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wMonday, May 29, 2006

Holland Late Night

It has been a long week here in Medemblik, Holland for the HollandRegatta. As we drove up from Austria the temperatures just kept ondropping, giving us a week of cold spring days. It was 8-13 degrees for the most part, and rainy. The night before the start of the regatta I joked that we could go sailing at 9pm because it was still so light outside. Well, sure enough, the next day was very windy and they kept us on postponement all day, until they finally sent us out for a 7:30pm start. We got one race in and then they tried to start us againat 9pm. The wind was dying, the sun was lowering on the horizon and westill had to sail home, when they finally abandonned the race and sent us in. Arriving at the beach at 10pm was a first for me and made for avery late night.
I finished 27th overall. I had some issues with my board. I was not able to keep a lane on starboard tack and I felt like I was dragging a bucket behind me. This did not leave me many options tactically, but atthe end of the day, I was still mid-fleet in a few races. My pumping technique is lacking and when I eventually sort that out, along with lots of the other mistakes that I make here and there, hopefully myresults will improve.
The final race of the regatta was yesterday. The top 10 sailed the medal race on a separate course and the rest of the fleet had their final race on another course. Our course was quite far away and withan offshore breeze of 20-25 knots, it made for some big waves and hold on downwind racing. I was 4th and 5th going around most of the raceuntil the very end where I lost some boards and finished 8th. Now it is off to Turkey for the Europeans for some warmth. I thought this day would never come...

Nikola Girke

posted by editors at 5/29/2006 08:35:00 AM | (1) comments

wWednesday, May 24, 2006

Girls, Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Same old story, this time in sailing:

"While we know some really great women sailors in the cruising scene, one of the most familiar combinations you meet on the water is the guy who is a keen sailor, and the partner who has been dragged off perfectly comfortable dry land into a bumpy ocean and told 'You are just going to love this!'

The wonderful thing about most of these women is that they often do it with a good heart, and even end up loving the adventure.

Gill Attersall from Simply Irresistible writes about cruising from the female/novice sailor perspective, and offers some good sage advice for cruising couples"

posted by editors at 5/24/2006 11:10:00 PM | (0) comments

wMonday, May 22, 2006

World Sailing Games at "Lake Cappuccino"

For the past 2 weeks I have been at Lake Neusiedl in Austria for the World Sailing Games. These Games only happen every 4 years and include 10 one design sailing classes. Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz and Austria Wind Power, this event drew over 1000 competitors from over 60 nations. Our equipment was all supplied to us so that everyone would be on an even playing field.
There were 4 different venues around Lake Neusiedl, Europes largest "shallow" lake (it was never deeper than shoulder height anywhere and it is 11km wide at it is widest and 32km long, and is partially salted. The colour of the lake was like coffee...we called it "Lake Cappuccino".


The World Sailing Games for me was like having two regattas in one. I am trying to get as much racing experience as I can, so this event was perfect. The first week was a qualifying regatta to see which girls would advance to the final "gold" fleet, which was to be sailed in the second week. The gold fleet would include the top 10 of the world ranking list which were invited to the regatta and did not have to
qualify. Since there were only 27 girls total, there was enough equipment that we could all sail in one fleet, so after all the qualification series was finished we learned that we would sail as one group anyway, so really it was just good racing practice.

The winds that we experienced here on Lake Neusiedl were extreme...either really windy or nothing at all, which meant for some long days waiting on shore for the wind to fill in. One day we waited around from 9:30am, and were finally sent out racing at 5:30pm, only to get back to shore past 8pm. Needless to say, that made for a pretty late night and an early start for the next days' super wind.
I finished 17th overall. I was disappointed with some of my race results, but when I put it into perspective of whom I'm racing (the worlds best) and how long I've been on the board, I am proud of my accomplishments so far and believe in myself. I am on a huge learning curve, and have a lot still to learn.


My highlight of the regatta was on the windy day. It was 22-25 knots possibly gusting to 30, and I had great speed, technique and guts, especially downwind, posting a 5th and a 3rd!!! You will see in the picture that it was pretty full on.
All in all, for me the regatta was great. I sailed 16 races, made many mistakes and learned huge lessons. The windsurfing racing is so different from the sailboat racing that I did in the 470s that I am finding that I must relearn and experience many lessons "windsurfer style".
My next regatta is the Holland Regatta which starts on the 24th of May in Medemblik, Holland. Cold and possibly windy......brrrrrr.

Hope all is well and till soon,
Nikola (

posted by editors at 5/22/2006 08:02:00 PM | (0) comments

wThursday, May 18, 2006

Kirsty Jones Kiteboards from Lanzarote to Morocco

On May 13th world wave champion kitesurfer Kirsty Jones from Wales UK, broke the kitesurfing world record by kitesurfing 140 miles from Lanzarote to Morocco, land to land. It took 9 hours, non stop. Kirsty had encountered very light wind 4 hours into the challenge which slowed her down and caused her to become sea sick because of the choppy sea and swell then luckily the wind picked up and she hit speeds of 40 knots. She was forced to change tack and angle to the wind on a few occasions to ensure she arrived at her destination making the journey even more tiring and difficult.
"Although I did not see land for 8 hours, every hour seemed to be different. At the beginning of my journey I encountered a big fin ahead of me which turned out to be two pilot whales, I had flying fish fly over my board, and saw pods of dolphins. I felt very happy and emotional when I began to recognise the coast of Morocco and the landmarks of the village of Tarfaya."
Kirsty used a 12m Flexifoil Iron Kite, a custom made Wave board, and an S-Core 3mm wetsuit.
Kirstys motivation was to raise money, equipment and awareness to a disabled charity in Morocco while bridging two continents, rich and poor through her passion for kitesurfing. Kirsty along with Youths United (an extreme events company who supported Kirsty in her venture) bought with them donated surf and windsurf equipment to give to a small club she helped to establish for the people in the village of Tarfaya to have the opportunity to learn water sports. (source:


posted by editors at 5/18/2006 05:30:00 PM | (0) comments

wFriday, May 05, 2006

Raphaela alone at Sea

Raphaela le Gouvello is 45 years old, a qualified veterinarian specialized in aquaculture (fish farming) and managing director of a company, and has always had several irons in the fire: first her studies, then her profession and of course her passion for windsurfing. Now she faces the ultimate challenge in windsurfing - crossing the (Indian) Ocean!

press release 4th May 2006:
For the first time in her life, the lady windsurfer celebrates her birthday at sea. The Indian Ocean has a special present in store.

It was a special day for Indian Ocean windsurfer today as Raphaela celebrated her birthday, alone in the middle of the ocean but "accompanied" by her family and many supporters.
And in spite of all this, today was not much different from the others. As Raphaela says, "The Indian Ocean gave me a present: imabine a cocktail shaker, and a surfboard with Raphaela inside it, all shaken up over and over again, just to remind me that I am not 20 years old any more, and you can imagine the result. So, today, I had to stop at 2.30 p.m. because it was getting too bad to keep sailing.". Indeed, this morning, while the lady windsurfer was enjoying the relative calm weather (20-25 knots) for the first time in 2 days, the wind started to get up again, just as she was about to start her days sailing. ...

Want to follow Raphaelas adventurous journey?
Check !

posted by editors at 5/05/2006 04:15:00 PM | (1) comments

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