The Final Friendship Cup Event 2016
Stuffed with 100 high end Cuban cigars [how come?] I boarded Stena Ferry at Hook of Holland. Dutch military police checked my dinghy for stowaways, found none, so before driving on I knocked on the hull and said: "All clear guys, England in six hours!". The Dutch cops did not like the joke, even though I refrained from asking them why Dutch tax money still was wasted on a British - that is a no longer European - interest.
On the UK side no checks at all. My passport was judged good enough and my Ugandan number plate did not detonate red alert as it invariably does among the silly cops of Holland. No hardware checks. 100 no-VAT Cuban cigars English street value 20 pound a piece bought for 2 pounds freely entered.
At Lowestoft's Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club, midnight arrival, the electronic gate opened. Pieter Bleeker with a swipe card not even available to members. Yes I have my friends!
Now I have to be crystal clear about the formal format of the International 12 Foot Dinghy Classical Wood Club (12footcwc.org) event: it is organized by the Great Yarmouth Yacht Club and hosted by the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club at Lowestoft. Keep this in mind carefully. Fortunately Pieter's and Reinhard's 12footcwc-man in charge, Mark Duffield, is member of GYYC and trusty of RN&SYC, so everything was firmly under control.
The next morning I met David, the commodore of the Great Yarmouth Yacht club, whom I told I would not ask him how he had voted, and who then told me it had been for Leave. He only hoped he could continue his annual six week's mooring of his Janneau in Enkhuizen, Holland. I assured him this would be no problem or he should call us immediately for a clearance.
... Dinghy line-up at Lowestoft's RN&SYC ...
Having visited many countries and tribes around the world, hence well aware that the English are fond of blazer badges I had brought enough 12footcwc badges for everybody.
... never thought this would stage my bloodless coup in the 12footcwc ...
I had no idea this would stage my successful coup in the 12footcwc that same day late afternoon.
On that first day we raced in NorthEast wind, tacking against the North current in upcoming tide. Some knew you had to stick port to the beach were the current is slower, then pass the windward mark by a wide margin, tack and go there. Of course they did not tell others. Well, of course no need to tell Wim Bleeker for he will win anyway. And he did. Twice. My sailing was awful. I ended up in the rear guard where I came close to a badly gybing competitor who told me that my resulting approach to her rear was "childish racing". I kindly asked whether she could recommend me a book about non-childish racing that I could profit from but were told none were available since the issue was - in her opinion - obvious.
A split of minds occurred at the end of day 1: some thought they should pull their dinghy out, others thought it apt to keep it on salt for the night. The salty flotilla comprised: George Miller, Pixie IRL 11, Jeanet Blokland, Happy, NED 784, Bert Hamminga, Anneke, NED 112, Margaret Delaney, Cora, IRL 8, Bert Bos, Uisce Beatha. NED 859, Paul Lambert, Inshallah, GBR 756, Mark Duffield, Mr. Toad, GBR 50
... the salty flotilla (helmsmen already behind beers) ...
It was hot. While the salty flotilla enjoyed its beers, sweat ran down the slipway where the pullouts were toiling away. The next day the dry flotilla would loose 9 points from the salty flotilla (calculation available on request)
... While the salty flotilla enjoyed its beers, sweat ran down the slipway where the pullouts were toiling away. The next day the dry flotilla would loose 9 points from the salty flotilla (calculation available on request) ...
At dusk I got two shady blokes (both of the dry flotilla) at my Kangoo microcamper. One was tall and thin, spoke German, the other was a boldish egg-head midget looking very aggressive and mean. The latter told me: "As from now you are the commodore of the 12footcwc and don't you dare to refuse".
I asked: "What do I get out of this? What's in the deal for me?"
The reply was: "Well, if you accept, we will not have to beat you up".
So I thought the proposal quite reasonable and hastily accepted, come what may.
On day two, more Dutch lake sailors had informed themselves about racing on currents. That number included myself. As a result I sailed second the first two rounds of the morning race, after which a handful of others saw the light and passed me in round three.
We all admired our top-sailor Huib Ozinga's ability to sharply observe ISAF offences taking place quite far from his own position in the field, not rarely having handfuls of dinghies between himself and the incident, and the well sounding loudness of his voice, often over several hundreds of yards upwind, when he required the appropriate penalty to be taken, though some wondered why it invariably concerned offences occurring in front of him, never in his back.
The official dinner
To my relief, by the start of the official dinner most 12footcwc members wore the badge I had distributed, even though several ladies in the Dutch dinghy community had flatly rejected requests to iron them on.
RN&SYC Admiral Tim Barret led the common prayer to the Almighty God in sincere gratitude and expressed to the Almighty the wish that in de future we would profit as much from Him as we did in the past.
Then, after we got asked about our royal house and had told them we now had a king, William Alexander, we were all invited to drink a toast to "the Queen and King William Alexander"; in that order of course.
