DN Regatta Reports 2012-2013 Season
DN GOLD CUP & NORTH AMERICANS
Click for weather forecast
The DN Gold Cup and North American Championship primary site is Lake Pepin in between Wisconsin and Minnesota. The regatta is scheduled to begin on January 26 and run through February 2, 2013. Official information is posted on the DN Forum.
February 6, 2013
"I fought like David and Goliath"
An interview with Tomek Zakrzewski
"Second time in a row you have been [ice sailing] world champion. How do you assess the regatta, hosted by former United States?
- were the most difficult championships in which they competed so far. Firstly, because of logistical reasons venturing across the Atlantic, we take each other a minimum of equipment. So I stood in the port with two small bags, and next appeared in American Ron Sherry, with the output 14 world championship medals, with two trailers of equipment. Seemed to be the battle between David and Goliath."
Read the rest of the interview here. You will have to run it through a translator, such as Google. Please remember that translators are not 100% accurate yet.
February 5, 2013
February 2, 2013
February 1, 2013
January 31, 2013
"World Cup Ice Boating Competition Takes Over Lake Pepin"
The racers came from eight countries (1:27). Video here..
This sport can be hours of waiting around puncuated with moments of sheer adreniline pumping madness when the call to race is announced. Yesterday was another one of those days where the scoring team was in stand by while ensconced at our condo waiting for the word to race. 4691, 44, and P55 scouted for a better ice sheet because the one used for the Gold Cup was a formerly slushed now rutted up mess. Big gusty winds forced postponment all day. They found two good sheets and we'll learn at the 10 AM skippers meeting what the plan for today is to be.
Loretta and Mercedes took the opportunity to properly store the international flags that were used in the opening ceremonies. Loretta made sure to have a Czech Republic flag on hand just in case Vladislav Ptasnik, who had come for the Western Challenge in December, came for the Worlds. She really puts a lot of effort in making sure everything runs smoothly for opening ceremonies.
Loretta and I had breakfast at the diner in town where we ran into Team Madison, Daniel Hearn, Wes Wilcox, Geoff Sobering and Jim Nordhaus, enjoying a meal. We ran into them again at noon (with the addition of Ken Smith and Pete Johns) when Mercedes and Hal Bowman US 1277 invited us to lunch at a bar that was formerly an old bank. Mercedes kept us laughing as she inquired about a special drink that was advertised in a hand written sign on the bar. She ordered one, took one little sip, and then had Hal finish it off.
We actually had three meals today which is most unusual. Dinner was again broiled walleye at the hotel in a quiet corner away from the "excitement" at the bar.
Quite a few of the Europeans took off to Mall of America, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. When we headed up to bed from dinner, we noticed their van wasn't in the lot so they must have had a very successful day of shopping and we look forward to discussing their purchases with them.
Now off we go to the skippers' meeting. (Hope this report exceeds your expectations Kevin!)
January 29, 2013
Gold Cup Complete
Congratulations Tomek Zakrzewski for winning the DN Gold Cup for the second year in a row. Results here. North Americans scheduled for tomorrow.
Lightening EditionNot much going on here yesterday. Three of the scoring team spent the day hanging out next to the fireplace on alert waiting for the call that never came. However on the ice, sailors found ways to entertain themselves. Strange to see a lightening show last night after the banquet. Heading out the door soon to see what the day brings....Oh, and here's a very nice photo gallery from K11.
January 28, 2013
What Day Is This Report
I just asked Loretta what day this is because I'm really not sure. She says it's Monday but it sure doesn't feel like a Monday. Two races yesterday in tough conditions for sailors and scorers. The snow, sleet, rain, ice pellets, ice chunks, and God knows what else coming down from the sky limited visibility and soaked the scoring sheets. I have no idea what the ice conditions are today. In ice boating, you just have to show up no matter what. A shout out to the Marias from Sweden/Detroit and Netherlands! We miss you Detroit Maria and we are having a good time with Hennie Netherlands Maria.
Name and Number!
Love this video put together by Jim McDonagh...
January 27, 2013
Preliminary results from day one here.Thank you Loretta!
In The News
Ice boaters chase ideal conditions to Pepin
January 26, 2013
Moon rise over the Gold Cup
Not much to report sailing wise but I've been told that people around the world are clamoring to read this blog (ha) so here's an account of our day from a Scorers Point of View. This is my first time on Pepin and the condos here are too good for ice boaters!
Loretta and I have turned the living room into our office and the views from the third floor are incredible. Pepin is famous for American Bald Eagles and sure enough, just saw one fly by as I type this.
Ice sailors from all over the world are here, Germany (hello Marit!), the Netherlands (hello Alexandra!), Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Canada are all represented. Of course a few of them were seen at the bar last night or so I'm told. (I highly recommend the walleye at this hotel.)
Head scorer Loretta Rehe traveled from Detroit with a van of Dutchmen, her brother, and nephew. They arrived around 9 PM last night and we settled in quite nicely.
Working by the fire
First business of the day was to drop the Western Region ATV at the landing and then find a car wash to get rid of the 2" thick coating of salt. Every car that's traveled here looks like a salt mine support vehicle. Loretta, Mercedes (another scorer and wife of US 1277), and I spent the morning contributing to the local economy.
It is interesting to note that Lake City has so far kept the bigger chain stores out and whether that's deliberate, I'm not sure. We hit Food Fiesta where the staff was very nice and even stupidly considered plans to make a turkey dinner in our fully equipped kitchen. Ask us again after we spend our first day on the ice how much we'd love to cook a big meal but better duck your head out of the way first. Then on to a very busy non-chain drugstore and pharmacy.
Food Fiesta didn't carry wine or any alcohol (and they call it a fiesta?) so we were faced with a choice between two rival liquor stores on either side of the street. We (well, me, because I was driving) based our selection upon the one that looked the coolest though Discount Liquors could get a visit yet this week. Registration is at 5 PM at the hotel across the street. Loretta will be busy tonight inputting the competitors names in the computer. Oh, and the sailing? It's pretty quiet here today because everyone is out practicing. Things will start getting serious here soon. And that is an account of our exciting day as support staff for the DN Gold Cup.
