October 12, 2018

A high quality 5.5 Metre fleet has gathered on the Thunersee in Switzerland for the Herbstpreis, the final international regatta of the year. Though they were rewarded with exceptionally nice weather, the wind abandoned the lake later in the day, after only one very light wind race was sailed. Avalon, SUI 210 (Beat Aebischer, Aaron Teuscher, Christof Gerber) took the win after leading at every mark.

Highlights from Day 1

The nice morning and early afternoon breeze began to fade as soon as the fleet set sail and during the single race sailed, it was never more that 3-4 knots. There was a huge split left and right as boats looked for pressure closer to the shore. Avalon rounded first from Marie-Françoise XIX, SUI 228 (Jürg Menzi, Dino Fumasoli, Christof Wilke), who had made up a lot of ground on the right after a poor start, and Otto, SUI 209 (Bent Christian Wilhelmsen, Lasse Bertelsen, Espen Espen).

By the leeward mark, New Moon, BAH 21 (Christoph Burger, Renato Marazzi, Peter Vlasov) were up to third and then moved to second on the final upwind. The final downwind was crucial, with Avalon covering Marie-Françoise XIXwhile New Moon split from the leaders towards the northern shoreline. It didn’t pay off though with Marie-Françoise XIX moving back to second at the final downwind to follow Avalon up to the finish. New Moon crossed third as the wind fizzled out in the autumn sunshine and the boat inched across the finish line.

The race committee waited in hope that the wind would return, but with the sun beginning to set behind the mountains, daylight was also not on their side. The fleet returned home with just one race on the board.

One of the boats bringing up the rear of the fleet was Shaolin, SUI 226 (Andreas Kindlimann, Martin Huber, Jürgen Eiermann). Shaolin belonged to Rolf Kellenberger, a well-liked Thun 5.5 sailor who died earlier in the year. He was a great sportsman who looked after Shaolin like no other did. He always kept the boat in impeccable condition and was very proud, of it. His crew is keeping his spirit alive by continuing to sail the boat, this week with a new helmsman, Jürgen Eiermann.

Kindlimann said, “Today’s sailing wasn’t that easy at all. In the morning there was a very nice breeze but unfortunately when we started the races, it pretty much died away So we only had one race today in very shifty and light conditions but still it was good fun with the big fleet and good compettion, and we had perfect whether here on Lake Thun.”

“This time Jürgen is helming the boat with us for the first time. It’s always a good laugh to sail the boat with him and he obviously knows a lot about steering boats fast around the track. He is a very calm and positive guy so I think there is a future for Shaolin and Jürgen.”

“We made a few mistakes on the water, We didn’t keep to the strategy we planned to do, we saw some other boats going up the left side and we thought it was a good idea to change to the other side as well. But all in all we didn’t end up last so a good day.”

Eiermann added, “Today was very hard. First of all to be a helmsman of a 5.5 was very special. Then we were too late on the start and we had to go on the left side and we were nearly last all the time. But we had fun in the boat and we were cool enough and on the last reach we took three boats.”

“The people here all sail very well and all I can say is check out the class and go and sail the 5.5 class.”

With Saturday’s forecast showing more wind earlier in the day than later, the fleet has been given notice to assemble at 08.00 ready for an early start. Racing continues until Sunday.

Results after Day 1
1 Avalon, SUI 210 (Beat Aebischer, Aaron Teuscher, Christof Gerber) 1
2 Marie-Françoise XIX, SUI 228 (Jürg Menzi, Dino Fumasoli, Christof Wilke) 2
3 New Moon, BAH 21 (Christoph Burger, Renato Marazzi, Peter Vlasov) 3

Full results