Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Square Meter Rule Jubilee

This year is the the 100th anniversary of the square metre rule class or Skerry Cruisers and in the Jubilee Regatta is just getting underway here in Saltsjobaden.

I'm here helping to crew one of the 30 square metres taking the unusual (for me) position of foredecker - hence the change to the banner at the top.

Saltsjobaden is an idylic corner of Sweden just outside Stockholm, dominated by the Grand Hotel were many of us are sleeping - that is those not on the boats.

Outside the marina has been cleared of its usual yachts and is packed full of classic boats - plus a few others like a maxi trimiran and some serious offshore racers (more on this later).

The good news is the boat arrived in one piece as did its crew and important cargo (case of red to avoid the scandelously high prices here). The bad news is we didn't do that well in the first test race this afternoon. So its back to life as normal at the rear end of the fleet.

Of course in an ideal world all the other boats would be crewed by Swedish blondes who who approach us saying "we do not understand this sailing, please you show us and we explain to you the sauna, ya?"

Alas the crews are made up of two categories: firstly there is the grizzled local who has sailed these waters since he was four and knows the wind shifts before they happen. Then there's the athletic semi-pros with their wrap around sun-glasses and t-shirts from tournaments they have competed in.

As one other Brit captain put it - "They're pretty good, aren't they?"

But everyone is very friendly. So sailing along this afternoon another classic boat glided by and we were hailed by a call of "Did you fix the rudder then?". After our skipper goes "Eh?" the other explains "Its Eric - I built your boat. The rudder wasn't quite right last time I saw her".

Yes, we explain, we have fixed the rudder. But to do well in the races tomorrow we're going to have fix a lot of other things.


Tillerman said...

I must remember, "Did you fix your rudder?" It's a great line for psyching out fellow competitors.

JP said...

I think it was meant to be friendly and we aren't worth psyching - but feel free to use it!