The fastest floating hedge!

At the 36th annual Rum-Regatta we participated in the Lüttfischer-Regatta (a race for small traditional fishing boats) in Flensburg’s harbour basin. Due to a lack of wind, we had to rely heavily on our rowing-power.

This year I mustered a formidable crew of beardy Vikings (a floating hedge!), so we gained the lead within only few seconds after having crossed the starting line. I felt a “little bit guilty” about our easy win, as we almost got all the prizes there were: (1) The strange bell-shaped brass object for the fastest smakke was ours, (2) the wooden scoop was ours (officially, because we were rowing so hard that a lot of spray water came over. Inofficially, all the water came in through the many dry cracks), and (3) we almost received the painted oar for the best rowing, but we got that one already last year for not rowing. We returned home with not only rich booty, but also with fame, as we made it onto the front page of “Flensborg Avis”, the local Danish minority newspaper. Once again we had a great time, which was only dampened slightly by the fact that we could not put to sea the next day at the actual Rum-Regatta, as 7 bft in gusts were forecasted. In all honesty, I think with this great a crew it would have been possible, but I put the safety of my crew & vessel first!

Sailing in November: Are we the only ones left?

Apparently on this November day we were the only sailors on Kiel Fjord. And it was far from chilly, albeit we were pleased to conclude the day with a traditional North Frisian hot beverage called pharisäer (i.e. pharisee) which was coined by the upset exclamation of an uptight pastor upon finding out that the villagers secretly put rum into their coffee.

A sailful of wind!

On Saturday 31st May we headed out of Flensburg harbour amidst a majestic procession of historical vessels, one of which was DAGMAR AAEN of the renowned adventuerer Arved Fuchs. This time we had plenty of wind and — once a signal flare marked the start of the 35th annual Rum-Regatta — we sailed on a broad reach to the Okseøer.

With the Okseøer abeam, we overtook TUULA which we had affectionally dubbed “the family boat” in a previous encounter. We have a mock-enmity with this boat, as we always end up in a duel off the Okseøer. Seeing that they sailed close to land, I wanted to know how much draught they have. Upon responding 80 cm, I gleefully shouted back that we only had 30 cm and could therefore circumnavigate the island’s shoals in a much closer circle. I don’t know whether this spurned them, but not 1 minute has passed and we witnessed how TUULA ran aground a sand bar, giving us yet another reason to gloat over our opponent’s misfortune. But once we came clear the treacherous Okseøer shoals, we signalised a DLRG boat to help TUULA out of its misery. As the paper reports, it came indeed to TUULA’s rescue (name’s of course not mentioned).

Meanwhile the wind has increased and we had not much ballast to counter-weight the heeling, except for our latest addition to the crew: Davíð, who hails from Iceland, and weights as much, drinks as much, and laughs as loud as the rest of us taken together. So a perfect fit! I met both Davíð and Véronique (from even farther away — Canada) on an underwater fieldschool in Kiel 2011.  For Magdalena from the Italian part of Tyrol and Björn it was the first time in Flensburg too, so we were a truly international crew, but all archaeologists!

We picked up some speed, with the water gurgling along the gunwale and spray-water coming over when riding the waves hard. This was probably the best regatta ever, topped by a truly majestic moment when our course crossed that of the SHTANDART….a scene you’ve only known from pirate movies, with the exception that this was for real.  We returned drenched and tired, but happy. Now a good meal was in order, and of course the quirky prize ceremony was not to be missed, where the first in each class was punished with a mock prize, and the second rewarded with a 3 litre bottle of rum — the local brand — as is ancient and good custom in Flensburg!

The organised chaos

We did not return empty-handed to our homesteads after a couple of days of sailing in Flensburg at the occasion of the 35th annual Rum-Regatta. With a wildly thrown together crew with members hailing from as far as Iceland, Italy and Canada, we managed to win a prize yet again, however not for breaking 3 of 4 oars, as last time, and certainly not for excellent seamanship and professional boat-handling…no…but for not listening. Finally, I found an event where my principal trait is appreciated enough to be awarded. But first things first!

paintedoar1

At the Lüttfischer-Regatta, a regatta for small open fishing boats the day before the actual Rum-Regatta, we sailed with a strong breeze up and down the Flensburg harbour basin. I kinda missed some details of the regatta-rules, and despite the kindness of the regatta organiser Gerd Büker who bekoned us that the last leg should not be sailed but rowed, we hurled in our sails in the misunderstanding that the regatta was aborted, while sitting idle on the thwarts with nothing to do except looking for bottles of rum floating around in the water. Fortunately, we got our rum in the end plus a rather nice looking painted oar as rotating trophy for being the “organised chaos”, with the admonition that we have no further excuse for not rowing properly now. Well, I wouldn’t be so sure about it….I am sure we can find one next time!