January 24, 2013
Robert Graczyk DN P31 at Springers
Photo from Polish Facebook Page
The current DN Gold Cup champion, Tomasz Zakrzewski P55, Robert Graczyk, and Robert's son, Phillipe, have spent some time scouting ice in Wisconsin the past few days. After looking at Lake Winnebago, they decided to come to the Four Lakes area and sail on Kegonsa Tuesday but found some bumpy ice. On Wednesday, they sailed the west end of Lake Mendota but were concerned about the sticky drifts and size of the course they felt was limited by some cracks. They are now in Lake City, MN ready to sail on Lake Pepin today. Read Tomek's reports on the Polish DN website. It's in Polish and you'll have to run it through a translator (which isn't perfect) to get the gist of his reports.
January 5-6, 2013
Lake Kegonsa near Madison, WI
Via Daniel Hearn, " As North American Ice Opti Champion for 2012, Griffin Sherry was the first recipient of a new traveling trophy—a Renegade radio controlled iceboat—which will be put into the care of the reigning champion each year moving forward. The impressive machine was generously donated to the NAIORA by German, Christian Seegers, G551. Christian and his son, Andreas, are frequent participants in ice sailing regattas in the United States. The NAIORA is extremely grateful to Christian, and we’ll look forward to sharing ice with Team Seegers in the future."
Daniel Hearn Secretary, North American Junior Ice Sailing
DN Western Regional Video
Dave Elsmo 3rd and WR Commodore Julie Jankowski
Congratulations to Team Madison's top finishers at the regatta. Daniel Hearn placed 20th in Gold, Dave Elsmo 3rd in Silver, Tim Sugar 5th in Silver, and Kyle Metzloff 10th with Kyle winning a race on Sunday.
Tim Sugar 5th Silver
Kyle Metzloff 10th Silver
Western Regionals Video
Video by Allen Penticoff
Here's a photo gallery of the regatta taken by Allen Penticoff.
Via Minnetonka DNer Mike Bloom, "Buddy Melges coaches Team Tonka at DN Western Regionals. Scott Brown, Mike Bloom, Mark 'Doctor" Christensen, Jim Gluek and Buddy Melges." Buddy was all over the place on Saturday spending some time with the Skeeters and Renegades over on their course as well.
Pos Sail# Name Race> 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Points
1 US 44 Sherry, Ron 1 ( 3) 1 2 1 1 1 7.00
2 US 4824 Christensen, Mark 2 1 2 4 2 4 (DNF) 15.00
3 US 4691 Dennis, John 3 4 3 3 ( 7) 2 2 17.00
4 US 4926 Orlebeke, Steve 6 5 4 1 3 3 ( 7) 22.00
5 US 5014 Isabell, Mark 4 14 5 (DNF) 5 5 5 38.00
6 US 216 Rich, Potcova 8 6 ( 14) 10 4 9 3 40.00
7 US 2545 Derusha, Mike 7 10 13 5 ( 26) 8 10 53.00
8 US 5214 McDonagh, Jim ( 25) 16 10 6 6 10 6 54.00
9 US 5219 Baker, Kent 11 2 15 ( 15) 11 7 9 55.00
10 US 5432 Bloom, Mike ( 27) 7 8 7 10 16 11 59.00
11 US 4811 Chatterton, Markham 14 9 12 9 9 13 ( 15) 66.00
12 US 4257 Gluek, Jim (DNS) 12 18 22 8 11 4 75.00
13 US 4882 Wollam, Richard 13 13 7 14 23 (DNF) 8 78.00
14 US 3271 Jankowski, Mike 9 18 11 11 20 ( 23) 14 83.00
15 US 5298 Brown, Scott 5 11 23 16 12 ( 24) 16 83.00
16 US 445 Cave, Bob 15 22 6 12 16 ( 25) 12 83.00
17 US 602 Meyer, Tom 12 25 16 13 (DNF) 6 13 85.00
18 US 4155 Lemberg, Rick 18 17 9 18 15 14 ( 21) 91.00
19 US 4868 Richards, Julie 10 8 19 ( 24) 22 21 17 97.00
20 US 5352 Hearn, Daniel 23 19 ( 27) 8 19 12 20 101.00
21 US 2360 Johns, Pete 21 15 17 19 ( 24) 20 18 110.00
22 US 244 Erwin, Terry 17 21 ( 26) 17 17 19 23 114.00
23 US 4148 Dixon, Tim 22 ( 26) 25 20 14 15 19 115.00
24 US 5414 Wilcox, Wes 19 20 ( 28) 21 25 17 22 124.00
25 US 2170 Creigh, John 24 24 22 23 13 22 ( 25) 128.00
26 US 1277 BOWMAN, HAL (GM) 20 DNF 24 (DNF) 21 18 24 138.00
27 US 5435 Kjoller, Jody (DNS) DNS 21 25 18 26 26 147.00
28 US 294 Loenneke, Lou 16 23 20 DNF (DNF) DNF DNS 152.00
29 US 4252 Ball, Dave 26 DNF DNF (DNF) DNF DNF DNS 181.00
Scoring system: IDNIYRA Worlds
Pos Sail# Name Race> 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Points
1 US 5501 Orlebeke, Peter 1 1 4 6 4 3 ( 7) 19.00
2 US 5430 Cutting, Bill 2 4 1 1 ( 10) 7 4 19.00
3 US 5486 Elsmo, Dave 7 5 ( 8) 4 1 2 2 21.00
4 US 4602 Kickhafer, David 3 3 3 2 6 6 ( 9) 23.00
5 US 5508 Sugar, Tim ( 25) 6 9 9 2 5 3 34.00
6 US 5369 Miller, Mike ( 12) 9 6 10 5 4 1 35.00
7 US 4137 Smith, Ken 5 2 5 3 ( 11) 11 11 37.00
8 US 4 Sherry, Griffin 4 8 10 ( 17) 8 9 13 52.00
9 US 5358 Frost, David 10 15 14 7 ( 17) 8 6 60.00
10 US 5522 Metzloff, Kyle 16 14 20 5 (DNF) 1 5 61.00
11 US 4203 Fitzgerald, Patrick 6 10 ( 17) 12 7 14 15 64.00
12 US 5506 Hurd, Charlie 15 ( 20) 13 8 9 13 10 68.00
13 US 805 Pegel, Jane 14 7 7 16 ( 21) 20 17 81.00
14 US 5507 Barnett, Mike 18 12 (DNF) 14 14 17 8 83.00
15 US 5156 Sobering, Geoff 11 19 16 ( 20) 12 12 14 84.00
16 US 5158 Bushey, John 8 13 18 11 20 18 ( 21) 88.00
17 US 4293 Schuette, Paul 9 16 ( 25) 15 15 16 18 89.00
