Well before dawn, Shirley Robertson and her crew checked the hotline and found out where the ice was hard and smooth and set off for Kuressaare on the Island Saaremaa in Estonia, and the 2011 DN Europeans. The conditions were so good and the stakes were so high that over 150 DN's 12-foot coffins on three sharp blades and a 6.5-square meter sail were gathered.
Poland's Karol Jablonski, who was nearly unbeatable in the 1990's returned to the ice to show everyone, especially those new to the sport, that once an Iceman, always an Iceman. Robertson interviewed the tenacious America's Cup, TP52 and maxi yacht’s skipper about his passion for single-handed sailing on hard water.
Said America's Cup legend, Buddy Melges, who still sails his DN as much as he can, 'That Karol Jablonski is a hell of a sailor on soft water and on hard water.'
Melges, who traces his roots back to the Schleswig-Holstein area of Europe shares more than a passion for DN sailing with the Argo Challenge afterguard. He shares his name. Argo skipper Lars Grael's father's name was Torben Melges Grael.
Said Melges in a recent interview, 'Argo is off and running with the back of the boat. Lars is a good tactical sailor. Karol and Lars are good people. Everyone is going to be going through a steep learning curve and it's nice to see that Argo has solid experience.'
Both the Tornado and the DN have less hull resistance and go at speeds much faster than traditional monohulls. Jablonski has gone as fast as 145 kilometers an hour in 25 knots of wind. Iceman described his most harrowing iceboating experience. 'Many years ago in Austria on the Neuseedler lake I was sailing at 145 kilometers per hour. More than half of the fleet's rigs exploded before the day was over. It's expected in DN sailing, even today when the rigs are much better. You spend a lot of time sharpening blades and preparing your equipment while waiting for perfect conditions.'
Jablonski and the Argonauts are working hard trying to make their Challenge within the Challenge of raising several million dollars before the end of the month so that they can register for the America's Cup, pay the bond, purchase and AC45 and start practicing. Just like the mightiest band of warriors that the team is named after, this modern day squad is determined to overcome all obstacles to find the Golden Fleece. Follow them and Jablonski at www.ArgoChallenge.com
and on CNN starting this week.
Argo Challenge Nonprofit Corporation is an international team of sailors and athletes with disabilities as well as able-bodied sailors who are seeking the initial funding necessary to enter the America's Cup. At this point no one is sure whether the team will be among the international challengers or if they will be consider challenging Oracle Racing for the right to defend the America's Cup.
Find out what makes Argo Challenge's Iceman tick. Watch CNN's Mainsail.
Showtimes: Thursday 17 March: 1130, 1730, Saturday 19 March: 0630, 1500, 2230, Sunday 20 March: 0330, 0730, 1830 (all times GMT). Website