IC Europa Cup, 18th to 26th July 2015
Firstly an evocative report from pseudo Australian Charlie Chandler
2015 International Canoe Europeans - Travemunde Week - a week of friends, awesome racing, wind, sunshine, German beer, Havanas rum and lots of sausages
Travemunde Week welcomed the International Canoe fleet for the 2015 European Championships. With several new boats being launched and new equipment being used to take on the lessons learnt at the 2014 Worlds, the scene was set for a close week of racing.
Day 1: the fleet launched in a gentle breeze to start the first race. The race officer set out as he meant to continue for the rest of the week with a heavily port biased start line. Charlie Chandler racing the imported Australian 'IKEA' boat port tacked the fleet and led out to the right hand side of the course. At the windward mark Robin Wood, racing a Morrison 2, led from Chandler and John Ellis, racing an Ellis designed boat. Wood pulled away to a comfortable lead as the breeze started to die, while the boats behind bunched up. At the leeward gate Wood sailed the wrong way round the gate (quite hard to do!) allowing Ellis to take a commanding lead followed by Gareth Caldwell, racing a Bloodaxe built Maas boat. The wind continued to die and after 1.5 hours of slow motion racing where the fleet was turned inside out several times, the race officer eventually abandoned the race and sent the fleet ashore.
Day 2: this time the holiday had truly begun - hot sunshine and 15 knots plus. The fleet were treated to three races in champaign conditions. Race 1 had Wood lead round the windward mark followed by Chandler after his standard port flyer start. The first gybe sorted the men from the boys... and possibly those who had tried to drink Germany dry the night before only to find that the beer makes your head hurt... but the night clubs on the beach were so good! At the end, Caldwell took the win from Wood, followed by Chris Hampe, sailing Monkey, and Phil Robin, sailing a Dragonfly design.
Race two allowed another port flyer for Chandler but this time Hampe joined the party and piped Chandler to the pin. At the windward mark Chandler led closely followed by a tight pack of Wood, Caldwell, Hampe and Arne Stahl, sailing his own design. The wind was starting to build at this point allowing several to test the water quality and whether their boats leaked. Again Caldwell was able to use his boat speed to take the win followed by Wood, Robin, Stahl and Hampe.
Race three was a surprise, one of the two starboard end starts of the week! The windward mark saw the first three of Caldwell, Roger Regitz (sailing a Maas built design) and Chandler. Caldwell and Wood had a close battle the whole way round for first, but Caldwell decided that the water looked so nice he would join what was now turning into a bit of a swimathon as the breeze continued to build and the sailors tired. A capsize at the final windward mark left Caldwell sixth and Wood to take the win, followed by Robin, Chandler, Hampe and Stahl. Dave Timson made a fantastic effort to finish race three and make it ashore with a snapped mast - a true sailing hero!
Day 3: breeze on!! After some trepidation by some of the sailors the fleet launched into some exciting conditions - but it was hot and sunny so all OK! The very breezy conditions allowed some of the different designs to come to the fore.
Hampe led race four from start to finish followed by Chandler, Caldwell, Stahl and Robin. Crucially Wood was able to finish recording a sixth.
For race five the wind got even stronger! Chandler started with his customary port flyer and led out to the right hand side with Robin, while the rest of the fleet went left. A better tack by Robin allowed him to lead into the windward mark followed by Chandler and then a long gap to third. At the leeward mark the fleet had closed in on Robin as a band of extra(!) pressure passed down the course. Chandler's carriage decided to fall off at the leeward mark to entertain those around him. Others decided to test the water at various times as the breeze built to full on survival conditions. Hampe blasted an excellent race to take the win followed by Caldwell, Phil Allen and Anton Grigull, with all others limping back to the beach to register a DNF. Phil Robin was very close to taking third, needing only to pull off a final tack to cross the finish line but was unable to do it.... Phil was last seen heading the Denmark at speed!
The strong winds raised an interesting point of discussion: "how extreme, and potentially fast, can you make your hull design while ensuring that it is still raceable in strong breeze?" But an exciting day on the water, leaving your reporter requiring ice cream, sausage, beer and sunbathing to recover.
Day 4: it was hot and sunny - my tan came on very well!! The fleet launched in nearly flat calm conditions and blazing sun. We wallowed around for about 2 hours topping up our tans before we finally started racing. Wish I hadn't lost my drinks bottle the day before while being rescued, thirsty.... Or was that the Havanas rum the night before??