18 US 5401 Nordhaus, Jim ( 26) 11 11 19 18 15 19 93.00
19 US 246 Erwin, Graham 27 17 26 13 3 (DNF) 12 98.00
20 US 5404 Mintz, Bill 17 18 12 ( 29) 23 21 28 119.00
21 US 5290 Huttner, Patrick 19 21 19 22 ( 22) 22 22 125.00
22 US 5219 Beresni, Mike 13 22 28 ( 28) 27 24 24 138.00
23 US 4271 Jankowski, Julie 28 28 2 26 30 25 ( 31) 139.00
24 US 4140 Hoeper, Peter (DNS) 23 21 23 28 26 26 147.00
25 US 5144 Sherry, Trevor 20 24 23 ( 30) 24 27 29 147.00
26 US 1313 Rast, Bob 29 29 DNF (DNF) 19 19 16 150.00
27 US 4490 Lundy, Peter 24 25 22 24 29 28 ( 30) 152.00
28 US 4291 Kallman, Rick DNS DNS (DNS) DNS 13 10 20 157.00
29 US 5310 Ebert, Joye 22 27 24 27 31 30 ( 32) 161.00
30 US 148 Kutschenretter, George DNS (DNS) 27 25 25 DNF 25 178.00
31 US 3433 Cummins, Bob DNS (DNS) DNS 18 16 31 DNF 179.00
32 US 5451 Allen, Andy (DNS) DNS 15 21 DNF DNF DNF 188.00
33 P 71 Ziolkowski, Leszek 21 26 29 DNF (DNF) DNF DNF 190.00
34 US 4943 Brewer, John DNS DNS (DNS) DNS 26 29 23 192.00
35 US 5479 Hearn, Frankie DNS DNS (DNS) DNS 32 23 27 196.00
36 US 5351 Hurley, Lucinda 23 DNF DNF (DNF) DNF DNF DNF 213.00
37 US 2930 Jombock, DNS DNS 30 (DNF) DNF DNF DNF 220.00
Scoring system: IDNIYRA Worlds
2013 Western Regional Championship - Opti
Pos Sail# Name Race> 1 2 3 4 5 Points
1 US 2 Sherry, Griffin 1 ( 1) 1 1 1 4.00
2 US 28 Orlebeke, Cole 2 ( 2) 2 2 2 8.00
3 US 13 Kickhafer, Matthew 3 ( 3) 3 3 3 12.00
Scoring system: IDNIYRA Worlds
GREAT WESTERN CHALLENGE
November 30-December 2, 2012
Pelican Lake/Lake Christina near Ashby,MN
December 20, 2012
Vladislav Ptasnick's WC Blog
"Frankie Hearn and Griffin Sherry. Future of US DN Sailing" That's Vlada in the middle.
4LYC DNers Daniel and Frankie Hearn hosted DN sailor and Czech Republic IDNIYRA Secretary, Vladislav Ptasnick, during the Western Challenge. Vlada has translated his blog into English and it's a very interesting read on his experience here, the first time he's visited the United States.
Part 1, The Journey
Part 2, In Madison
Part 3, Preparation
Part 4, Training Day
Part 5, Racing Day 1
Part 6, Racing Day 2
December 19, 2012
December 2, 2012
On the Road Back to Madison
I'm able to post this update because Tim Sugar graciously offered to drive my car so that I could get some computer work done. We left the lake about 2 hours ago. Sorry for no update yesterday but I was just too tired to do much other than rehydrate and recharge. It was a long day on the ice with 12 races back to back and a lot of walking. Today we ran 9 races back to back. Preliminary results are posted on the Minnesota Ice Sailing Site.
November 30, 2012
Breakfast had an international flavor this morning with sailors from Europe and Africa, including a first time Ice Opti sailor from South Africa, DN sailors from Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland. The east coast of America was represented by Connecticut sailor Geoffrey and his father who flew out so that Geoffrey could sail his new Ice Optimist. The kids immediately became uninterested in listening to the grown ups and set up their own table away from us.
We caravanned about 30 minutes to the Pelican Lake from Alexandria with me in the lead. I wasn't exactly sure where the landing was but figured that I'd just look for the masts and find it by dead reckoning. Suddenly, a big group of ice boat trailers appeared right next to the highway and we had arrived.
The ice is beautiful and smooth in that fresh ice way. The wind was perfect today, blowing between 12-15 mph and no one wasted any time setting up their DNs and Ice Optimists. Everyone passed the word about the known hazard of the goose hole towards the south and the DNs took off for the northern part of the lake to scrub race.
Daniel Hearn got the kids comfortable in their Ice Optis, set up some cones, and soon had them all playing follow the leader. I can't tell you who was fast in the DNs today because I watched Daniel coaching the Ice Optis but I'm 100% positive that anyone who sailed here today will probably rate it as some of the most perfect conditions ever.
View from the dashboard in Black River Falls, WI
Deb's AM Report: Had an uneventful trip from Madison to Alexandria, MN unlike some other ice boaters from Detroit who are currently dealing with trailer problems in Wisconsin Dells. When I left Madison, it was 40F and it was a good feeling to watch the temperature keep dropping the closer I got to Alexandria. It's definitely winter here and there's quite a bit of frozen ice.
Had a fun dinner last night with the sailors from Northern Michigan. Meeting up for breakfast with Daniel Hearn and his guest from the Czech Republic, DN sailor Vladislav Ptasnik, then off to the lake for the Ice Opti sailing. I'll try and post a few pictures in the 4LIYC Facebook page during the day.
