Rob Burn reports from the Czech Splash Worlds Days 1-4 from Lake Lipno, Czech Republic: Worlds Day 1:
First Blood to the Kiwis...
Taylor Burn opens his account of the first day of the Splash Class Worlds at Lake Lipno, Czech Republic. Two wins in the first two races, a third in the last race of the day put him 13 points ahead of his nearest rival.
The Practice Race the day before was the usual shambles, most forgetting which flight they were supposed to start in and then finishing at the most convenient mark for a quick sail home, well before the race was over ....all good fun but must drive the Race Committee nuts.
The Opening ceremony was held after the Practice Race, some short speeches and official stuff then the sailors and supporters were treated to a Czech Folk music and dancing trio dressed in traditional garb. I was convinced one was dancing with a small, hairy dog but that turned out to be the Czech version of the Bagpipes ...Great entertainment and a slice of Czech culture. The ceremony was capped by a mass toast to the events success before a typical Czech dinner.
The Toast is part of Czech hospitality, and I am not sure my liver can survive more than a few days of this pace. The original Budweiser Beer comes from just up the road and they have this great liquor ....sounds like 'buggeroffkavich' and tastes like 'Christmas in a glass' .. Come over and try it. All along the side of the Lake are little camping areas and windsurfing schools, tiny bars in each one, us hard working supporters just move up and down the Lake as the wind direct and course changes. The beer is cheaper than soft drinks!
The 1st warning signal was scheduled for 11am but the sailors were held on shore. Sam and I paddled our SUPs the length of the course while we waited. Finally they deemed enough wind for a start. The conditions were very light and shifty all day, some rain and mist too with a major wind shift that caught many of the sailors out. !4 got Black Flagged in the second race, a few more in the third.
Evangeline Masters had a couple of average races then a blinder for the third, leading most of the way before being overhauled in a windshift, finishing sixth, her best to date. Harris Bindon was further back than he would have liked in his races, the first two twenty first and twenty second, staying in the top third of the fleet, the third race was a little further back as he got dealt to but the shifty conditions.
O'Shea Butler started well with a thirteenth then a complete disaster for the next two races, two Black Flags. O'Shea is a great sailor and a strong character and while this is a set back to his campaign, there is a long way to go and he will rise to meet the challenge.
After three races the overall places are Taylor Burn 1st, Evangeline Masters 16th, Harris Bindon 21st, O'Shea Butler 53rd.
The fleet of 67 Splashes and 7 Flashes is small compared to previous years but the top third at least are very good sailors, it is a battle out there. Apparently the famous 'Sneek Week' the biggest Dutch youth sailing event was just the week before and many couldn't travel to both. The Organisers are a little disappointed with the numbers but all of us are having the best time so far, it is very social and the sailors are making great friends and mixing well.
More of the same light weather is forecast for tomorrow,, wish us all luck.
Jonathon Masters is taking some great shots I hope to include some of those in the upcoming reports. Go to www.splashworlds.org
for results and more stories. Day 2:
The day that almost was .....
Greetings from a warm and sunny Lake Lipno, windless for most of the day but the Splashes and Flashes were launched about 3.30pm with the hope of a slight but building breeze.
Sam and I got so excited, we rushed next door to hire our Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP's) again and paddled furiously at to the start line in time to see the gun go and all four of our Kiwi team crack off the start line like jackrabbits.
The breeze was very light but still sailable and further furious paddling got us up to the top mark, Evangeline 3rd around, Taylor 4th, O'Shea 6th and Harris 8th.
A couple of Dutch girls and the second placed sailor overall, Max, were also in contention as the fleet closed up around the wing mark and the down wind leg. Taylor had got into second by then and hit the front by a considerable margin on the beat back up to the wing mark. A left shift saw his nemesis, Max...the very same that protested him twice in the previous regatta, hook into a left shift and just pip him around the mark and it was all on for the last down wind. O'Shea moved up into third, Evangeline and Harris were still hanging in the top ten as the breeze started dying away.
One of the Mark boats came speeding up with the 'Abandonment' Flag flying and it was all over for the day......100 meters away from the Gate mark and with 30 minutes of the allotted time limit of the race to go.
We were all left a little disappointed that the race couldn't have been finished earlier at the Wing mark as the race previously had been yesterday, or left to carry on to the Gate mark. All Kiwi sailors in the top ten was a great result, we just have to look to do it all again tomorrow.
