how to sail around them. To 100+ ships! It was chaos. It took like an hour to answer all the questions and requests to repeat until everyone understood the descriptions. Still there were misunderstandings and I heard one sailor is going to sue the racing committee about the inaccurate description of the position of the windward buoy. We had trouble finding it as well and got in a fight over where to sail to in order to find it.
Afer we were drifting around next to and chatting with the crew of the Concetta on our way from Cuxhaven to Helgoland we had a neck-and-neck race with them on this race and made friends with them. Although we came in before them
Tonight's party was quite fun because I met actual locals and not only visiting sailors. And I met a friend who is part of the organizing committee
For monday the weather forecast was quite bad. Very strong winds and so it was decided not to take part in the planned race. Instead we took a day off and went shopping until our scheduled return trip to Cuxhaven later that day. I got a couple of tax-free sweets and other luxury goods for friends. Right before leaving I fetched a geocache next to the harbour. The trip back to Cuxhaven was okay and we got there late at night. I got a cab and met up with Tiên.
The harbour was way over capacity
After I spent the night at his place we went geocaching in Cuxhaven and Tiên found his first caches Unfortunately we solved a challenging mystery cache just to find out the chache-container was gone. In the evening I took the train back home.
Wasserturm & Schlosspark.
On our way to the mystery cache.
All in all I had a great time and hope I can join Nordseewoche again in 2012!