On Friday, October 19, European DN Commodore Jorge Bohn and colleague George Manu, began a great adventure, flying the Jorge's Ruschmeyer around Africa as part of Medicine On the Move, an organization that improves lives of West Africans through community-based healthcare education. Read here for all the background on how this came to be.
November 6, 2012
This time we picked the other hotel in Dakhla, the Bab al Bahr. Definitely the better choice. Probably one of the last hot days ahead on our Journey. On our way to the airport we took enough Dirham from an ATM to pay for our fuel bills in Dakhla today and in Agadir tomorrow. If recalculated into Euros or Dollars at a fuel truck the given rates are usually not good. We passed security with no delay. People smiled and where again very helpful. Special thanks to the controller, a great guy. The fuel truck showed up on time with a fresh 200 litre drum of Avgas 100 LL. When it came to settle the bill we were asked to show our receipts from the ATM with for the Dirham. Well, we left those behind because we thought we won't need them. Our lesson learned today: No prove where your money came from in Morocco no pay. We paid again in Dollars and now don't know what to do with 10000 Dirham (more than 1000 US$). We could live here another month with that amount and only had two ideas to get rid of that amount in just one night. We'll let you know tomorrow how we spend it. Take off almost an hour ahead of time on Runway 03 took us straight to the coast. Again a scenic flight, desert on the right and the Atlantic on the left. It is mandatory to take the routing along the coastline. If we had to go down for any reason at least it would be easier to spot us. Further the N1, the only road within hundreds of kilometres is built along the coast as well. The desert routing this way makes sense and gives you the safety you need in this environment. Beautiful and empty beaches for thousand of miles. Again with a push by the wind we made it in less than 4 hours to Agadir. The beach in front of hotel invited us for a swim before we took our sundowner at the bar.
From tomorrow on our challenges will change. So far we had to struggle with sky high fees for airport handling. From tomorrow on it will be the European weather, unless we can't spend our Dirham tonight. Then we have to consider to stay a few more weeks in the warm climate of Morocco.
Sundowner in Agadir, our destination for day 5
November 5, 2012
Jan and Joerg on their first flight from Accra to Monrovia on Nov3rd
After struggling with the hotel internet and scanner we finally took a shuttle bus to the airport. Along the road some of the houses were still in ruins, even the war is over for almost 9 years. It 's obvious. There are a few very rich and a lot of poor people in the country. Blue helm troops and vehicles everywhere. Business seems to go well at least for some big companies. On the bus a delegation of the Mormon church, who seem to have quite a big community in Liberia. They even knew a former colleague of mine, who used to be the Chief Pilot of Lufthansa at the time I worked there. What a small world. 45 minutes upon our departure from the hotel our driver William dropped us safely.
We knew how to pass security and went straight to the Met Office. The friendly lady had difficulties to get the weather for the day. She offered us the charts for the following day, that we didn't require. Finally Joerg surprised here by installing a new weather program onto her computer, enabling her to provide the weather for the day needed. The guys knew Joerg from his last visit, when he negotiated hours about the landing fees. This time the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed and we got even a free ride to our plane (last time 95 US$).
Just an hour later as planned Jan lifted the Ruschi off RWY 22 and joined the filed route with a right turn. Clouds forced us to leave our altitude of 1800 ft for 10.000 ft. Again sad news for Jan wishing to spot some elephants, giraffes and other animals. "Why you don't go the the zoo at home?" Joerg asked. Jan thought that wasn't funny. The tailwinds pushed us with groundspeeds around 180 kts. With the wind we made it in a little more than 4 hours instead of almost 5. Again a scenic flight crossing four countries. Approaching Dakar we left the bright green forests. You could already feel that tomorrow the desert is all we will see. Dakhlah-we are coming!
Just past Abidjan.
November 4, 2012
Day 1 02.11.2012
Accra / Kpong
At the evening Nov. 1st George and Joerg drove to Accra Intl Airport, where Jan Wuppermann just flew in from Germany. Jan and Joerg will take the Ruschmeyer Aircraft back home. They all enjoyed the gathering with original African food in George's home accompanied by a good bottle of South African red wine. The schedule for the following day was tied, so all of them went to bed early.
Next morning we all drove to Kpong Field where "Medicine On The Move" is based. On our way we took a turn onto an old closed airfield where 50 years ago the previously on island Juist trained young pilots continued their flying career. The airfield and the old hangers still looked great and could open up again any time. Just after another 15 min drive we arrived at Kpong. Jan got the chance to take rides in planes the female students built. He got introduced to the medical drop procedures including low level flying. Very exciting, he said with a big smile. At the same time George and Joerg listened to the presentations the girls have made about experiences during their first Ruschmeyer flight some days ago. After their visit all three drove to the Accra Intl Airport to prepare their plane for the return journey to Germany the following day. Access to the Avgas fuel was not as easy as expected, but after four hours and several phone calls into several countries and Ghana finally a barrel of fuel showed up! We rather keep quiet about the price paid. Anyway: we were good to go and went to our farewell dinner with Dirk Moellers, a diplomat of the German embassy.
Day 2 3.Nov.
Accra - Monrovia
Again our host George Manu treated us with an excellent breakfast and we took off in time for the airport. After being around there for almost a week getting to know all procedures, access to the apron was easy. On the apron Dirk Moellers showed up to personally say good bye to us. He urged us not to do any unplanned landings within the outback of Ghana, otherwise his embassy would have a lot of work. Both, George and Dirk waved good bye and we were on our way to Monrovia. Thank you for all you have done for us. You're fantastic! Excellent weather, friendly controllers and a beautiful scenery made the flight pure pleasure.
During approach Joerg informed the airport ground staff that there is no need for a crew bus (-95 US$) for the 150m to the terminal, further no marshaller (-50 US$) and no one who puts the chocks for the tires in place (-50 US$). The result was visible later. The amount previously paid got cut in half. Yes, we had our lesson and now there is budget for a bottle of wine with dinner that we just had and are looking forward now to another adventures day on our journey to Dakar, Senegal tomorrow.
October 28, 2012
Follow the flight in real time. Every 10 minutes there will be an update on a map with height, speed and our exact position.