When the race team finally started the race, after finishing their lunch, the wind decided to go very light with huge shifts. Wood pretty much led race six from start to finish despite the wind playing snakes and ladders; with Caldwell working his way into second. Robin sailed really well and managed to move from tenth at the first mark up to third by the end of the race! Ellis showed great lightwind boat speed to take fourth, with Andy Gordon sailing the shift excellently to take fifth.
For race seven the wind seemed like it had settled down and strengthened slightly. Another port flyer by Chandler and an early tack by Hampe allowed allowed them to play the right of the course with Hampe leading at the windward mark, Wood sneaking into second and Chandler third. The wind then went a bit bonkers on the next reach with most people having a go at leading! Chandler and Hampe eventually popped out in front when the wind finally came back but the excellent boat speed of Wood and Caldwell allowed them to take first and second, with Hampe finishing in third, Timson fourth and Robin fifth. Timson with his mast newly fixed by epoxy hero Rob bell seemed to have found a new lease of speed!
After the main racing six of the IC's headed to the river for the extra stadium nock-out racing. A simple concept of one lap windward leeward courses on the river, with the top two boats from each flight progressing to the final; all done with a big crowd watching with beer in hand and commentary.... plus the odd speed boat, 60 foot yacht and huge freight ship thrown in for fun! A simple concept, yes...? Well it would appear not!
In the first flight "Aussie Charlie Chandler" led round the windward mark from Gareth Caldwell and Chris Hampe. "Aussie Charlie Chandler" was so busy covering the others he sailed straight past the leeward mark allowing Caldwell and Hampe through. "Aussie Charlie Chandler" then rammed the moving leeward mark (a rib) for what we can only assume to be good measure?? Meanwhile Caldwell sailed around the finish line while leading (on a narrow river!!) allowing Hampe to take the win and somehow "Aussie Charlie Chandler" second!?! However in the confusion both Chandler and Caldwell returned to the beach thinking that the had both been nocked out leaving only Hampe to proceed to the final.
In the second flight everyone was well behaved with Dave Timson taking the win followed by Arne Stahl.
So the short course final was set between Stahl, Timson and Hampe. With much cheering from the spectators on the shore Stahl took a photo finish win from Hampe and Timson. Of all the sailing events I have been to this has to have been the best spectator version of sailing that I have ever seen!
Day 5: racing on the media course! All week SAP were providing GPS tracking of the boats allowing you to track the races and analyse individual legs, although sometimes painful to watch if you sailed like me!
For day 5 the IC fleet was racing on the media course with full tv coverage shown on the SAP cube tv screen on the beach watched and cheered on by big crowds. But why say anymore other than it was a day of light shifty winds, exciting crashes, breakages, swims and crashes - the newly named "Aussie Charlie Chandler" was upgraded to "Cowboy Aussie Charlie Chandler".... (IC race coverage starts at 2 hours 48 mins)
Two wins for Wood with Caldwell only managing a 3 and 8 left Wood in a strong position going into the final day; but with Caldwell having finished every race while Wood hadn't and the event only having one discard, anything could still happen! Again Robin looked strong in third but several people could still snatch third off him.
Day 6: started with a postponement due to there being no wind - in my opinion this was rather good as most of the German fleet and several of the UK fleet had been out partying till sunrise and I was feeling a bit 'tired and emotional'....
After a nice long delay in the sunshine the fleet finally launching in a nice F3 which gradually built as the day went on - champagne sailing conditions once again! The "Aussie Cowboy" finished his week off with a final port flyer only to fall in on his first tack. Timson also managed to pull off a port flyer just below Chandler leaving him forth at the windward mark and fifth at the end of the race. But it was Wood and Caldwell that shot off for a final race decider, chased hard by Robin. At the end of the race Caldwell won with Wood second on the water, enough to give Wood the event win, but... Wood and Robin failed to sail through the finish line and continued on another lap! Could enough boats squeeze in between Caldwell and Wood to give Caldwell the overall win!? In the end both Wood and Robin spotted their mistake and were able to make it back to the finish line just ahead of the chasing pack giving Wood and Robin second and third in the race, giving Robin Wood the overall event win! This left Gareth Caldwell second overall and Phil Robin third.
