In the mild late summer light, still surrounded by morning mist, the slime mouth presented itself to the participants of the 35th Peter Gast shipping regatta on Saturday morning. Hardly a breath of wind rippled the surface of the water. But shipping regatta veteran Hans-Joachim Lemcke from Peter Gast Shipping promised the participants a little more wind at lunchtime, mainly from the east, when the morning weather bulletin announced over the radio.
Gerd Zachariassen on the trumpet
While the red and white flag, signal of the postponement of the start, hung limply on the gray naval ship "Lyra" of the Danish Home Guard, trumpets rang out over the smooth Baltic Sea. They came from the "Hot, Wet & Sixty". Gerd Zachariassen sat at the helm of the yacht and played "Summertime" on his trumpet to the delight of all the surrounding yachts.
In order not to strain the nerves of the participants unnecessarily and to shorten the possible regatta course in advance, the race committee decided to let the participants drive a little north towards the island of Ærø under motor.
The field - the participating yachts under spinnakers
At around 12 noon the wind, which was still weak, was blowing steadily enough to send the 130 participating yachts, divided into five starting groups, onto the regatta course at the height of the "Gasmunition Nord" buoy. In light aft winds, the ships slid under spinnaker or gennaker over the starting line. On the almost eleven nautical miles long course - which only required a barrel maneuver at Pøls-Rev - the wind increased steadily, so that the sailors reached their destination off Skjoldnæs in around two hours. "The race committee made the best of the difficult wind conditions. Just in time for the first start, the breeze set in, which then accompanied all the yachts to the finish line. After that, it was slack again," said Dieter Gast, Managing Director of Peter Gast Shipping Board of the "Sixpack" took part in the race.
The "Tioga" provided a photo finish. The classic yacht chartered by E. R. Schiffahrt managed to relegate the clearly modern "Almost Nothing", a Brent60 starting for Oldendorff Carriers, to second place just a few meters from the finish.
"Tioga" before "Almost Nothing"
After sailing time over everything, however, the "Almost Nothing", steered by Steffen Müller from the Knierim shipyard in Kiel, won with a finish time of one hour and 45 minutes. This was followed by the Brent55 "Ember Sea" with Niels Hentschel for International-Hubert Palfinger Technologies at the wheel. The 60-foot former Volvo Ocean Racer "Toshiba", which started for Sailution Marketing & Event GmbH in Rostock, came in third, followed by the Knierim 49 "Desna" with Sven Wackerhagen at the helm.
For the first time there were BMW branch manager Hamburg Matthias Pfalz and his wife Fiona, who took part in the regatta on board the "Vela", a Hallberg-Rassy 43 MK 2. "The atmosphere in the harbor with the many ships and colorful flags was great," said Pfalz after crossing the finish line. "Even as inactive regatta sailors, we were welcomed on board with open arms and immediately felt part of the crew. The fact that we have also won in our class spurs us on for the next year."
In the late afternoon, the small port of Ærøskøbing was filled to the last place with the participating yachts in the shipping regatta. After the traditional stroll through the picturesque town, led by a marching band, all participants gathered in the marquee for the big award ceremony. "The shipping regatta has been able to maintain its familiar character over the years," says Christian Gast, managing director of Peter Gast Shipping, who sailed on board of "The Big Easy". "The many different yachts, on which guests of the regatta and crew members fight together for a good position as a matter of course, and the informal get-together in the harbor make the special attraction."
Ulli Wachholtz, President of the North Entrepreneurs' Association, emphasized in his greeting at the beginning of the event the great importance of the regatt for the cohesion of the shipping industry and his great attachment to the event: "This year I was there for the 19th time, first with my ship and then For several years on board the 'HaspHamburg'. When I thought the first time that I didn't have to take the regatta sails with me for a purely fun race, I quickly learned that the best place is still a struggle at sea."
The special feature of the shipping regatta, which takes place every year on the last weekend in August, was also emphasized by Arend Bruges from VegReederei, who won class 7 this year with his "Nathurn VI". "With one exception, I've been to the shipping regatta every year," he said. "Above all, I would like to remind you that this great event would not be possible without the great personal commitment and passion that Peter Gast has developed for it."
In the evening in the marquee in the port of Ærøskøbing, Hans-Joachim Lemcke, authorized representative of Peter Gast Shipping GmbH, received a special honor. From the beginning he was part of the regatta and played a key role in its development from a small, spontaneous fun race between sailing shipping merchants to the largest privately organized regatta.
Visibly moved, Jørgen Otto Jørgensen, Mayor of the municipality of Gemeinderø, accepted a maritime chronometer from Christian Gast - a farewell gift from the Gast family for the long-time mayor of the small municipality, who will no longer run for office in the upcoming election. He was bid farewell to the 1,200 guests in the marquee with standing ovations.
After the award ceremony, the sailors celebrated to the sounds of the band Max and Friends in the marquee at the harbor until the early hours of the morning. The lights of the dance floor shone except for the yachts lying close together in the package and bathed the harbor alternately in green, blue or red light. After breakfast together, the harbor slowly emptied again.
Here you will find the results of the 35th shipping regatt and those of the past ten years.
The 36th Peter Gast shipping regatt will take place on August 25, 2018.