Jorge: Day 9: The Final Blog
"We made it! At 1725 hrs GMT, George landed the Ruschmeyer at Kotoka International Airport in Accra. Joerg, not for the first time, thought the landing could have been better, commenting later that George flared too early and should have looked outside the side window, and not forward through the windshield, to get a better judgment of the distance from the ground. But then, he has done over a thousand landings in his time and still does dozens of landings every week, whilst George is still counting by the tens and only gets to fly once every week or two, when not travelling for his work. The important thing, though, is that we had made the long journey from Juist, Germany to Accra, Ghana – without incident, mishap or even arrest. Altogether, we flew over 4,000 nautical miles (about 7,200 kms). The Ruschmeyer R90 plane was impeccableaveraging speeds of about 150 knots (270 km/h) and flying at altitudes of up to 9,500 ft with more than full weight load – a fine testimony to German engineering.
We set off from Liberia at 1pm today, with our feathers a little ruffled. For, in all the places that we landed – Limoges, Sevilla, Agadir, Dahkla, Dakar – the most we ever paid for landing fees and parking was about US$ 50. Not so in Robertsville, Liberia. This morning, we were slapped with a fee of over US$ 500. Initially, they wanted to charge over US$ 1,000, until we protested! What for? We still do not understand. We were charged for items such as runway lighting, even though we arrived and took off in broad daylight and did not once see any runway lights. We were also charged over US$ 90 for the bus shuttle, even though, we never asked for a bus, which in any case took us less than 150 metres from our plane to the arrival gate. Security was over US$ 120. For marshalling service, they demanded US$ 50, even though there was no marshall around when we arrived and we made our own way to the parking position. Just the day before, we had paid less than US$ 10 in Dakar, Senegal for landing fees and parking. If a relatively developed city like Dakar with a very busy airport charges just US$ 10, what is the justification for an airport in a country like Liberia charging over US$ 500? Here is a classic case of a bad investment climate. No wonder, there were no planes in sight in all the time we were there, except for a small 10-seater aircraft and some UN planes. George was adamant that he would never again land a plane in that country, if ever he had a choice.
Looking at the big picture, we are grateful to God that our mission has been accomplished. Joerg is visibly relaxed. We celebrated this evening with a spicy Ghanaian fish stew with vegetables and basmati rice plus a bottle of South African red wine. Joerg still managed to clear his plate, despite the pepper in the food which had him drinking about half-a-dozen glasses of cold water. He commented later that his nostrils were all nicely cleared.
Today’s flight was not without adventure. We had to battle through thunderstorms and cumulonimbus clouds. We flew as low as 1,000 ft at times and diverted off track along the coast to stay clear of weather. We departed special VFR (visual flight rules) to get through. We also had to manage our fuel frugally, which meant reducing our speed. But, thank God, it all worked out well and we are here. We are grateful to all of you following us and especially for those of you who have given generiously and prayed for us. Without you, it would not have been the same. Mission accomplished. Thank you!" Georg Manu
October 27, 2012
Captain Jorge Bohn
"Days 7 and 8 Day 7: At 9 am, we arrived at the military commander’s office at Dakhla, having been summoned the evening before. For the first time in our journey, we donned our pilots’ uniforms including Captain’s stripes, no doubt to try to make an impression and look respectable. Although slightly apprehensive, we were not overly perturbed. Just before the appointment, George sent emails to friends asking them to pray. In the end, it worked out fine. The commander was quite nice and said we could continue our journey onto Dakar, Senegal. He even gave us some advice on what to do next time! Later, we went to the tower, and the air traffic controller, also a military guy, was very helpful and gave us all the VFR way points and frequencies. We refueled our plane and headed out to Dakar, Senegal via Mauritania. The flight, lasting about 4 hours 20 minutes, like all our previous flights, was nice and smooth, not withstanding the problem with our spare fuel tank, which is temperamental and does not work as it should most of the time. It was a hot day with ground temperatures en route around 4O C, and even warmer in the cockpit. Upon arrival in Dakar, we were pleasantly surprised to see the effect of our uniforms. Going through immigration and customs was a breeze! As we came out of the airport, we met the crew of the helicopter which had taken off from Mauritania and was behind us all the way to Senegal. The crew kindly offered us a lift in their bus to the hotel in town. It was Joerg’s first visit to Senegal and for that matter in West Africa. Indeed, apart from a week in Kenya about 30 years ago, Joerg had never been to Africa. So, what were his first impressions? Highly positive and apparently quite the opposite to the usual notions held in the West. It would not be his last trip, George noted. Day 8: We returned to Dakar airport at 10 am. Again, we were accorded the usual courtesies for pilots of commercial airlines, which meant that we got through the formalities without hassle. How different from Dakhla, where they brought a sniffer dog to the plane presumably to check for illicit drugs, not to mention all the other things we had to go through. Once airborne, we were allowed to fly our IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) routing, which Joerg had already programmed into the Garmin GPS. This made navigation much easier. It was another hot day with outside temperatures on the ground at 40 C. The weather forecast we saw in the morning was predicting bad weather. True to form, we did encounter weather and had to go around cumulus and even cumulonimbus clouds, climbing up to 9,000 ft to get over some of these. It was a little bit scary circumventing some of these clouds and thinking about what we might happen if we had to turn back to the nearest airport (Lungi, Sierra Leone) which is about 220 nautical miles (350 kms) away. Today’s flight, from Dakar to Robertsfield, Liberia was memorable in more ways than one. Firstly, we were surprised by our ability to endure 8, yes eight hours without using toilet facilities. Secondly, this was our longest flight to date, covering 656 nautical miles (over 1,160 km). We touched down, excited by the fact that there is just one leg to go to Accra, Ghana, our final destination. However, at the time of writing, the weather forecast for Accra is not looking good - thunderstorms! We have come far and managed to get through various obstacles. But, not for the first time, the weather is dictating the pace and determining when we can throw our hats in the air!" George Manu
October 24, 2012
"Our good friend, Jonathan Porter, also known as Captain Yaw, who runs Medicine on the Move in Ghana, prophecised before our flight that we would be arrested at least once en route. Thanks to Joerg’s gentle charm, not to mention his size (all 135 kgs of it) and George’s faith, we have managed to keep the authorities on side so far. However, today was certainly the most tricky, culminating in our landing at a military airfield in Dahkla in southern Morocco at 6.20pm – 20 minutes after sunset and just 10 minutes before night fall.
