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RC Laser International Regatta at Rethmar Golf Course, Germany

by Tony Wilson 23 Aug 10:56 BST
International RC Laser event at Rethmar, Northern Germany © Dirk Tesmer

Have you ever sailed on a golf course? Any body of water with a depth of a couple of feet will suffice to sail our remote control boats. Even swimming pools and man-made tubs for exhibition purposes have been used to great success. A lake on the Rethmar golf course in the North of Germany was our location for another sail with the Lasers to tie in with last weekend's Europeans.

Hans Hausmann and Dirk Tesmer had been very busy organizing the event and on the day were going to run the show. For those not too familiar with Northern Germany, Rethmar is quite close to Hannover and is situated on the lay line half way between Rotterdam and Berlin. The golf course has four lakes, any of which if needed would be big enough to sail our boats if required. An entry list of fifteen skippers covering four Nations with a favourable light forecast that would probably suit the locals most or for any others that are use to using inland water.

Dirk had been willing and had volunteered himself as Race Officer for the weekend. Hans had fallen the previous week, although recovered was unable to attend on the day. The forecast was for a West to South-West direction and we had been moved over to lake number 4 as the nearest lake had been drained for maintenance, but due to nearly two full months of no rain and a ban on using the canal to top up, the nearest lake was lacking water. Lake number 1 is horseshoe shaped and great for visibility, but not to fear, Hans had already prepared us well and roped off the next best and placed buoys accordingly and is only a further 200 meters away from the cars.

Two green marks as the start line, an orange mark numbered 1 as the windward mark, another orange numbered 2 both taken to port, and then down to a pair of red buoys as a gate repeated for a second lap and a finish next to a small jetty. Twelve skippers at the ready for an 11am start and three races were had before a 1 hour break. It was hot, it was very hot, or in the words to one of Stevie Wonder's music records, 'It was hotter than July' but maybe not to the locals. Plenty of fluids taken on board over lunch or a good pint of shandy and a portion of currywurst and pommes fritze, although some went for the giant plate of mixed salad and king size prawns.

The early races were a bit of a challenge as the wind was slightly off course and we had the island to contend with as it split the flow of air.. The beat was more of a, follow my leader reach, until the wind gently swung around later through the day. The far mark was in a dead spot and somehow mirrored a false image for a few to miss and make a correct rounding. Dirk in his dinghy moved this one around over the lunch break and we were good to go again. The start line was lengthened and eventually we added an extra buoy for the slight bias to give us a good windward beat. We persevered with the one group and self policing was required for any infringement of the rules, but it was very difficult when at distance without a second judge.

Christel from Belgium seemed to be the runaway boat and had some very good starts. Others whether timed it wrong or caught too close to the shallow water may have had to play catch up. We had Tacco from Holland and Tony from England joining the rest of Germany to make this a truly International event. Start after start, one race followed by another very quickly and by the end of the day we had completed 16 full on races. Dirk totted up the results and added the 3 discards. The discards didn't actually change the order and now it was time for a great worthwhile rest. Some took it as a normal days sailing, but I think I was suffering heat stroke as needed a short sleep and some medication. Enticed eventually by the Motorhome crews after some evening food we gathered round Ralf's for a couple of bottles of bubbly that he cracked open for celebrated anniversary along with some red wine.

Day 2 and the forecast was very similar with a temperature that was supposed to be about 25 degrees. but was actually 30 degrees and plenty more fluids were needed. 'A' sail were mainly used, but sometimes the top end called for a change down to 'B'. We had an additional 10 races with a lunch break in between to finally finish Sunday at about 14:30 for prize giving outside the golf club restaurant. Cake and more beer and a final conclusion to sum up the weekend by Dirk had followed to close play.

The event was well run and we had probably enjoyed more races than were anticipated which was good and to some maybe a challenge if you were not used to inland water sailing, but it all helps and does you no harm into making you a better all round sailor.

I learnt much from the weekend and also enjoyed the exchange of experiences in the evening and down time.

Dirk tells me they have at least a half dozen locations where they sail in the region, but this is the best. A car park that is close by that makes it not to far to carry your gear and also great surroundings. Thanks again to all to making this a great success, despite a few hurdles to overcome. Sometimes we forget how much organizing goes into a large event like this.

We have a few promises of visits from the International skippers coming to the UK for our final RC Laser TT and joint Nationals on the last weekend of October, which is good.

Overall Results: (top three)

1 Christel Crakko (BEL) 58pts
2 Ralf Baumgart (GER) 86pts
3 Tacco Faber (NED) 95pts

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