The forecast is for much warmer weather and light winds tomorrow, the pressure will be on to get 4 races in to try and get back near to schedule, very hard if there is little wind.
The beach volleyball is proving an energetic distraction and I am sure that Sam is considering SUP paddling as an alternative career.
Did I mention Max's parents in their large hi-tech but 'traditional' sailing boat? They called us over on our paddleboards, poured the wine and beer and we watched the race turn custard-like in the most civilised fashion ....certainly one of the reasons the Splash Class sailing is so enjoyable. Day 3: Ground Hog Day
For those not familiar with the term it means 'same, same' (Google it and get the movie out....)
2011 Splash Worlds, Lake Lipno, Czech Republic - Rob Burn
I write, glass of wine in hand, at the 'midweek Splash party' at the Hotel Racek (seagull in Czech apparently), Kiwi sailors gone to bed, Dutch still having a great time. At least a happy ending to another day of waiting for wind.
Beach volleyball, SUP riding, playing 'Scum' at cards, talking to extremely pretty Dutch girls was again the order of the day while the temperatures soared to the high 20's. At 4.30pm the Flag was lowered, the siren sounded and the sailors hit the water only to get to the start line and watch the light breeze die away to nothing.
Sam and I, plus a new Dutch chum, grabbed the SUP's and once again paddled furiously for the Start line, only this time we were faster than the sailors. A friendly driftathon took place, plenty of high energy swimming and after a suitable period, the order came to tow everyone in.
Us intrepid paddlers headed for a 5 km paddle around the Island again to justify the great food and wine, beer etc at our hotel for the party.
2011 Splash Worlds, Lake Lipno, Czech Republic - Rob Burn
Two more days to go for the Splash Worlds. Forecast tomorrow is for light winds but more than today and up to 12 knots for Friday. The best we can hope for is 4 races tomorrow and same on Friday if they post an amendment to the Sailing Instructions enabling us to start early. We need two discards to get all our sailors up to where they should be.....it will be a very big ask.
Seriously, we are thinking of you all freezing back in NZ in the grip for the latest polar blast....that sunburn is awful.....
Photos attached are mainly from Jonathon Masters, he is fantastic ..and has the long range lense ...the ones from the SUP are mine.
As always, a huge thank you to all our sponsors, supporters and well wishers Day 4:
Taylor Burn consolidates lead with win in only race of the day, 26 points clear.
'It's like deja vu all over again' Yogi Berra, famous American baseball player......
The pressure was on today with the need to get as many races as possible to try and make up for the two windless days. The sailors launched at 10am to prepare for an 11.00am start but the light breeze refused to co operate, dying out once more. With temperatures soaring most made the decision to head for the beach and the shady trees.
Taylor headed out with the Czech Splash Team and the Television crew to re create some of the race course action and as they started filming, the wind came in and the sailors started to gather from the beach volley ball and their card games. Waiting the required hour as per the Sailing Instructions took some patience but a Start was under way by around 4.30pm in 2 -5 knots of breeze that looked like it might build.
The Kiwis all claimed the Start but it was Taylor who Port-tacked the fleet and shot out into the lead, never coming close to losing it even with the dying breeze on the last downwind leg. He was chased hard by Danielle de Jong all race but she didn't manage to make any ground on him.
O'Shea, Evangeline and Harris had great starts and were in the top of the fleet at the Top Mark but lost places on the second beat up as the fleet tried to work the narrow fingers of dying breeze. They finished as a team, 19th, 20th and 26th.
The wind hung in there to give a fair finish and the Race Officer wasn't so lucky with the next attempt to start.
To give the Principal Race Officer credit, he did try and and held his nerve to attempt another Start but it was not to be.
Sailing Instructions have been amended once more, 10.00am Start now and latest warning signal now at 4.00pm instead of 2.00pm, they are really, really keen to get four races in.
The Kiwi's overall all standings after 4 races are Taylor, 1st, Evangeline 16th, Harris 18th and O'Shea 45th. There will be a Discard after race 5 and make some large changes in the Fleet order. All of the sailors that have suffered with inconsistency in the light conditions so far are really looking forward to the 'drop'. The second discard comes in after 10 races, that hope seems to have faded now.
The forecast is much better for tomorrow, we are all looking forward to the predicted breeze of up to 10-12 knots..... www.splashworlds.org
for latest results.