The Holland Acht sank on Wednesday afternoon during a training session on an Austrian mountain lake. The rowers of the national team were caught in a storm. “Luckily we are all unharmed and quite warmed up again,” said batter Robert Lücken, an hour after the team reached the boathouse, numb.
Where are you exactly now?
‘We are doing an altitude training camp here on the Hallstättersee, we stay in a hotel at an altitude of 2,100 meters. For the training sessions we descend to the lake, which is 600 meters above sea level. ‘
Sounds idyllic but what it is not?
‘The lake looked like a mirror when we started a long training session this morning, but at one point it completely changed again. Within five minutes, it was as if we were rowing on an ocean. We tried to reach a stretch of water where it looked calmer, by rowing with a few men, while the others tried to bail. But that was impossible, the water only got worse. At one point I saw the helmsman afloat, so then I knew we had to get out. Very bizarre, I’ve never experienced this in all the years that I’ve been rowing. ‘
The water must have been freezing.
‘Very cold. I think five degrees or something. It’s snowing here now too. And we were in the middle of the lake. A few hundred meters from the shore and 3.5 kilometers from the boathouse. That is why we had to act appropriately. We all climbed the catamaran that our coach Mark Emke sailed in, but it was so heavily loaded that he couldn’t move forward either. Fortunately there were people here drilling on a kind of platform in the lake, who came with a motor boat and brought us to shore. The water police had also been warned, so they saved our boat. ‘
How’s the boat?
‘It is almost complete. Only at the bow grower (most for in boat, ed.) A carbon footboard was killed. But that can be repaired, everything is justified.
Is this the boat you will be sailing with in Tokyo next summer?
‘No, he is already on transport there. We will be sailing a big race in Lucerne with this boat at the end of this month. ‘