From morning till evening we faced challenges. To start with, the airport authorities in Agadir said they could not accept our flight plan as we did not have prior authorization for the internal flight to Dakhla. Joerg began to sweat. The young guys at the tower were very nice and transmitted our hand written request to the civil aviation agency in Rabat. They also helped us copy the VFR way points and coordinates for our journey, with which we prepared and filed our flight plan. The authorization did not come until shortly after 2pm local time. By the time we got airborne – after going through customs, waiting for the man with the key to open the door to allow us access to the apron, walking to the tower, starting and warming our engine and taxiing to the holding point - it was 2.40pm. Earlier, we had decided that we would abort the flight if we did not get airborne by 3pm.
Our routing was along the coast. To the right were the Canary Islands and Tenerife beyond – another reminder, if one was needed, of how close they are to Morocco. To the left, it was desert – dry, sand and no trees. We saw no ships. We heard no other pilots on our radio frequencies for 3 hours into our flight. There were no cars on the desert roads. We saw smoke bellowing from two or three industrial installations. Otherwise, the terrain looked harsh and lifeless. The mountain ranges meant that we did not always have radio contact with air traffic control. There was nobody else flying. It was like being out in the wild west.
Our journey so far has been a test of endurance for both pilots. Although each leg flown so far has lasted over 4 hours, neither of us have used the urine receptacles we purchased for the trip! If someone had told us beforehand that two men who have passed their prime could hold out for so long, we would have laughed. Not only that, we have gone the distance without drinking any water or liquids at all! Joerg paid the price today. He was sweating profusely, after our encounter with the military and police upon arrival at Dakhla today. Even two bottles of cold beer were not enough to quench his thirst and cool him down. George quickly arranged a large bottle of cold water and some towels to help his friend whose clothes were all wet with sweat. It worked!
When we finally came out of the airport, there were no taxis in sight. After several minutes of waiting, the first one that came along took off again as we stood waiting for the driver to open the boot for our luggage. When the next one came, the driver did not get out to help us. When we asked him to open the boot for our luggage, he pointed to the top of the car and asked us to put our luggage on top of the roof rack. We had no choice but to oblige. He eventually dropped us on the other side of the road from the hotel, expecting us to cross the busy road ourselves with our luggage and did not even attempt to get out of the car to help us get our stuff from the roof rack. When we arrived at the hotel, supposedly 4-star, there was nobody to help us with our luggage. Moreover, the lady at the reception did not seem to have a reservation for us. Our rooms do not have air conditioning or a fridge and the Internet only works in the lobby. It is after midnight as we write and the night porter has switched off the lights in the lobby where we are sitting, ignoring the fact that there are paying customers here. What an unfriendly lot, compared to the people we had encountered so far on our journey. One would not have thought they were in the same country we entered yesterday. Were we wrong in our assessment in our Day 4 Blog that Louis Armstrong was right? Clearly, these people have no idea whatsoever of customer service nor even of basic courtesies. How sad! We discovered upon arrival at Dakhla that the flight authorization we were given at Agadir just minutes before our departure contains two unfortunate errors. Firstly, the routing is given as Agadir – Dakhla – Layoune. As far as the military controllers here are concerned, that means we have to fly to Layoune, which is 250 nautical miles (about 400 kms) back the way we came today! Secondly, the authorization is only valid for today, meaning that we cannot take off from here tomorrow. No worries though. We are taking steps to deal with this and remain optimistic that we will be able to take off for Dakar tomorrow, DV. We may yet evade arrest, notwithstanding the prophecies of Jonathan Porter." George Manu
October 24, 2012
Follow the flight in real time. Every 10 minutes there will be an update on a map with height, speed and our exact position.
"Africa, here we come! You could almost hear us mutter the words as we crossed the Straits of Gibraltar to Morocco. Yes, three legs into our journey and we had crossed over to the continent. It was surprising to see how close Morocco is to Spain – less than 10 minutes flying time over the sea! No doubt a reflection of how connected we are all to each other and why we should be our brother’s keeper! We flew at 6,500 ft all the way, across mountainous terrain. Although the Moroccan authorities had approved our flight plan, once they realized that we were flying VFR (visual flight rules), they refused to allow us to fly our planned routing. They diverted us to places we could not find on our maps, giving us coordinates such as 34 01 04N, 008 32 27W. George could work out how to programme these into our on-board Garmin GPS 430. All the flight planning, based on IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) routes, going from one VOR to the other, had gone to waste. Thank God, we muddled through and occasionally the controller gave us a steer. However, this diversion along with head winds of up to 36 knots (about 65 km/h) meant that our journey which should have lasted about 3 hours actually took 4 hours and 15 minutes.
Morocco is nice and warm. When we landed at Al-Massira airport in Agadir at about 4.20pm local time (GMT), the outside temperature was 32 C. The frontier police were quite friendly, notwithstanding one or two suggestive remarks, which we politely ignored, feigning lack of comprehension. We found a 4-star hotel, booked over the Internet, for Euros 40 per night which turned out to be quite nice, with a beautiful swimming pool and just 250 metres from the beach. Food is also reasonably priced. Agadir is definitely a place to consider for a holiday. Indeed, the tourist season is just beginning here and we saw large jets carrying holiday makers on the tarmac including an Airbus A 320 which just landed after us from Germany. It had taken us nearly 13 hours flying time to get here. Joerg did not fail to notice that if were flying one of those jets, it would have taken us just 3.5 hours to cover the same distance! True, but then it would not have been very much fun flying IFR in clouds nor much of an adventure to write home about."
October 22, 2012
Just before departure from Weststede Day 1
George Manu Blog: Day 4
"Having spent two days in Limoges as a result of bad weather, we were geared up to go today. Thank God, the weather forecast for our routing was mostly good, apart from a few scattered and broken clouds in places. On the way to the airport, joerg remembered that we needed reflective vests for Sevilla Airport as well as cleaning material for the windshield and windows of the plane. Our taxi driver was only too happy to oblige to our request for a detour. George had also come down with a chest infection and needed some antibiotics and cough syrup. At 8.30 am all the pharmacies were still not open, except the last one we tried. The lady at the counter bluntly refused to dispense any antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription, ignoring the fact that George is a doctor and knew what he wanted!
