Auntie Geraldine's Thoughts on Lac Du Der.
Breizhskiff Event over Easter.
Quote from the Winner. "I've never seen a B14 go so fast!"
Germans were tall, Italians were cool, French were so friendly, Swiss were "The Big Cheese (thanks for their Raclette) with the efficient Raclette Grill; Dutch brought humour, Belgians brought chocolate. Then we did our bit for cultural exchange with hot cross buns avec Gin twinned with Chambord & Cucumber.
On and off the Water; Freedom to try new techniques to see what difference that made. Re-visited some old mistakes and still had time for "That's has never happened before" moments. Mixed fleets made for interesting starts as you avoided those high pointing 700s and D-ones. Appreciate the differences in our vessels but all the while enjoying our shared 'skiffyness'. Whilst there might not be another B14 around to race, we battled with Gilles in the RS800, Cedric in the 700 and Emilien in the Musto. Average lap times and the unknown multiplier of handicap meant that you kept pushing all the way to the finish. You could never ease off on 'feeling safe in a position'. If you did, those pesky 500s will keep creeping up on you!
Park the car on Thursday 9am and don't touch it again till Monday. Every meal is provided, bottles of wine abound, Great Normandy beer is on tap all for a token but watch out for the Home-turboed rum from Mrs Le Cam. Impromptu crepe parties and raclette on potatoes, to warm you in the sail store. Amazing sit down welcome dinner with 5 courses, Cheese before dessert mais oui! Wine from Francois to wash it all down. Even the pack lunch had starters and cheese course!
Everyone friendly and understanding as we all muddled through the languages we had in common. How I got asked to translate the "Raise-a-little-support-for the Coaches" auction..... I have no idea, but I did my best with acting and hope I got away with the rest! (There was a spirited record set for the value of a special vintage bottle of Apple Juice @ 45euros).
Courses well set (although start lines could be well biased to keep you on your toes). As average lap times were used, number of laps varied and meant everyone finished at pretty similar time and not so much waiting between laps - a really neat idea for quick turn around and fitting in 3 races on the last morning. Massive lake and uninterrupted winds allowed an intense amount of sailing to take place over 3 days (although we had trained aswell the 2 days before, but light breeze so quit moaning you pommes!). Cadres had amazing speed, enough to impress the English 800's - "I have never seen a B14 go so fast!" to quote Mr Jeffries. Alain and Francois sailed so well but were pipped at the post on the last day on equal points but missed out on count-back. They had to settle for second with the Jeffries winning in their RS800. Third was the 49er sailed by Matthew and Pieter. Matthew was originally from King George SC and I hadn't seen him for 16 years, he'd gone to Paris, but had since moved to Belgium and sailed in Holland with Pieter who was dutch and couldn't speak french - what an amazing european mix-up!
Boats included Watt's old I14, tested & sailed by a lovely couple of exceedingly tall Frenchmen. There was an RS300, an old German moth from the the 70's, A record showing of B14's on french water: Cadre brothers (773), Seb and Sophie (777), Christophe and Thibault (767), Thierry and his daughter (760) Christian and Daniella (748), Gerry and Leaky (786) and a couple who are rightfully smothered in black crosses from the crews union in 717 - sailed further downwind than necessary to the wrong leeward mark, doing a leeward kite drop, not sitting on the racks at all upwind or downwind in 12-15knot winds and not pulling the mainsheet in upwind - thanks to Thierry for the extra personal tuition they got! After the leeward mark issue, Seb herded them into the finish and then they got a lecture from the race-officer who was getting cold waiting for them! Why does it always sound more angry in French?
Other plus points - warm drying room, easy launching, fresh water and no washing down, yummy dinners all together for sharing stories, Francois with the bald head, swopping crews just to help each other out, 200 yards from sailing club to accommodation and social centre, not needing to use the well equipped infirmerie, nesting boxes for Swallows and House Martins then lastly but most importantly, Andre who instigated this event 15 years ago.
Weird points - Honey Bees, (Not related to Mike), who dropped dead and lay all over the water and your boat on the first day. (Thankfully 5mm neoprene saved us!)
What else? Three days of solid racing in a variety of pressure. With always a lot to keep an eye on. Brilliant.
Plus, a lot of competitors seemed to know the characters by the names of Barnes & Watts. They may not understand you, but you're marked men......
Le Der à peine terminé, on pense à s'inscrire pour la Teignouse Cup à Asn Quiberon. C'est important pour que le club puisse gérer la logistique ! Rendez vous sur le forum pour vous annoncer ! ... Voir +Voir -