So what was fast? Well the skinnier and more rounded boats certainly seemed to have the greatest speed potential, especially downwind, but with the top seven all sailing different designs there is plenty of choice out there.
And what of the event and venue? Well if you have never done Travemunde Week, you should! It is more of a festival of sail, food and drink - it's like no other sailing event I have ever done. The town has over 250,000 visitors during the week so it is buzzing. Everything runs like clockwork, we are in Germany after all! The coverage and tracking by SAP is so much better than anything else I have ever seen, and the video footage as good as if not better than some of the medal races at the last Olympics. The IC fleet was great company with some excellent parties and a great male/female mix. Time to head home now and sleep for a week I think....
There was a significant live coverage web site for Travemunde Woche. GPS tracking is available from here. Results are available from this link. There's some discussion on the Europa Cup topic on the class forum.
Secondly an initial report based on the Internet Coverage
A race in light airs and very variable wind direction was finally abandoned. with Robin Wood leading. The Sunday roundup on the main website has a little bit about the Canoes.
Three races were sailed. The top of the leaderboard looks like this: Robin Wood, 2,2,1, Gareth Caldwell 1,1,6, Phil Robin 4,3,2, Chris Hampe, 3,5,4, Arne Stahl 5,4,5. Can't wait to hear the stories: Robin lost what looked like a safe lead in race 1, and in race 3 the GPS trace apparently shows Gareth, who had been leading, suddenly drifting away to windward(!) before resuming the race in 8th and working back up to 6th.
Chris Hampe's day according to the race tracking. Two wins on the windiest day so far puts him well in contention. A rather depleted fleet in race 4 and an even more depleted one in race 5, with 4 DNFs. Robin Wood didn't have a very good day, with a 7th in race 4 and a DNC in race 5. Amusing (at this distance) to look at the race tracking and see who didn't make the start on time for the first race!
Gareth's 4,2 puts him in the lead on 8 points, Chris 2nd on 9 and Robin is on 12. Phil Robin is in 4th, currently shown with 15 points, but I think that's wrong. These four look like the main medal contenders at the half way point, but I certainly wouldn't rule out Phil Robin or Arne Stahl.
According to tracking the morning race started after several postponents. Breeze appeared to be light and very variable. The race tracking had its glitches (to say the least) during this one, but the results have Robin winning from Phil Robin, Gareth Caldwell and John Ellis. Andy Gordon was 5th and Roger Regitz, who from tracking looks fast but erratic, 6th. Chris had a shocker, scored 12th.
The second race looks to have had a bit more breeze, into the 10 knot region, but still quite shifty. Chris led early on, but after what looks to have been a tight race with plenty of place changing, Robin came in to win with Gareth, Chris, Dave Timson and Charlie Chandler following. Phil was 6th.
Overall then Gareth leads with 13 points, Robin has 14 and Chris 17. Phil is shown with 22 points and a DNC in race 5, but the race tracking shows him finishing that race in 5th, so its a bit of a mystery. Then there's a gap to Charlie Chandler and Arne Stahl, with 31 and 34 points, and a bigger gap back to the rest of the pack, almost all of whom are counting at least one alphabet. The honourable exception there are Anton Grigull and Lis Gillen, both of whom have 6 finishes. Realistically I see the gold coming from the first three, amongst whom Robin has three wins and Gareth and Chris two each, so its anyone's game yet. Gareth has the best discard, so has that in hand.
Super port end start in the televised Race 8 from Charlie Chandler. Way to go mate. He led for most of the race, but was eventually chased down by Robin Wood, but maintained second from Gareth Caldwell. Arne Stahl took 4th and Dirk Heitmann 5th. Chris Hampe seems to have got a DNF.
In race 9 Charlie pulled off another port flyer and what may be the best one I've ever seen. Instant 100 yard lead. At the top mark it went very light. Robin took the lead on the run, but they swapped places until Charlie misjudged a cross and ended up having to do turns in light air. Not good - it sent him down to 4th. Arne Stahl, Rob Bell and Charlie battled for second, but Robin was gone. The wind, though was getting lighter and lighter and the conditions looked awfully tricky. Much place changing ensued behind Robin, and in the end Charlie recovered to 2nd, John Ellis took 3rd, Rob Bell 4th and Dave Timson 5th.
So a great day for Robin, with two wins, and a pretty good day for Charlie. Gareth picked up a 3rd and an 8th and lost a lot of ground, but is still in the running. Chris got a DNF and a DNS, so is out of the medals.
