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My experience report on the International IMC Sailing Camp in Varna (Bulgaria) from 31 07 to 11 08 2014

Day 1: 31/07/2014
Our exciting journey of the German delegation to Bulgaria began on the Berlin-Tegel Airport. At 07:30 clock the flight departed to Varna with a stopover in Vienna. There joined us the Austrian delegation. Arrived at the airport Varna we were already expected by the Bulgarian camp management and brought in a coach to our accommodation. During this short trip across town, we got a positive first impression of this beautiful city.

Arrived at our accommodation, which is is a school for the visually impaired persons, we were first again warmly welcomed officially by the organizers. Then we were able to strengthen our well-being with a good meal. Not all delegations had arrived, the English and Italian were still missing.

Then we went to the next beach just around the corner. (Varna is situated in a bay on the Black Sea, surrounded by hills) Accordingly, of course, the climate was very warm and the sea could give us the necessary cooling, which we needed after this journey. In the evening, we were shown by the Bulgarians, a path to a small supermarket and we were surprised at how low the prices are here for food. Later that night, we finally met also the British and Italian group. Many of us already knew them from the last two IMC camps.

Day 2: 01/08/2014
Aroused by traditional Bulgarian music, to which we Western Europeans had to get familiar with, we went up up voluntarily, it was for us at 07:30 clock to start with breakfast. Then we went to the morning parade and the opening of the sailing camp with the obligatory raising of the flags. Later we went to sea. On the beach at a training establishment of the Bulgarian Naval Academy, we started with small six-man boats to oars and made small competitions between us. Of course also extensive bathing and playing a few rounds of beach volley ball was possible.

In the evening we played a game of football and were invited to the welcome party. At that occasion the music was put by a local DJ, so we could get better known to each other.

About ten clock in the evening the party was unfortunately finished. The evening gave us all a lot of fun and everyone was celebrating, even the team leaders.


Day 3: 08/02/2014

This time we were woken up by popular music. At the beach, the basic knot tying was brought close to us and we could also train each node later on. Since the sails of the boats were not yet available, we went once again rowing, so that the five crews that were mixed from the various delegations, in some way found better together. Later in the afternoon the respective crews were sent to individual stations where swimming, lines throwing, node making and volleyball was trained because the coming Saturday, we should complete a competition in these disciplines (except volleyball) as part of Admiral's Day.

imc jugendsegellager

Day 4: 03/08/2014
Today we went to the port of Varna. Therefore, we picked up a bus around 8:30 clock. There we first visited the lighthouse of the port and drove later with a small naval ship out in the bay to observe there a swimming marathon.

After that we were picked up again by the bus which drove us to the "Grand Mall" (a large shopping center). There we had two hours time in air-conditioned atmosphere and we could use this to eat and other things to buy.

Finally, we visited an amusing dolphin show before we drove back to the hotel.

auf see

Day 5: 4/8/2014
Today we should be able for the first time to sail. Wind was initially scarce, but later fortunately increased, so proper sailing with experienced skippers was possible. After lunch at the hotel - which was two kilometers far rom the beach and we therefore had to run every day eight kilometers at 32 degrees Celcius in the shade - we went back to the beach. Regarding the food it must be said that throughout at lunch and dinner warm and delicious, country typical meals were served to us. At the beach, we organized in advance a little competition between the crews by racing in through hoops, swimming to a buoy and back and by plugging different nautical knots. Exhausted, we were able to go for a swim. In the evening came a few former seafarers of a local fellowship that brought us an insight into the Morse alphabet, knots, Winkern and throwing the heaving line.


Day 6: 05/08/2014
After breakfast we started our day in nature. Guided by the local environmental organization, we wandered down a few kilometers through the forest. After this two-hour walk (up a big hill) we arrived at a idyllic destination in the middle of the forest. Under old trees and a 107 years old drinking fountain packed lunches were distribited after putting up tents.The way back was started two hours later. The rest of the day we spent with free time and playing on the beach.


Day 7: 06/08/2014
Today it should go to the beach again. Here the crews began again with rowing, because unfortunately the wind was virtually non-existent. The rowing technique and the synchronicity of the oarsmen were improved this time. That's why we made small regattas between the boats in order to test it in a competitive situation.

Later in the afternoon the wind picked up, so that the masts were set , rigged and sailing could be started. In addition, there were again trainings in swimming, knots and throwing lines from the boat.

On the evening former Bulgarian Navy soldiers visited us, who showed us military combat techniques. Matching historic illustrative material like old shooting, cut and thrust weapons and even hand grenades were brought by these comrades dressed in historic uniforms.


Day 8: 7/8/2014
After breakfast we went straight to the beach. We set the masts, mounted on the sails and let the boats into the water.
The weather today was very good for sailing. A constant wind with 4-5 bf, two-meter-high waves in a long swell caused a funny sailing pleasure.
Who did not sail straight, could enjoy the sun on the beach or go rowing..

In a boat, the "man overboard" manoeuvre was practiced , in which a volunteer (who had lost his cap) was recovered from the sea.
In the evening we stripped down the boats bringing the masts, lines and sails back in their container and thus concluded this busy day.


Day 9: 08/08/2014
Today it was time to prepare for the competition, which will happen tomorrow. Fine-tuning in the crew rowing was again practiced since rowing techniques and timing in the crew were not yet perfect. As before, we again made smaller competitions between the crews, so we could already guess our ranking .
In addition, the skipper s were changed, so we made a rudder-time run without instructions from the skipper and had to throw the heaving line for the competition.

Later after lunch back at the beach we were able to again tie knots and train throwing the heaving lines. Otherwise, we could rest for tomorrow's race.

Day 10: 09/08/2014

Today is the Admiral's Day and thus also the day of the races. After breakfast we went to the beach for the competition, with us were the officials. In the competition, the crews had to go through a kind of course of individual stations while their time for the entire course was measured. The stations were: Rowing, throwing heaving lines out of the boat, tying up the boat, swimming, tire obstacle course and a node path.

After the competition, there was lunch. Afterwards the awards ceremony was held, where the medals were awarded by the officials.
Then there were some nice speeches by the organizers and the invited guests.

Later on we went back to the "Grand Mall" of Varna, so we could get use of our last foreign currency and still could buy a few things.
After retourning we had leisure time.


Day 11: 10/08/2014
Today we started the day with a traditional Bulgarian breakfast (a kind of dumplings stuffed with cheese and a juice from water and wheat flour), with a city tour for the naval museum in Varna. There you could see navy uniforms from the Admiral to the simple sailor, explore all kinds of medals and badges, model ships, guns, and even real Navy helicopters.

After lunch we went to the beach for the last time and could use the time there for ourselves.
In the evening there was a "fare well party" organized, so that we could say goodbye to everybody in a neatly way.

unterwegs in bulgarien

Day 12: 11/08/2014

Today is the day of departure and the Italians already drive around 3 clock in the morning to the airport. Our flight was due only at about 13 hours, so we are previously braught to an orthodox cathedral in the center of Varna for a visit. We got a guide, who told us the history of the church, explained the differences between the other Christian churches and Orthodox Christianity and the meaning of the wall frescoes. Lateron we took the bus to the airport. From there, the flight went via Vienna to Berlin Tegel.

Text: Janik-Lasse Dunker

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