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!

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!


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!


LüttfischerRegatta 2013

On the day before the main race – the RumRegatta – we participated for the first time in a regatta for small fishing boats in Flensburg’s harbour: the LüttfischerRegatta.

Shortly after the starting signal, our right-of-way was ignored by a sjekte, which ran over one of our oars with a great cracking sound, instantly followed by my cursing. We needed the oars as auxiliary propulsion whenever we tacked (yes…I know…the boat ain’t well trimmed).  With our good oar cracked, we had to rely on the old spare oars in the course of the event. We tried to catch up to the main field and did quite well under the circumstances. Later, the wind freshened to force 6 bft, maybe even 7 bft, and now it became clear that the spare oars were indeed not fit for service, as they both cracked during heavy rowing. To make matters worse, a very strong gust of wind pushed us onto a lee shore, and with only one oar (of four) left intact, which we needed badly for tacking, it became almost impossible to manoeuvre. So we took in the sails and waited for a tow. Together with another boat, we were towed back to the harbour, where we could at least view the spectacle from land, where small bottles had to be fished out from the water, which could be later traded with bottles filled with rum – the local brand. Regrettably, we had to skip the latter part, but we still won a prize: The charismatic regatta-organiser Gerd Büker couldn’t decide whether the daredevil feat (of pushing crew & equipment to such limits that lead to the loss of almost all oars) commended for a particularly good or a particularly bad skipper, but I received the “tough luck tiller” with pride…at least some form of recognition!

Pech Pinne