2002 470 Masters' Cup
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Every year, a bunch of people with some grey hairs gather from all over Europe - and sometime from further down there, trucking a 470, for one of the most appreciated events in the 470 calender: the World Master's Cup.
To qualify for this venue, you must be a skipper of more than 35 years and bring together a crew of at least 70 years. The World Masters regatta attracted competitors with about the same skills, sometimes neglecting regular training in profit of virtual goals in professional life. That was until, in 1996 at Doha, Qatar, the Apprendice Masters were introduced. For this category, the age of the skipper must exceed 30 and the total crew age 60. The Grandmasters were also introduced, with a minimum age of 50 and a total of 100 years, that's my class, but contrary to what would be sensible at our age, we keep sailing quite emotionally.
The new categories became patent in Quiberon 2000, where the Masters were competing with the candidates for the Olympic games of Sydney. The overall winners were Apprendice Masters, while the Masters were the Olympia selectionned US Women. The grandmasters sailed in the foam of the other boats, but had their own ranking.
The Master 2002 took place at Lake Starnberg, south of Munich, Germany, 19-22 September. As the name says, the Oktoberfest in Munich begins in September, and that beer-smelling date attracted numerous sailors, especially from Germany: 39 boats, the second largest participation since I was sailing Masters, i.e. 1992. This high participation owes to Frank and Andrea Winter, who drummed the sailors, probably promising Freibier every day. (for foreigners: Freibeer is a magic word in Germany which makes everybody yell and gather around in search for the promised beverage)
The promise was duely kept by the Bayerischer Yacht Club: Freibier was the rule everyday. But not only that: weisse Würstel - a Bavarian speciality - and copious breakfasts were offered by the Club and by sponsors every morning.
That kept the mood up in face of rainy fall weather und faint winds. It took a lot of competence from the Regatta Committee led by Mucki Binder to organize the races, and they did a great job. Another class at the same time on the lake was towed back and forth, but spend several days without a race. This called for flexibility, fast decisions and little time lost in moving marks around.
The first day was quite decisive, with three races. The marks were laid in outer loops. A strange 2-3 wind came down the hills from West, pushing rain clouds. It was wise to run as many races as possible, since in the following days, the wind became fainter and left to place on the last day to vertically falling rain drops.
What the competitors did appreciate was the fantastic infrastructure of the Bayerischer Yacht Club: drying room for the coats, warm showers for the soaken backs, gemütliche Bar at the Club.
There was no need to go to Munich for the Oktoberfest. The BYC organised an evening at the Royal Brewery in Kaltenberg (yes, Bavaria is headed by a Prince), where the brewing process was revealed and ample oportunity given to taste the result. That was where my wife drank beer for the first time in delight - since then we sip sometimes, but it's not the same anymore.
It remains us to thank the Bayerischer Yacht Club for its generous hospitality, and to say "Auf Wiedersegeln" to the participants.
As expected, the ranking list was dominated by the Apprendice Masters:
1) Stefan Schneider and Frank Thieme (GER, 1st overall rank)
2) Stefan Meister and Jan Lietzmann (GER, 2nd rank)
3) Patrizia Fischer and Peter Mühlhauser (SUI, 4th rank, first woman and sailing a 14 years old boat)
But the Masters followed with little distance:
1) Thomas Schiffer and Thomas Kindersmann (GER, 3rd rank)
2) Jörg Saeger and Andreas Glutschke (GER, 5th rank)
3) Klaus Eiermann and Peter Eiermann (GER, 6th rank)
And the Grand Masters showed the stern to many younger crews:
1) Martin Steiger and Hans VonMoos (SUI, 7th rank)
2) Walter Weissmann and Gisela Weissmann (GER, 23rd rank)
3) Stan Speer and Dawn Speer (GBR, 28th rank and the fleet's veterans)