by Rob Burn
Greetings from Lake Neuseidl, Austria, known as the beach of Vienna.
The Lake is the venue of the 2012 420 Open and Ladies Championships. Nearly four hundred sailors from 28 nations are here to sail probably the most popular two handed One Design boat there is.
The New Zealand two-boat Team is made up of Sam Lee and Sam Thomas of Charteris Bay Yacht Club, Christchurch, and Taylor Burn and Oscar Rorvik, of Queen Charlotte Yacht Club, Picton and Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club, Tauranga.
Tobias Koeb of Austria is the NZL Team Coach. Tobias was formerly the Club coach of Queen Charlotte Yacht Club and is well used to Kiwis. His knowledge of the Lake and local conditions has been fabulous for the past week the Team has been training here and to have someone the speaks the language, knows all the local ins and outs is a godsend. Everything from accommodation to coachboats are at good 'mates rates'. Tobias could be a great resource for NZL to make use of in Europe as a more affordable option for Classes such as Optimists through to 470's.
The Opening Ceremony and March Past was held last night in breezy and humid weather, the speeches pleasantly short and the pasta dinner afterwards was enjoyed by all. Even the rain and thunder held off until we almost reached the car.
The sailors even had their picture taken with Christophe Seeber, Austria's Gold Medalist windsurfer from the the Sydney Olympics. Christophe runs all the sailing here from 420's to Kiteboarding and windsurfing and Standup Paddle boards, he even has a surfing wave machine. A true Austrian sailing hero and nice guy.
The sailors have enjoyed a wide variety of conditions on the Lake so far from hot, humid and breathless to 20 knots plus. The Lake is very shallow, average depth is 1.5 metres, except where the Allies dropped bombs on the way in and out of Vienna, just down the Lake. I am told the craters are pretty deep. The weather blows up here very quickly and the Austrians have an elaborate warning system if it is about to turn to custard. For several nights the weather has gone from 30 degrees plus to violent thunder and lightning lasting until the early hours.
The Practice Race was held mid afternoon as the wind built to around 5-7 knots. The less said about the Race the better. The usual shambles but at least the sailors find their way to the Committee Boats, see the colour of the Marks and the Race Officials find what flags they may have left behind. Our boys were happy with their speed and came in early as the wind dropped and the rain came in.
Business time tomorrow. Three races are scheduled for the first day of racing and the forecast is 15-20 knots. Follow the action at www.420sailing.org
A huge thank you to all our Supporters and Sponsors for getting the Team this far. Thank you to the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club, Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club, Charteris Bay and Naval Point Clubs and to all the individuals, businesses and Service Clubs who helped so generously. Special thanks to the New Zealand International Yachting Trust, your support makes such a difference to young champions.
NZL Team Leader