Ever since last year’s French Open in Cannes we had been thinking that a modern 5.5 would be an excellent choice to try racing on. Before committing to buying, we thought it would be a good idea to try racing a chartered one, although these boats are very difficult to find for chartering. With the right help from our good friend Chris Burger – 5.5 World Champion with the New Moon team – we found NOR 64 which was being refitted in the Netherlands during the winter and was on her way to Norway for the Worlds later in the year.
So we arrive in Hamburg in a morning in June, me flying in from London and the rest of the team flying in from Athens. We jump on a humongous rental Cadillac Escalade and two hours later we arrive at the Flensburg Yacht Club. Our boat, “Clark Kent”, had arrived there only an hour earlier. We immediately started unpacking the boat and setting up the rig. We were eager to go out training as this was our first encounter ever with a modern 5.5.
When on the water, we started appreciating the qualities of the boat. Very agile, pointing very high and very fast downwind. Was three hours of training enough for us to go out next morning and compete against the best of the fleet ? We had our doubts !
The following days were just fantastic. The event was very well organized, racing was very close and competition very strong. We managed to stay among the top boats of the fleet ending up the regatta on sixth overall. Not bad considering that three out of the five boats ahead of us were World Champions !!
The German Association was very warm and supportive throughout the event. At the official dinner we were presented with a printed class flag with our sail number – GRE 4 – on it. The party at the Robbe & Berking shipyard was one of a kind.
We will try to be next year here, but with our own boat this time around.