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Berlin Musto Skiff Trophy at Bodensee, Germany

by Heiko Schneider & Frithjof Schwerdt 23 Oct 2012 18:03 BST 25-26 August 2012
Berlin Musto Skiff Trophy © Stewart Patience

Heiko Schneider's report on the event

I was looking forward to a nice weekend of sailing in Berlin as I attached my trailer to my car. After a six hour drive from Oelde (North Rhine-Westphalia), I couldn't believe my eyes. First you have this huge city, then there's this stunning lake so close to the city centre. It's an exciting combination that really makes Berlin unique.

I quickly parked the boat and checked into my room. Then a small group of us headed to the beer garden to talk about our sailing experiences, boat tuning and of course to learn about Wannsee. Saturday was the first race day, so we had to rig our boats.

We were happy to learn that the launch had been postponed from 11am to 12pm, so everybody was able to get onto the water on time. In the first race there was a softly blowing breeze, but throughout the course of the day the wind became increasingly intense. In other words, it was great sailing weather. The temperature was pleasant and there were just a few clouds, and we were able to sail four races. There were lots of gusts and wind shifts, so I was constantly getting in and out on the wire, which was quite exhausting and required a lot of concentration.

During the breaks we had plenty of time to relax, because the races were only about 30 minutes long and we had to wait for the 29ers sharing a course with us. In the late afternoon the clubhouse served Leberkäse in bread rolls and free drinks and after a great day's sailing, we enjoyed a lovely evening back at the beer garden.

On the morning of the second race day the wind was even stronger. At 11am we were ready to start and everything was going according to plan. But unfortunately there were only eight boats on the starting line, because two sailors had been slightly injured on Saturday.

The weather was beautiful again, although everyone had a little trouble keeping the boats upright and we frequently capsized. Righting the boats wasn't easy given the wind that was gusting at 25 knots, but we had to be quick to avoid the passing ferries. I've heard that if you're in the way, the ferries simply blow their horns instead of going around you.

After the second race, I decided to join some other Mustos returning to the harbour as I simply lacked the strength to keep tackling the strong winds. Afterwards, a final race with four boats was launched. Rain set in as we were all packing up the boats in the harbour, but luckily by that point we were almost finished. After the ceremony, I hit the road again for another six-hour trek along the highway.

In my opinion, the race was a great success. We enjoyed fantastic weather and the local Mustoskiff sailors did a great job of organising everything. I will definitely come back to Berlin again next year and hopefully even more Mustos will take part in this great sailing event in 2013.

Frithjof Schwerdt's report on the event

Both northern and southern Germans agree upon the beauty of Bodensee and Reichenau Island. Unfortunately, Bodensee didn't exactly show its most attractive side during the first few days of the Mustoskiff German Open which was, incidentally, held together with the German 470 Championship. We were greeted by clouds, rain and very little wind. Not exactly ideal for the avid skiff sailor.

Nevertheless the second day saw four races which presented the usual tricky conditions of inland waters with the field going sometimes left and sometimes right. Positions changed on every upwind leg, with the exception of Swiss sailing pro Nicolas Duchoud, who was familiar with the conditions and comfortably led the field. Whether Duchoud's success was due to the field's long night partying in Constance or his exceptional racing tactics, I won't venture an opinion.

At the end of the day a "buddy system" was introduced, which prompted an enthusiastic exchange of knowledge and expertise. The idea behind it is that a good sailor can help a highly motivated sailor to improve his skills. The field was subsequently divided into pairs for coaching and the team that improved the most won.

On the third day a few rays of sun broke through to warm the Mustoskiff fleet. Unfortunately the wind wasn't quite as cooperative, so no further races were held. On the final day of the regatta it was more of the same, so participants took part in the alternative program organised by the dinghy sailors of Reichenau Island: a hike up to the highest part of the island, followed by a wine tasting. Alongside exquisite regional wines, we were also rewarded with a magnificent view of the perfectly still Bodensee and Reichenau Island.

In the afternoon we were granted a light breeze that was sufficient for a race to take place so all competitors were able to scratch a race. The German Open 2012 was won by Nicolas Duchoud, with Roger Oswald and Paul Dijkstra taking second and third places. The top German competitor was Iver Ahlmann who came in fourth.

At the awards ceremony, all participants received a vegetable basket from the Reichenau region and prizes courtesy of the Steinlechner Shipyard. Many thanks go to Jollensegler Reichenau Association for hosting this great event.

Full results [PDF]

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