Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gold Cup 2006

Here's the link to the Gold Cup web site:
Goldcup 2006 - Wellcome frame
Here's a link the SF guys did while I was in Denmark:
San Francisco Bay Folkboat Association

Cassandra met me in Copenhagen and we had a blast doing day trips all over the place. We rode bikes through Christianshaven, Chritiania, Holmen and Nyholm. We took trains to Helsingborg and Malmø, but now it's time to go to Bogense. We took a train to Odense and hopped a bus to Bogense. We settled into our hotel and went exploring. Once Richard and Dondon arrived we made our plane to pick up our boat in Vijle.

The next morning we drove over to Vijle to meet Knud Nielsen and take our borrowed boat across to Bogense. At the meeting place we discovered the Børresen boatyard where many folkboats had been made... they now build more Dragons than anything, but from the looks of things, the yard is not what it used to be.

The Børresen flat bed truck for boat transport.

The various yacht club bergies of the local clubs.

This is Therese. A beautiful 1983 Andreasen built folkboat that looked like it was just built. A local race champion boat, I was honored to be trusted with Knud's, "memeber of the family". He is the original owner and I imagine he will be this boat's owner for many more years to come.
I promised to take care of her and that we did.

Leaving the harbor was tricky because the wind had shifted from its usual direction and instead of a downwind departure we had to tack upwind through a narrow channel. This is a bridge we sailed under to get out into the bay.

Knud had stocked the bilge with beers, water and snacks. Again, things were shaping up to be a great time and now I get to sail a boat in Denmark with Cassandra, Richard and Dondon... life is good.

We took turns at the helm on our 6 and a half hour sail to Bogense.

We arrived before most of the other boats and staked out this spot on the dock and pretty much came back to the same place everyday after racing. It rained so much that we had to put the cover on each day.

These are cute little Danish ducks with their mama.

Here they are again eating stuff of the side of a boat... who knew a folkboat could double as a salad bar for baby ducks?

Once the boat is secured a nice cold Danish beer hits the spot.

There is something riveting about a bunch of folkboats all lined up like this... its so fun to walk up and down the dock looking at the subtle differences, yet they are all the same.

Every skipper puts his boat away slightly different. They stow their halyards in such a way, roll their sails just so and put their mainsheets in a tidy coil... the list goes on and on. Sometimes you'll look at a guys set up and think... Smart. I'm doing it that way from now on.

When the waters are calm, the reflection of a folkboat is truely a photographer's paradise.

We ran into Werner Erdbrink from Flemmsberg who was in SF for our event in September '05. We spent a good amount of time together with him, Robert Winkler and his son Wulf. Great guys with a great sense of humor... we looked forward to spending time with them each day.

Walking up the dock for afternoon beers after a race.

When we arrived in Bogense I was stoked to see the U.S. flag. It meant they received my registration fee and they knew we were coming. Being the only U.S. entry meant this flag was for us.

The first day the weather was calm, but by the end of the first day of racing....

The wind was more like this!!!

This is the mayor of Bogense welcoming us all to his town and officially opening the regatta.

This was our race committe announcer. He attempted humor with mild success. I shouldn't be so critical, he was a real nice guy.

Werner Erdbrink, Wulf Winkler and myself before dinner.

While we were there the governing body that regulates all things folkboat(NFIA) had their annual meeting, Arne Olsen who I had meet in Marstrand was there and I also met Peter Ament from the U.K. They met in this portable building to discuss the future of aluminum masts and booms and future regattas... they were in there for 4 + hours figuring thngs out. I think, since the meetings are held in English and in cool parts of the world, that we should have a U.S. representative at these meetings... funded by the association, of course. I nominate myself for this position.

There were supposed to be 50 + boats, but only 40 made it for competition. Notably absent was Erik Andreasen... rumor has it there were problems running the boat yard office back home.

Looks complicated, but to the trained eye you can see one subtle difference... a diamond spreader adjuster... the metal bar coming off the mast... this is used to adjust the tension to the changing conditions so the top of the mast can be made more flexible for reasons I will hold to myself. I may have to do this to my boat in the off season.

Cassandra took the camera away from me for most of this trip and captured some great images I was too busy to do.

By this time in the trip I feel like I'm living in a postcard and loving every moment.

Here are some photos of folkboats in the pre race pattern.

The race committee did a great job keeping the line fair and setting the marks. One thing I was not used to... long courses. The windward mark was 2 miles away... you couldn't see it from the start line. All we had was a compass heading. About 1/3 of the way up the course you could finally see it. I thought I was going to hate it, but it gave us time to get seattled in and make some moves... we were able to make up for our habitual bad starts because of these long legs.

Putting the boats away in eye stinging windy wet conditions is fun? We put out a lot of money to do this to ourselves? We must be crazy.

They guy holding the umbrella is Knud Nielsen, the owner of Therese. He came by to check on us and say hi to the other folkboat guys. His visit was cut short because he had to work so much... I would have loved to have spent more time with him.

Yet another familure face, Per Buch and I chat after the races... he went on to win the Gold Cup.

Another familure face from the SF Cup, Bent Nielsen.

There are three differnt types of races: The race to get to the race course, the actual races and the race back to the dock which includes who can stow the boat, all their sails and gear first. The last race is the most important so you don't miss out on the free beer on the dock. If you're good, you ask for 3 beers each.... and one for your cousin.

The best view of the landing is often from above and on the stern.

Another example of how the Danes made us feel at home... strong winds!
The wave patterns were very different... there were no patterns, it was very hard to get into a rythem with the waves because they were of varying sizes and directions. We slammed into this series of 8 deep troughed waves that I swear was going to destroy the boat... there was no recovery from this set... we stopped dead in the water, but so did everyone else around us.

Dinners in the club each evening.

A few shots of the fleet coming in off the water with the winds gusting to 30+ knots.

Sailing with 40 boats is great. And when coming into the dock it's refreshing knowing everyone knows what they are doing and witout being told just gets it done. It's not nearly as hectic as landing at Sam's in Tiburon.

Over all the trip was a success. We ended up 19th out of 40 boats without racing the last day. We were in 17th palce and moving up eac day, but whatever. We came to make friends and sail well. We did that. One guy even said to us, "If you could have better starts, you'd be dangerous." I think that's a compliment. But, I had to get back home... my flight left the last day of the regatta, plus I already missed the first day of school for this. If I had to do it all over again I would have missed the 2nd day as well just to finish the regatta and say good bye to my new friends and hosts.

I thoughly enjoyed my nearly 5 week stay in Sweden and Denmark and did everything I wanted to do and then some. The things I got to do and see were only because of my relationship to the folkboat. Without this membership and network of people I would have been relogated to the trendy tourist traps and hearded off to see the gimics and over priced shops and resturants. I've only been to Europe twice and both times it was because of the folkboat and the great people with good taste in boats. This trip was magical on so many levels and I hope you get that impression from the chapters I wrote and pictures I took. I get it now... I understand why people get so excited and worked up for our folkboat events. It's the people and the mentality that goes along with it. It's the sharing of cultures and traditions and exchanging them with the idea that I'm going to treat these people to the time of their life so when I come over to their country I can have the same experience... and we are privelidged humans because of it. I can't wait to hear from the folkboat people in Europe telling me they are coming for a visit. It will be my turn to show them how we do things here in SF. So, to all you folkboaters over across the pond... just drop a note and tell us you're coming... we'll show you a good time.


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