Based on this information, I'm sure everyone can understand why I had a certain humility for the task ahead of me. Arriving within the time limit was my only goal!

 

Sailing is a sport in which preparation is the be-all and end-all. Once on the water, the sailor can only draw on the resources she has packed ashore. The exchange of information via radio is prohibited, just like using a mobile phone. 

 

These restrictions make preparation before the start extremely important! Once sailing off, then really EVERYTHING is just in your hands. But once you start sailing, all the tension is gone, and you just have to do it. That is an incredibly beautiful switch in the head.

 

After the start, came a downwind leg that went once around Île De Ré. As the fleet, all close together, rounded the southernmost point of the island and crossed up, the wind also increased.

 

The field crossed dangerously close to the land of Île De Ré. Seeing a boat sailing on Adrena (the navigation system) on a green background pretty much rings alarm bells for a Baltic sailor like me! Of course, we had high tide at the time. And this strategy of "sailing close to shore" was possible. But some were punished for their risk-taking. Hardest of all, "Edenred", which “lay dry” for about two hours.    

 

Until the morning of the second night, the field was about 2 km apart, I still had contact with the main field. What an incredible success! 

 

And even more, what an incredible motivation for me.

 

At that moment I realized that I love the class because you can practically look your opponent in the eye, it's relentless and just competitive. I love that kind of thing.  

 

Then came the downwind courses, which were initiated by a rounding at Belle Île. Here was a really steep wave and up to 20 knots of wind. If you messed up the spinnaker placement here, you would have drifted first into a zone forbidden by the race committee, and then onto the rocks of Belle Île. My clear decision was to take it really carefully. 

 

Quite surprised, I found that the others were not intimidated by the risks. As soon as the highest point of Belle Île was reached, everyone turned off and the spinnaker was up in seconds. When I saw in the competitors that it was possible, I followed their example. I guess that's how it is at the first regatta. First, you look at the experienced ones.

 

From that moment on, I lost contact with the field, but I didn't care, I just wanted to finish without breaking. 

And I was to be very lucky: Nothing gave in to the forces of the wind and the waves, and there was plenty of both on the nearly 10-hour downwind leg.

 

Only later, about 5 hours before the finish, an instrument failed, which gave me some adrenaline. About 60 miles from the finish, the boat, and thus the Adrena navigation system, lost its GPS. That meant I could no longer see my position and direction of travel on the map.  I was a bit desperate because 60 miles is too long to just steer "into the blue". In addition, there was a lot of fog that day, and I could not see land until about 2 miles ahead. 

 

On Adrena, however, I could see an opponent ahead of me. My only chance to find the finish was to copy all his manoeuvres and keep my position on the map in relation to him. Thus, I could know roughly where I was. I came out three miles north of the finish line and then had to sail half-wind the distance back to the harbour. But I didn't care about all that, because after 2 days, 4 hours and 11 minutes I had finally reached my goal and survived the regatta in one piece.

 

The feeling of having made it was overwhelming for me. The first achievement gives me a lot of security and confidence for my second solo leg, which is already coming up in a few weeks.  At the Allmer Cup in Le Havre, I will sail my second start. 

 

Finally, I would like to thank my partners, who without their financial support, I would not have been on the starting line. Thanks go out to Bootspunkt, the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein and Clemens Kraus. Thank you very much!