Upon this, all members of the Great Yarmouth Yacht Club and the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club present in this lofty company stood up and proposed a toast to us, their guests!
Somewhere in this chaos the commodore of the 12footcwc got officially presented the jack of Great Yarmouth Yacht Club.
I saw Bert Bos, President of the Dutch Twelve Foot Dinghy Club looking slightly intimidated by these utterly festive audiovisuals, but he had prepared a fine speech that got hailed in all corners. I was sitting straight and well behind his back so I am still busy finding out what he said.
12footcwc's commodore was ordered to present the Friendship Cup to Wim Bleeker, who could not anymore loose his classification leadership on the coming last day. So I asked the small mean egg-head who had appointed me commodore on the evening before to give me that cup.
"There is no cup"
"Then what do I do?"
"I have appointed you to solve this kind of small problems".
Fortunately, at the Baldeneysee Friendship Event in spring, when once far behind, I had taken a small detour to fish a torn hat out of the water that had our dinghy colours. I had repaired it with duct tape and now was relieved to be able to have something to hand over to the glorious winner of the Friendship "Cup" 2016. Next year this won't happen to me again, I'll tell you!!
... Wim Bleeker, winner of the Friendship Hat donated by the commodore of the 12footcwc (video) ...
At dinner, I resolved to publicly apply for a repetition of this event next year. My main considerations were two, A and B:
A. Dr. Owen Delany, our race leader, surely would rank among the best we have in the Netherlands, if not, if I am not insulting anybody, well above, consistently putting the marks where they should and continuously flying a huge lot of totally adequate signs. Moreover, his past successful career as a child psychiatric makes him, in my opinion, fully qualified and perfectly prepared to oversee our club members for a weekend.
... Owen's jackbox, a fine piece of carpentry ...
B. The RN&SYC rest rooms. First of all, the men's dressing room sports massive birch toilet seats and covers. Where on earth could a Wood Club feel more at home? Second, the urinal of the lounge is the purest of English classicism I have ever seen: all copper (another 12footcwc favourite material) and porcelain.
... Left: massive wood toilet seats and covers. Right: Fata Huius Patriae in Vestris Manibus Est ...
Had this read "Fatum", this would mean: The Fate Of This Fatherland Is In Your Hands. Since it's all in capitals this is probably addressed to The Almighty. Alternatively one could read it as reminding peeing club members of their serious responsibilities, which I find a less probable hypothesis for I noticed they are permanently and totally aware of it. So God it must be. Remains the "Fata" (not "Fatum"), which might be inspired by the phenomenon of Fata Morgana, so well documented by General Montgomery while he kicked the bloody Germans out of the Sahara.
Anyway, at coffee, after the famous and superb "Eton Mess" desert, I applied for the repetition of this event next year, upon which RN&SYC commodore Ruth Davies stood up and honoured and humbled us all by not only accepting but also publicly suggesting she should herself buy a 12foot!
But the climax was still to come: just before dinner, on one of the outside tables, behind his pint of bitter, Irishman George Miller had written some brand new Brexit inspired lyrics on the song Save All Your Kisses For Me (by Brotherhood of Man, listen on Youtube). "Save all my euros for you ..."!!! and this was sung by some outstanding Irish and Dutch voices at the top of their lungs. I would love to insert a video of it here. If anyone has one, please post to my web site [post], provide your email address and I will get in touch with you. Photos of the choir's line-up are very welcome as well! But I got hold of the lyrics in the original handwriting.
Sunday's wind quickly freshened to 4 Bft, later more, and since it came from sea, it got too rough and racing got cancelled for the waves.
Then came the final pullout. For everybody. After all noises of shouting, popping out of clinkers, breaking of wood on the slipway were over, and participants had left and quiet had returned, I took my dinghy out. Single handed of course. Frans de Bot offered his help, so I asked him to take the video that he and I now proudly present. YouTube: Single Handed 12footcwc Pullout.
Video by Reinhard Schroeder: Twelve Foot Dinghies at Lowestoft: https://youtu.be/LCtG9PmjNQQ
Picture 1: Upwind tacking with a NE wind and no current. And no wind shifts. After 1 minute you can be somwhere on the line 1-1. After 2 minutes on the line 2-2, etc. If everybody has the same speed all will be at mark A after 9 minutes
Picture 2: Tacking in NE wind on a North current of 1/3 of the wind speed. For boats flaoting at rest on the water wind is a bit more North than for the jury boat on anchor, an apparent wind effect. Owen puts the far mark of the starting line a bit lower then he would do at zero current (picture 1). He will put the luff mark a bit more to the West, on A`, rather than A.
Picture 3: As it was in our Lowestoft races: at the port side along the beach the current was weaker then further East at sea. The port tack against the current should now be taken along the beach, hence port first.