2001 Japanese Tasar Nationals

The 2001 Japanese Tasar Nationals

Sailed at Wakayama, near Osaka, October 20 and 21, 2001.
Races scheduled: 3 Sat, 3 Sun.
36 entries.

Like all other Tasar events, it was held in a friendly atmosphere which we all enjoy so much in this class around the world. The Japanese friends I made and still have when I was in Mikkabi doing the 1999 worlds were all there. During the 2001 worlds in Whitstable the plan was made to join these Japanese championships and both a boat and crew were arranged for me with the help of my dearest friends. I could not have had a better crew or boat. Both were top class!

When I arrived at Tokyo Narita airport, I traveled by bus and subway to our meeting point, some small restaurant just outside a subway station. Not too difficult to find, even if you cannot read anything of the Japanese scripts. As I was late, Ogawa san and Sumiko were waiting for me and after a nice cup of green tea, we set off for an 8 hour drive to Wakayama. During this trip we stopped at a motorway parking which happened to be the one where we could see the 1999 worlds venue of Hamanako. I was silent for a while as we watched the sailing area. I think all three of us relived those fantastic moments we all had there when we saw this beautiful lake again. We arrived late in the evening and had a small dinner before we checked in at our hotel, not far away from the marina. After a small drink I collapsed on my bed after traveling for more than 36 hours. A deep sleep was all I needed at this point. All Japanese travel with the boat and trolley on the roof as boat trailers are highly taxed in Japan and also tolls for motorways (expressways in Japanese) are high using a boat trailer. The only problem is when an expressway entry ticket is issued by an automatic machine, the car with a boat on the roof is sensed as a truck and your ticket is out of reach and waits for you to take it out at truck drivers level!

Rigging the boats was no problem, listening to what was said at the opening ceremony and the skippers meeting was a different thing, but the Japanese are helpful and I was translated the most important items and my crew Kuma san was also present to inform me about what was being said. For Saturday, 3 races were scheduled and we sailed to the start area in a nice off-shore breeze. But as we were about to start, the wind died on us as the land warmed up and we had to wait for the sea breeze to fill in. Sailing on unknown venues is difficult and some of you know what it is like to sail at my home club in Holland near Oostvoorne. Wakayama is no different and the wind made some unpredictable changes during the races we sailed on Saturday and Sunday. Both Saturday races were sailed in light winds and the Tanaka´s were dominating the series sailing to two straight wins.

The Japanese know how to party and this was again the case when we had our dinner. It was held not far away from the marina where our boats were parked, in Wakayama Marina City, a perfect copy of several European cities called Porto Europa. All the touristic highlights of southern Europe are there: Venice, Cannes, Barcelona. If you ever want to visit all of these cities, just go to this place and you have them all in one minute distance of each other! Later on I went back to admire the way the buildings were made. Dinner was a barbeque of fish and other things which I did not recognise, but it was delicious with plenty of free beer. When dinner was finished all the different fleets introduced themselves. I have no idea what was said, but the way it was presented, was very funny and most enjoyable for all of us. I was involved in two fleets. The first one is Hayama (Tokyo area) as my crew Kuma san is their member and the other one is Hokko Yacht Harbour (Osaka area) as I spent a lot of time there after the 1999 worlds, as well as the boat I was using is from Hokko YH.

Well fed and slightly tired, we continued the party at the hotel we stayed. Our host George Motoyoshi was happy to have us all in his spacious hotel room. However it did not last too long as we had to fit in 4 races on Sunday, the start was scheduled as early as 0930. Unfortunately, the wind was absent and races were postponed. It took quite some time to get some wind and racing finally got underway. We sailed 3 races and the championships were completed. After packing all the boats, the prize presentation was held where all of those who won a trophee had to make a speech. My Japanese is too limited, but my Janglish (mixture of Japanese and English) was well understood by most. After saying goodbye to everybody, I stayed in Osaka to go to work on Monday in Tamano near Okayama. My stay in Japan was until Thursday, making the week I was there to be like it always is in this beautiful country with it´s fantastic inhabitants: GREAT.

Overall results:
1 Tanaka´s 1-1-1-3-5
2 Tsutsumi´s 6-2-2-2-1
3 Udo-Kuma 2-5-3-1-9
4 Motoyoshi´s 3-3-4-5-2

Masters: Toshinori Ikeda & Sumiko Akiyoshi
Grand Masters: Yukio Tada & Junko Irimura
Super Grand Masters: Jitsuro Yasuhara & Takahisa Toda
Lady Helm: Yoko Tagami, Momoyo Takehara & Shin'ichi Matsui(as a crew)

A special thanks to Mr. Inamori san (my Japanese "father") who kindly lend me his new boat, to Toshino Ikeda for arranging this boat for me, to Sumiko Ishimaru to arrange a crew for me and to Kuma san my crew for this event to take the effort to come all the way down from Northern Japan to sail with me. Aligato dare domo mina!!! (thank you all in Janglish)

It is a long way to travel to Japan and sail only a weekend series of races, but do believe me, it is worth all the effort to do it.

Good sailing down under, over in Northern Europe we are beginning our winter hybernation. My boats are stored in a warm place, losing weight.
Constantine Udo
Tasar 2668 (borrowed Japanese sailnumber)