Pyrenees at the Spanish side
We got through the formalities at Limoges airport without hassle and took advantage of the relatively low price of AVGAS (about 2.30 Euros per litre) to fill our plane and the spare tank to the brim. There was a last minute hitch as Air Traffic Control claimed that they did not have our flight plan. We switched off our engine and made frantic calls to Germany. But the situation was soon resolved and at 10.47 am local time, we were air borne. With no or very little headwind (less than 10 knots), we made good progress, with average speeds of about 150 knots (about 275 km/h). In descent, we touched about 220 knots (about 400 km/h)!
Our altitude all along the route was 5,500 ft or higher. We had lovely views over Biarritz and the Bay of Biscay, as you can see from the photos. We flew over the Pyrenees initially at 6,500 ft and subsequently at 9,500 ft. Surprisingly, there was virtually no traffic on our routing. George thought this was because he and Joerg were the only crazy pilots to fly but Joerg felt the reason had to do with people being at work. We were passed from one Air Traffic Controller to the other (over half-a-dozen) but this was nothing compared to the first day, when we went from Germany through the Netherlands and Belgium to France. The French and Spanish controllers today were all helpful and friendly.
Biarritz and Bay of Biscay
4 hours 17 mins later, we landed at Sevilla airport and walked out without a single question, check or formality. Lovely! A short taxi ride and we were in our hotel, which Airbus kindly booked for us. At 4pm, we went to a typical Spanish restaurant near our hotel and had a very nice meal. Afterwards, we went to a pharmacy a few metres away and the lady at the counter had no hesitation in giving George the antibiotics he needed. What a difference a border makes! Although George has worked in 50 countries, this was his first visit to Spain. He could not have wished for a better reception. Louis Armstrong was right – what a wonderful world!"
Approach to Sevilla Airport
October 21, 2012
Jorge Day 2 & 3: STILL Postponed...
Received from Joerg earlier today, October 21: "We can't continue today, since the cloud band, moving over the Pyrennees from South to North hasn't passed yet, It will clear the Pyrennes tonight,so are chances for tomorrow are promissing. We are looking forward to get to Morocco, since we feel here like we haven't left home."
Via George Manu, Joerg's flying colleague
We left Westerstede, Joerg’s flying base, at about 9.15 am local time, arriving in Juist 20 minutes later. After final preparations including filing our flight plan, we took off from Juist at 1.42 pm headed for Limoges in southern France. [For background on Joerg's trip, click here.]See more.
3 minutes later and our flight plan would have expired! Joerg thrives on living close to the edge! Our journey had begun and we were both feeling more relieved than apprehensive.
We had beautiful weather for the first 2 hours of our journey with outside temperatures of 22 C at 2,000 ft. Our routing took us from Juist across the North Sea to the Netherlands, where we had to circumvent several restricted zones. It appears this was a day when all military zones were active! Then, we crossed over to Belgium where we had to go around Brussels to stay clear of complicated restricted zones. This must have added an additional 15 minutes to our journey, taking us off plan.
Subsequently, we crossed over to France where we encountered very bad weather after the Paris area. The cloud base was below 200 feet and it was pouring with rain. By now, we had been flying for nearly 4 hours. With 30 minutes to go to Limoges, we were advised by Air Traffic Control to consider going to an alternate airport as the weather in and around Limoges was dreadful. Having flown against strong headwinds of 20 to 30 knots all the way from Germany and with all the diversions we had to undertake to stay clear of restricted areas, our fuel was running low! Decision time! We, or more accurately Joerg, decided to press on. Thankfully, we had carried extra fuel in the spare tank and therefore had enough to hold over Limoges before diverting, if need be . The Air Traffic Controller was more than helpful. He kept us posted on the weather, told us about hills and mountains ahead and gave us permission to fly Special VFR (Visual Flight Rules), which enabled us to go up above the initial layers of cloud to about 3,200 ft. This was necessary to get across the hills and mountains, which are 2,500 ft, in the approach to Limoges.
With less than 10 minutes to go to Limoges Bellegarde Airport, the strip of bad weather gave way to scattered clouds and we found a gap to get in. It was now 5.50 pm, getting dark and still pouring with rain. Nobody else was flying in the Air Traffic Zone around Limoges! Our very friendly Air Traffic Controller graciously switched on the approach lights on the long runway for us. Suddenly, everything looked beautiful and we touched down and stopped using less than a third of the length of the runway. After parking, we stayed in our aircraft for about 15 minutes waiting for the rain to subside until we finally bit the bullet and headed out with our luggage, maps, iPads and other gadgets.
A 7-kilometre taxi ride later, and 22 Euros for the privilege, we arrived in our small 2-star hotel. A nice meal in a local restaurant including a glass of red wine was the perfect way to unwind and celebrate the first day. It was still pouring with rain. We got back to the hotel at 10.30 pm and agreed to meet at 8 am for breakfast before heading off to Spain.
Still pouring with rain. The weather forecast for the day all the way down to Bordeaux and beyond is bad, with low cloud base, down to 200 ft in places, and poor visibility, well below the legal limit. Even Joerg agrees that we cannot fly VFR in this weather, despite his initial optimism. If only he had renewed his IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) licence, but then flying through the clouds for 5 hours in this bad weather with no sight of the ground would be no fun at all.
At 12.30 pm, it was more than clear that we had to extend our stay in the hotel. We used the time to prepare our flight plans to Sevilla in Spain, our next stop, and also to Agadir and Dakhla in Morocco our subsequent stops. We also programmed the route on our iPad using a new software we acquired, which greatly facilitates navigation. We still have to carry and use maps en route, of necessity, besides the navigation system in the plane. We are also carrying George’s Garmin GPS 695. So, a bit of an overkill in respect of navigation systems on board but better to have one too many when back-ups are needed than less! Both of us also managed to catch up on emails. Joerg was surprised to receive an email from a Director in the CAA of Gabon who learnt about our flight. George’s son, Paolo, turned 16 today and, thanks to Skype and the Internet, George was able to do a bit of parental duty and make up somewhat for not being there.
