DN Finland organized the third annual Grand Masters regatta on Lake Öljaren near Katrineholm, Sweden, February 8-10, 2022. In 2018, Ollie Virta L121, Timo Caravitis L37, and Richard Gustring S713 originated this informal fun regatta noted for its unusual starting procedure. Running starts are prohibited. Competitors must be at least 60 years old, start the race with one leg on the plank, and push off with the other leg. And yes, the regatta committee does watch for any infractions to this rule.
DN Finland and DN Sweden take turns managing the regatta. John Winquist L601 served as PRO assisted by Vesa Karhusaari and Dideric van Riemsdijk S867.
Snow put a temporary hold on ice sailing in North America after the U.S. Nationals. I had always wanted to see the Grand Masters event and took a chance on traveling to Europe, which was a bit more complicated because of pandemic restrictions.
The O’Hare Delta agents were baffled whether I needed a visa to travel to Sweden (a visa was not required) or even fly through Amsterdam. The regulations were so confusing that they passed me off to the next flight. And so it went until I presented my test results at immigration in Gothenburg, Sweden. I had made it!
When I arrived, Sweden didn’t have many restrictions, and all regulations ended a few days later. Ice sailing life was back to normal, the same as my last visit here for the World Championship in February 2020 before the world shut down. Our pandemic lives were a big topic of discussion, and we were overjoyed to be back on the ice and with friends again.
DN Finland was kind enough to give me a yellow vest and scoring tools. Hard black ice with a skim of water with winds around 15 mph, gusting to 20, made for sporty conditions. The regatta was called complete after six races. The camaraderie among these long-time friends was the focus of the regatta and the four-race per day limit assured plenty of time for socializing and evening group dinners.
Thank you, DN Finland, DN Sweden, and all ice sailing friends, for welcoming me to your special event. Perhaps it’s time to organize a Grand Masters regatta in North America.