Saturday, June 19, 2010

Long Day

June 19, 1:00am Jetlag and Punk Rock
Jen here,
Why is it that jetlag gets so much worse before it gets better? As I write this it's 1:00am on the morning of our first day of racing here in Kiel. Most other teams are sound asleep, with a few exceptions who are still needling away at the boat park. Yours truly, however, is contending with night number four of no sleep. The first night in Kiel was fairly typical: work hard to stay awake as long as possible and at the stroke of 9:00pm collapse into bed after over thirty hours in transit. Then came two nights of waking up at 4:00am-presumably because it's supper time. Those nights were dealt with by drinking three cups of tea while reading the sequel to Three Cups of Tea. Tonight, however, is a wee bit different. Our hostel lies across the street from an establishment called "The Hot Rock." The Hot Rock is a punk metal bar, and is hopping on a Friday night. Just as I drifted off to sleep this evening I was awoken by animated yelling and screaming from across the street. "Here we go again" I thought, and braced myself for an indeterminate period of lying in my bed and watching the ceiling. At first I used the time productively, I visualized the start sequence and how I'd like to position my boat. Then I reviewed my goals for tomorrow. After about half an hour, though, my thoughts began to drift towards the revellers across the street. How do they get their Mohawks to stand up so straight and what happens if it rains? Admittedly, I've never seen a punk rocker out in the pouring rain. What about the dye jobs, how do they get the colours to fade from red to yellow so evenly? Very productive for someone who should be resting up for the 16-20 knots forecast for today. Now, as I'm sitting writing this I can see a group of these punk metal fans hanging outside the entrance to The Hot Rock. Perhaps they're discussing their combat boots, or maybe the placement of the studs on one of their jackets, it's hard to tell. There is, however, some very coiffed hair, some moments of intense chatter followed by loud boisterous laughter, and a lot of beer. The night is still young for these partiers and I think that the evening, like my jetlag, is going to get worse before it gets better. What do you think would happen if I strolled over there in my pyjamas and blond fuzzy hair and explained to them that I'm just a poor little Canadian sailor trying to get some shut eye before Kieler Woche? Given how nice and how polite everyone here is, they would very likely apologize, buy me a beer, and then convince me to try out a new hairstyle. This is not what I want though; want I want is for the elusive sandman to come and shower me with his charms.
June 19 PM - Erin
So today was another long day. We got up at 6 am and over-cooked some eggs which we gagged down. Headed to the site at 7 am. Rigged and double checked everything, got dressed in almost everything we own (its freaking cold here people! The Aussies etc. are not pleased). We were ready to go on the slipway at 8.30. I put on my third rashguard, splash top, harness, over-rashguard - and then the announcement came on the intercom (Auchtung!) that we were postponed. Why? Because they couldn't do the fleet splits yet because there were STILL people registering! In fact, a trailer with 2 470's on it rolled in (and parked right on the launching ramp) at 9 am. Seriously! So hung out with the Isreali girls, who would really like to go to the 470 European Championships in Istanbul but might not be allowed to enter the Country.
Anyways - got on the water super early (we let a German team launch before us just so we'd know where to go). Headed out to the racecourse. Wind about 12-15 from the West. This is about when we discovered our spinnaker wouldn't go up. So we fiddled with that and got it up finally. Out to the race course, dropped a pin setting (this involves me physically moving the mast step while the boat goes over 6 foot waves) tuned up and headed back towards the starting line. As we were prepping for the start Jen pulled on the Vang - and it exploded! I did an awesome Miguiver fix with the spare parts we brought out with us and we got off the line. The boat was not working properly. It was full of water, Jen had tons of helm, the main sheet would not trim through the blocks, the jib sheets were too short and tangling. We capsized on one of our first tacks as I got totally stuck and tangled with the Jib. By the time we got it up the fleet was gone. We decided not to chase the fleet around but to get our boat working. The wind was now up to 20 knots, so we pinned down again and tried to fix a few things. The spinnnaker would now not go up at all. This is where we made the painful decision to retire for the day and continue working on the boat. We could have raced the next two races without a spinnaker and been lapped and still not have a working boat for tomorrow, or we could fix things so we can race again tomorrow.
So we came in and started the boat work over again. The man in the chandlery is now giving us a discount as we have purchased so much from him, and we have made some friends borrowing tools off other teams. And we are not alone in the boat fixing! Many other teams didn't finish races today and kept us company in the boatpark working on their own boats.
So far we have replaced the vang line and fittings, jib sheets, main blocks, re-rivetted main fittings, re-rivetted pole ends, spliced and run new tweaker lines, spliced a continous adjustable bridle/traveller (this took me three hours), replaced the spinnaker handle and re-spliced the halyard, replaced and spliced the jib halyard retrieval line, replaced the rudder with our spare rudder, replaced the jib halyard sheave box in the mast, and a whole host of other things.
We just got home from the boatpark and ate some leftovers for dinner.
Tomorrow is another day, I really hope we get some racing off!

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