Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sept wave sailing

Back from Germany and it's windy. I just had the first wave session since March, all summer I have been testing and training for speed and now I realise why I love wave sailing so much. It was light and on shore but was great to feel the freedom of sailing with a wave sail and board.

No time to rest though Weymouth is comming up and I feel sooo ready, can't wait.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Just back from the German speed event, knackered after the drive.

I'll put a full report together on the blog site later on in the week but I thought I'd let you know how things went.

The course in Fehmarn is in the middle of a big natuarl harbour. No real flat off shore speed strip at all and full of weed. No one told me I would need weed fins. After being so confident with the fins I have that was a real shocker. I borrowed two fins from a local fin maker, a 24cm and 28cm ( all he had ), and had to swap them around the boards I used. With the winds we had and sea conditions I used the Isonic 101 and 94. The last day I should have used the 122 and the second day I could have used the speed 58.

The course was about 1 mile upwind from the rigging area and each leg was 1.5hrs. 1.5hrs sounds like a long time but if your out with the wrong kit or the wind changes you haven't really got time to sail back downwind change and beat back up especially with weed fins that are too small.

Race Day One

leg one
About 20 knots, 8m on the 101, broad course with wind chop up to 18" high (the chop stayed the same in every round)
Placed 8th with a 2 x 500m average of 30.9 knots, max 33.9

leg two
Wind picked up a bit and changed down to the 7.3 on the 101. They change the course and made it squarer.
Placed 14th with 2 x 500m average of 29.7 max 31.89
Fin was way too small. I couldn't do anything about it the board was slipping sideways.

Race day 2

Leg 3
25 -28 knots wind 6.6 on the 94
Placed 9th with 2 x 500m average of 32.4 max 35.7

leg 4
Wind dropped a bit. 7.3m on the 101ltr. Should of stayed on the 94 ltr board
Placed 15th with 2 x 500m average of 31.1 max 34.6

Leg 5
Wind dropping after the race started. On the 7.3 and 94. The main start bouy started drifting during this race which meant that the course was getting tighter all the time. The race was thrown out due to this but then reinstated.
Placed 13th 2 x 500m average of 29.8, max of 32.8

Race day 3

Leg 6
Wind blowing 20 knots but forcast to drop. On the 8.8 with the 101. As the race started the wind started to drop and I was struggling to get runs in. I should of been on the 122 ltr board but it wasn't finned up and I would of had time to change.
Placed 17th average of 26.2, max of 30 knots.

Overall after 6 legs and one discard I placed 12th. 1st place International and 1st placed guest.

Being 110kg board size is critical for me. I either plane or sink. On the windiest leg I could have used the Isonic speed 58 which would have been faster but with the course so far up wind changing equipment during a leg wasn't practical.

Fins again were a huge issue but out of my control, I was lucky to find weed fins at all.

Leg 5 should have been chucked out.

The sails are as fast as the Norths, Prydes and Gaastras but the package of sail, board and fin have to be right. Changing equipent during the legs wasn't possible however it will be in Weymouth and France.

12th should bring my overall ranking up to 30 ish now that the ranking system has changed. With Weymouth and France I think top 16 is achievable. This year everthing revolves around France, it has the most points by far. 3 events to count for the ranking.

1st International doesn't mean much to me but it did bring a lot of media attention and my kids where please to see two trophies brought back.

Under the circumstances 12th was a good finish but I always want more.




No wind on the first day of competition at the German speed surfing in Orth on the island of Fehmarn. The last of the sailors signed in for what they hoped was going to be an epic battle of speed over a 500m course. All the title contenders to be crowned German Speed Champion have turned up, last year's winner Alexander Lehmann, Thorsten Mallon, Manfred Merle, Michael Naumann and Martyn Ogier travelling form Guernsey to enter his first German event. All together there is a starting line-up of 67 competitors and 16 internationals. On the women’s side we have the current German champion Birgit Höfer and Steffi Whal in the starting list.

Unfortunately the wind was not strong enough for an official race on day 1 however the mid-week forecast is very promising.

In the meantime a solid program of activities is planned to keep the sailors occupied including Stand-up paddling and seminars for everyone keep boredom at bay.



On windless day two of the competition in the morning Wolfgang Lessach held a lecture on the proper use of the Speed Finns and as expected this ended in a controversial discussion, which probably still persists.

In the afternoon as part of the Rip Curl German SUP Challenge a GPS paddle speed competition took place on Naish SUP boards.

The women’s results in the SEA Paddle comp were 1st Caro Weber, 2nd Place Birgit Höfer, 3rd Roswitha Merle.

In the men 1st Andreas Wolter, 2nd Christian Hahn Platz, 3rd Place Andy Mattausch,4th place Manfred Merle.

During the day a lot of visitors turned up to stroll through the rigging area asking questions and checking out the speed equipment being readied for the next day’s optimistic forecast.



The day starts sunny and no wind but with a Forecast that from midday the wind will increase from east with gusts up to 19 knots. A slight uneasiness crept around the competitors as one after the other skippers meeting were put on standby waiting for the wind to increase. At 17.00 the green flag was hoisted for a fun race, the best 5 x 10 second runs to decide the winner.

In the evening a good humoured annual general meeting of the German Speed Tour was held in the tavern "Syrtaki".



Here it is! Southeast winds up to 24 knots. The course is set in the eastern Bay of Orth about 200m away from the rigging area. At 11:00 clock the first race is started. The wind is very gusty with sailors taking between 7 and 8 square meter sails. A 1.5 hour race on starboard tack over a 500m course, the average of your best two runs to count.

