Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kiel Week

Training has never been more exciting for me than it is now. A few days ago, I arrived in Kiel, Germany in preparation for Kiel Week, a major ISAF Grade 1 regatta on the World Cup circuit. Attendance is a bit low because of a conflict with the RS:X European Championships in Israel, but competition is at a high a level as always. The full Polish youth fleet will be in attendance, and several other international sailors are here already training.

I am working with Christoph Sieber again and we are having some intensive sessions on the water with two other sailors, Carolina from Brazil, and Arne from Belgium. Our sessions have been technique-oriented and Christoph is taking video. After training, we debrief and discuss the video. We are focusing on cleaning up tacks, jibes, and pumping. We are also working on upwind speed and technique in breeze and big chop. Our racecourse is on the outside of the Kiel Ford, and the conditions out there are usually quite different than on the inside. Kiel is known for crazy chop and waves, and lots of boat traffic. On the outside, the waves are big and steep, and the wind is very gusty. We have been sailing there a good bit, and I'm happy to say that my technique in those conditions is coming along quite well. I am enjoying the training very much.

The weather has been cold and cloudy as is typical of north Europe. However, the last two days have been sunny and warm enough to make all the video shots look really beautiful. It's like the Caribbean in Germany with clear blue water, lush green shorelines, and huge aggregations of Aurelia-type jellyfish.

"Tropical" Kiel, Germany

Other than the training, logistics have been entertaining. I took the ferry here from Gdynia so I could bring my equipment with me with minimum hassle. The ferry is a new overnight line from Gdynia to Travemunde, and the company, Finnlines, was promoting it. The trip was pretty deluxe: private cabin, jacuzzi, sauna, restaurant, gym...just like a mini-cruise. It made me start to come back to life after a stressful living situation in Sopot. The wind was about 35-30 knots and it rained the entire trip, so we were late to port. Arne picked me up and took me to the venue.

Trucks and my equipment wait to exit the ferry.

I am staying with the other American boardsailors, which is a new experience. Our house is about 5 km from the venue, and we are using bikes and buses to get around. After a night, we were joined by Carolina, who was waiting for her boyfriend to arrive and was scared of staying alone in her house with the ghosts. She abruptly decided that it was a great idea to cut my hair. I gave her free rein to do what she wanted (scary), and off came about eight inches of hair! My head feels a lot lighter and everyone likes the new look, although I sorta think I look like my mom now.

Carolina in action: our official RS:X beauty consultant

"Studio shot" of Carolina's masterpiece

Tomorrow is the practice race, which takes place in the evening. We'll get registered and I will finish some board repair in the morning.


  1. I like that used the proper genus name for the jellyfish. Also, nice haircut. :)

  2. Awesome haircut Farrah!!!!! Send Carolina to Annapolis, i could use her!!!