No further racing was possible on Day 2 of the 5.5 Metre German Open at the Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee (VsaW) in Berlin, Germany with very little wind available for Saturday’s racing.
Following a two hour delay the fleet was sent afloat when a light north-westerly arrived. But it didn’t last long, and the fleet basked in hot sunshine on a mirror-like Wannsee for the next two hours before finally being sent home. An AP over A was raised an hour later, in time for the free beer and evening BBQ.
Robert Niemczewski, Vice Commodore of VSaW is sailing Paula, on loan from German Class President, Kaspar Stubenrauch, and crewed by Thomas Romberg and Martin Romberg.
“It’s my first sail on 5.5 Metre. Kaspar asked me if would sail this boat, and honestly, it’s a lot of fun. Normally I am on the starting vessel as the race officer,” Niemczewski said.
“It’s an Evolution, and it’s a shame we can’t match the Moderns. But it’s fine. It’s a lot of fun. I am sailing with my usual Star boat crew here.”
On the conditions he said, “It’s just the nature. You can’t do anything about it and Sunday does not look much better. It’s a pity.”
Niemczewski said he was very much enjoying the boat and the class. “It’s a beautiful class and I like it. The people are so nice. Some classes are strange, but it’s a very good atmosphere here and a very nice group.”
Another of the boats competing in Berlin is the all-women crew of Susanne Struth, Nina Zibuschka and Pia Matscheroth on Pittwater.
Pittwater is the German class association boat, a Ben Lexcen design built by Hudson Boat Building, in Sydney, Australia. It was intended to be used by Australian crews to reciprocate for the hospitality received by German crews at the 2020 World Championship in Pittwater, near Sydney, Australia.
However, since then, COVID has happened, so the boat was made available to a German crew through the class website. The all-women crew from Essen applied to use the boat and are at their first regatta this weekend.
Susanne Struth explained, “We contacted Kaspar and got this beautiful Pittwater. We had just had five or six days of practice in our hometown of Essen on the Baldeneysee. Then we came here and are very excited to be at the German Open.
“It’s our first regatta in the 5.5 Metre class and our first regatta together as a crew. It’s pretty exciting, as I think we are very young compared to the other teams. It’s fun to race and the others and they are very nice. It’s also interesting to see the other boats, and we are learning a lot from them, of course.”
Struth explained the boats had always been an attraction: “My father saw the boats during a vacation in France in the 1990s and was very fascinated by them and always took photos of them. He showed the photos to me, and I was also fascinated by these boats, so we followed them a bit on the home page.”
She says they are learning a lot about the boat. “It’s very interesting. The backstays are new for me, as I come from H-Boats with no backstays. It also has a big spinnaker. On Friday, with more wind, it was tough for us to hold it, though maybe just a question of practice and the experience we have to get.
“I have sailed a few H-Boat regattas locally, but Pia has more experience in the Dragon class, so that’s good for us. She helps us a lot. It’s a good crew.”
For the future, she said, “We will try to sail in Thun or Hamburg this year as well. This event was a bit spontaneous, as we just got the boat at the end of June. I think next year will be better for planning and we can sail more races. We have the boat until the autumn, and in winter we’ll bring it back to Hamburg and see whether we get it again next year.”
Racing in Berlin concludes on Sunday, though the forecast remains much less enthusiastic than the fleet to get some more racing done.
Results after 1 race
1 New Moon II (BAH 24, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) 1
2 Girls on Film (GBR 42, Peter Morton, Andrew Palfry, Matt Haslam) 2
3 Otto (NOR 68, Bent Christian Wilhelmsen, Herve Cunningham, Luka Strahovnik) 3
4 Momo (SUI 229, Dieter Schön, Markus Wieser, Thomas Auracher) 4
5 John B (BAH 22, Gavin Mckinney, Lars Horn Johannessen, Flavio Marazzi) 5
6 Ali Baba (GER 84, Wolf-Eberhard Richter, Beata Kallkowski, Uwe Schwarick) 6