Michael Naumann took the win from Uwe-Soren Schmidt second and Gunnar Asmussen third. Martyn Ogier was the first international struggling in the light gusty winds in 8th place.

After three-hour break for the competitors to get some food and the results to be published the second race was started. The wind had swung slightly and increased in the gusts allowing the sailors to change down a sail size.



11:45 No.3 race was started. The course had been re-laid to run on Port tack. The wind had increased again since yesterday allowing most sailors to be on 6.3m sails. This time, Gunnar Asmussen won the day ahead on Michael Naumann, and Armin Höfer. Martyn Ogier top international for the third race in succession placing 9th
13:50 race No. 4, same wind direction but slightly lighter than the mornings race. With the course set out in the middle of a huge natural harbour the wind strength wasn’t making much difference on board speeds at all, it was the sea state that kept speeds down to the mid 30 knots mark. Gunnar Asmussen won yet again confirming his desire to win his first speed competition, second was Uwe-Sören Schmidt and third Michael Naumann. Martyn Ogier kept up his dominance for the international trophy with another win in that category.

17.00 Just as everybody was packing up thinking the day was done race No 5 was announced to start in 30 minutes. Another great race saw Gunnar Asmussen win from Michael Naumann and Uwe-Sören Schmidt third.



The rules for the German Tour are that if one sailor completes at least five runs over 25 knots the day counts. Winds were between 10 – 15 knots. All the competitors on their largest kit (maximum sail size permitted 9m). Gunnar Asmussen won from

Michael Naumann and Uwe-Sören Schmidt third again confirming their rankings in that order for the week. Martyn Ogier won the International fleet and 12th overall in the main event.



On the penultimate day of competition saw the competitors waiting in vain for the wind.

The highlight of the day on the 20-year anniversary of the German Speed Tour was the KA-Sails team raffling off a brand new KA-race sail. Followed by tasty cocktails.

The current ranking for the event sees Gunnar Asmussen (F2/North) 1st, Michael Naumann (The Loft / Exocet) 2nd and Uwe-Sören Schmidt (Surftools) 3rd.

In the woman’s event Steffi Wahl wins ahead of Birgit Höfer and Anja Kruse.



Drizzle and no wind meant competitors started packing up ready for the prize giving at 15.00.

The German Speed Championships were sponsored by Nordswell Surfwear , Camp Inn Fehmarn, Windsurfing Journal, Design Lessach and the Tourism Association of Fehmarn.

Results Men

1st Gunnar Asmussen (F2/North)
2nd Michael Naumann (The Loft / Exocet)
3rd Uwe-Sören Schmidt (Surftools)
12th Martyn Ogier (Hot Sails Maui / Starboard / Flying Objects / Black Project Fins)

Results Woman

1st Steffi Wahl
2nd Birgit Höfer
3rd Anja Kruse
Results International sailors
1st Martyn Ogier (Hot Sails Maui / Starboard / Flying Objects / Black Project Fins)

Martyn Ogier receiving the 1st place international sailor prize

Sunday, September 5, 2010

German Speed Sailing Championships

What a journey. The German championships have always been an event I wanted to attend, back in the past it was always well attended by the big guns, Maka etc.

Getting here has been a bit of a adventure on its own. Living in a small island like Guernsey getting anywhere can be difficult and costly. The only way I could see of getting to Germany in the quickest time was to ship my van to England without me, pick it up at Southampton airport, drive to the Euro Tunnel and drive up from Calais. All went to plan, the van left on Monday 30th without me and I flew on the red eye on the 2nd.

6am start on the 2nd, picked up my van just after 8am and on the road. 2.5 hrs later and I was in Folkestone ready for the tunnel. Its quite daunting turning up without a clue of where to go or what to do. I was ahead of schedule as I had prebooked the tunnel crossing for 12.30. By now I was in a cue of traffic going through the self checkin, no way of getting out of it but to my great relief when I got to the automated check in, tapped in my booking code, it told me that I could go on the next train.

All going to plan and ahead of schedule. I didn't know how long the train would take but decided to try and have a nap as I would have a 9 hr drive the other side. I just got off dreaming epic speed conditions when the annoucer informed us that we had arrived, 30 mins from leaving. Not much of a nap but well ahead of schedule now.

Sat navs are so great. I know 99% of people will read this and say "yeah so what" but I have never had the need for one until now. I entered the destination "Fehmarn" and off I went. 6 hours driving through France maybe Belgium and Holland, difficult to tell when your following the sat nav and all the names look the same (foriegn) then into Germany and I need to stop. The german motorways don't have as many petrol stations and hotels along the way as in France so finding one took a little longer than expected but find one I did and had a good night sleep and food.

Friday 2nd and I am up early and on the road by 8am with approximately 3 hours to go. It's feels lot easier than driving yesterday evening and before I know it I am at the bridge that takes you over to Fehmarn Island in the Baltic sea.

Fehmarn is approximately 10 miles square. The motorway from mainland Germany runs straight over the connecting bridge and on to Puttgarden on the North East of the island where there is the main ferry port for freight and transport on to Denmark.

We are based on the South West side on Fehmarn in a small village / marina called Orth. It's quite similar in feal to Weymouth, lots of yatchs and small boats pottering about. Lovely cafes and resturants with outside seating, a holiday type of place.

From first arriving the speed sailing potential is obvious. It doesn't matter which direction the wind is, there will be a speed strip to sail.

Most of the competitors have turned up on the Friday however the registration is open on the Saturday morning as well. We are based in a field adjoing two potential speed strips, on to the west and one to the east. Both only 100m away. The rigging area is next to the camping area in the field and it is no surprise given the Germans history of travelling through Europe that they have pitched up in there camper vans.