As the guest of the Russian energy giant GAZPROM, I’ve been given a boat and a crewman with which to compete in the Baltic Cup, European Champs and the Worlds here in northern Sweden. We set up the boats this afternoon after a six hour drive north from Stockholm. It wasn’t until we were only 100km from our destination of Ostersund that we began to see ice. First it was the rotten spring time type, then firming up and filling in, and then vast sheets of grey snow ice. And as a final welcome as we rounded the last turn in the twisty decent to the lake one of the Dutch boats came roaring around the point!
The pits are muddy but happy. Lots of these guys haven’t sailed at all this season and this coming week will all they get for the year. My crewman Dimitri speaks no English, but you can’t hear much at speed anyway. Last time an American team raced here they broke a boom, so my goal is to just finish cleanly and not break anything. Practice races tomorrow with the serious stuff beginning Monday and going all week.
Boats on the ice in their shrink wrapped travel duds. We did get the planks on and masts stepped. The fuselage just sits on the plank positioned with blocks of wood on the bottom and on the plank; no nasty stud plates. It just takes a couple of good butt drops on the deck to seat it, and the the shrouds hold it there. It’s a crude version of Fortier’s balls, which proved their worth last week on Sebago when Dave noticed one of his bolts had rattled out. I sure hope that happened AFTER our mile a minute drag race!
Those of you who know the meaning of “Fast Piece Of Furniture” will appreciate the irony…