So the overall position. Judging by what Robin said in the post race video there is only one discard. Gareth, I think, is guaranteed silver, and can win gold if Robin is down the fleet. I think 7th or better gets Robin the title. The bronze looks wide open, and even the silver is available to Phil or Charlie if Robin has a bad enough day.
Day Six - Robin Wood wins the Europa Cup
Another lighter airs day at Travemunde with the tracking showing winds in the 5 knot region. Race 10 was not very easy to follow on the GPS tracking, which was suffering some horrible glitches. The boats were doing synchronised dances across the screen... Robin took an early lead, with Gareth and Phil following. I suppose tactically Gareth's best bet might have been to match race Robin to the back of the fleet, but that's more easily said than done with Canoes - especially as he'd have had to take him down to something like 15th... If anything the trace seems to suggest that Robin was keeping a wary cover on Gareth.
As the race progressed Robin kept a comfirtable lead on Gareth, who by the last leg was a similar distance ahead of Phil Robin, and these three went right on the last beat. The first two didnt tack until Phil tacked - playing it cautious it seems. But Phil had tacked on the lay line for the finish, partway up the beat. Gareth seems to have realised straight away and reached across to the finish, just staying ahead of Phil. Robin, on the other hand, it seems did not spot what was going on until the other two had finished and had to run down some two hundred yards, succeeding in salvaging 3rd place.
Arne Stahl came through the fleet for 4th, and Dave Timson took 5th.
So, provisionally and unofficially, Robin Wood wins the Championship from Gareth Caldwell, and Phil Robin takes the bronze from Charlie Chandler. Arne Stahl was 5th overall. In a very high scoring series Gareth was the only one to finish every race, and the first 5 plus Anton Grigull the only ones to avoid counting DNCs or DNFs. Results are available from this link
|1||GBR 329||Robin Wood||2||2||1||6||D||1||1||1||1||3||18|
|2||GBR 321||Gareth Caldwell||1||1||6||3||2||3||2||3||8||1||22|
|3||GBR 328||Philip Robin||4||3||2||5||D||2||5||7||6||2||36|
|4||AUS 31||Charlie Chandler||6||6||3||2||D||9||6||2||2||6||42|
|5||GER 84||Arne Stahl||5||4||5||4||D||7||8||4||9||4||50|
|6||GBR 303||Dave Timson||7||8||7||D||DNC||12||4||6||5||5||80|
|7||GBR 308||Christopher Hampe||3||5||4||1||1||13||3||D||DNC||DNC||82|
|8||GER 52||Anton Grigull||9||10||12||D||4||16||12||14||16||12||105|
|9||GBR 288||Andy Gordon||12||11||9||D||DNF||5||9||10||15||9||106|
|10||GER 78||Dirk Heitmann||11||7||10||D||DNC||11||DNS||5||12||7||115|
|11||GER 58||Lis Gillen||10||9||11||8||D||19||DNC||12||14||13||122|
|12||GBR 334||John Ellis||D||DNC||DNS||DNC||DNC||4||10||13||3||8||142|
|13||GBR 327||Rob Bell||8||D||DNS||DNC||DNC||14||11||9||4||DNC||150|
|14||GBR 296||Phil Allen||D||DNC||DNS||7||3||17||DNC||8||13||DNC||152|
|15||GER 65||Emma Grigull||D||12||8||DNC||DNC||22||15||15||18||10||152|
|16||GBR 311||Perham Harding||D||DNS||DNS||DNF||DNS||8||13||18||7||16||166|
|17||GER 74||Eckhardt Pagel||D||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||15||14||16||11||11||171|
|18||GER 82||Roger Regitz||D||DNS||13||DNC||DNC||6||7||DNF||DNC||DNC||182|
|19||GER 47||Hauke Eckstein||D||DNC||DNS||DNC||DNC||18||17||17||17||14||187|
|20||GER 76||Marei Junge||D||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||21||DNC||19||19||15||204|
|21||GBR 320||Robert Stebbing||D||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||10||DNC||DNF||DNC||DNC||218|
|22||GER 48||Heike Gercken||D||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||23||DNF||20||20||DNF||219|
|23||GER 44||Niklas Marschall||D||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNF||DNC||21||21||DNC||224|
|24||GER 88||Alfred Volkmer||D||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNC||DNC||234|