At 2 pm, we headed out for lunch and had a nice meal in the bistro. We ate French style and did not leave the restaurant until 4.30 pm. Joerg was now visibly even more relaxed. He went out shopping afterwards including a walk in the old town, whilst George headed back to the hotel to try to fight off a chest cold.
The weather this evening is better with a cloud base of about 2,000 ft and visibility is up to 8 kms towards Bordeaux. The forecast for tomorrow, however, is looking good. We hope and pray that the clear weather continues to tomorrow morning, in which case we plan to take off at about 10 am for Sevilla in Spain.
"Stuck Due to Weather"
European DN Commmodore Jorge Bohn's flight for Medicine on the Move has been delayed because of weather. (Sound familiar?) He writes, .."attached is a picture just prior departure this afternoon [Friday] on the Island Juist. Departed at 1142 UTC and landed 4 hours and 25 minutes later in Limoges, France. WX bad at Limoges just 15 minutes prior touch down with broken cods in 200 feet and a visibility of 900 meters. TWR recommended Diversion but then there was a gap with minium WX for a short time that we made. Crew is enjoying the trip and each others company. Very happy to have left the island on the planned day. Today bad weather in Limoges. We will continue only tomorrow. More details to follow. Joerg G-737" Background on Jorge's trip here.
October 16, 2012
Jorge Bohn G737 flying on ice at the 2012 DN North American Championships on Green Bay, WI
Jorge getting ready to take off in his Ruschmeyer.
UPDATE 2: Here's another German blog that has more updates about the trip. UPDATE: More photos, an interview with Jorge, and the route below under "See more".
Like several ice boaters, European DN Commodore Jorge Bohn is an aircraft pilot. He’s had a successful career as a jet pilot with Lufthansa and currently works at Juist Perspektive, a training center for personal development and creative thinking that incorporates a flight school. In the weeks before the 2012 DN World championship regatta, Jorge searched for ice across Europe in his Ruschmeyer, a fast, composite, high performance plane capable of reaching speeds of 324km/h (175kt).
On Friday, October 19, Jorge and colleague George Manu, will begin a great adventure, flying the Ruschmeyer around Africa as part of Medicine On the Move, an organization that improves lives of West Africans through community-based healthcare education.See more.
The trip will last a few weeks and they’ll be flying through some remote and potentially dangerous areas where airplanes aren’t normally seen and sandstorms can make the going difficult. Jorge and George will be raising awareness of the health education operations of Medicine on the Move in rural Ghana, supporting the aerial drop of health education and related materials. Jorge returns to Germany on November 12 and he'll be gearing up to fly as a commercial passenger into Detroit, Michigan and drive with other ice sailors to Minnesota to compete in the Western Challenge.
Jorge relates that it was "always an idea" to fly with George to Ghana and the plan only came together at the end of May. He says it's been a long process to arrange the travel through so many different embassies.
Barrels of fuel (some of it costing $25 US per gallon!) flown in to various African airports by cargo planes are in position and ready to be hand pumped into the Ruschmeyer. There will be a crew change in Ghana before the return flight with Jan Wuppermann from Oldenburg replacing George Manu.
“The idea is to draw a maximum of attention towards the organization in Ghana, Medicine On The Move.
[Those] who likes can follow our flight in real time. Every 10 minutes there will be an update on a map with height, speed and our exact position.
Currently the position/blue Aircraft symbol of the transmitter is in Bad Zwischenahn.(Jorge's home in Germany) Friday we will start.
THE TRIP ROUTE
Over all route
Here is a link to 30 minute TV documentation, that’s very interesting and shows what is all about."
The documentary features a story about Patricia Mawuli, an amazing 23 year old from rural Ghana, the only woman in the world certified as a Rotax engine mechanic and the first woman in Ghana to become a licensed air plane pilot. Mawuli works for WAASPS, the only light aircraft building and maintenance center in West Africa. She helped to create the AVTECH academy, a joint venture by WAASPS and Medicine on The Move, to select young women from rural Ghana and to train for careers in aviation.
And yes, there’s kind of another ice boating connection. Patricia Mawuli was a featured visitor at the 2011 EAA Convention in Oshkosh, a major ice boating center.
If you are interested in supporting Medicine on the Move, please click here to go to their donation page. Jorge asks that "If you like to make a donation it would be nice to state that you are an iceboater, so it would be visible afterwards or the project name 'Ghana-juist 1962'.
2012 European Secretaries Meeting
September 23, 2012
Saturday's Lunch Break
We began the meeting at 9 AM and adjourned at 7 PM with a break for lunch which included a short walk to a yacht club on Lake Balaton. Some of the topics of discussion included a review of the last season, Stan Macur's junior DN and Ice Optimist sailing report, North American contact report, and their "Lessons Learned" from the Gold Cup regatta. The meeting is conducted in English but it's not uncommon to hear quite side discussions in another language. We enjoyed a meal together in the hotel buffet at 7:30.
It is Sunday morning and we are now reviewing what was discussed on Saturday.
This is a very different style of ice boat meeting than what we do in North America. Commodore Joerg Bohn explained one reason that meeting during a regatta would be problematic for them is because of the difficulties of translating 18 different languages. It is advantageous for their Secretaries to meet like this and return to their clubs where they can report in their own language.
One thing I do appreciate is the fact that I'm not bone tired in a meeting after being on the ice all day scoring boats. But I know many of you reading this in North America could never imagine spending two days at an ice boat meeting.
There were many local people dressed in traditional 19th century clothing strolling about in the park.
The area is well known for healing springs.
September 22, 2012
European IDNIYRA Secretary Chris Williams DN K1
Three weeks ago, I did not know I would be sitting in an ice boat meeting in an elegant hotel in Balatonfurd, Hungary this weekend. But here I am, continuing my "DN Tour of Duty" representing IDNIYRA North America attending the European Secretaries Meeting. I had planned on posting about the trip before I left but a last minute change in my departure time had me scrambling to get to the airport in time.
I'm actually in the meeting right now and will update throughout the weekend.