(Friedrichshafen, Germany)- The fourth regatta of the J/70 Deutsche Bundesliga was hosted by the Wurttemberg YC located in Friedrichshafen from the 27th to 29th of September. The sailors experienced everything from light airs and super flat water to strong steady winds with choppy seas on the gorgeous Lake Constance (a.k.a. the "Bodensee"). The host team won the regatta-- Wurttemberg YC-- with skipper Max Rieger, his brother Moritz Rieger, Thomas Dietsch and Felix Stemmer.
With seven wins in twelve races, the team from the WYC had "tough sledding" to rise to the top, especially since the second place team, Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee were counting eight 1sts in their scoreline! Said the relieved skipper of WYC, Max Rieger, "We may have had home advantage on Lake Constance, but one cannot expect it to help at all in the difficult, shifting winds. But, we are very satisfied with the result!"
Only two points behind the leader was the team from the Wannsee in Berlin- Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee. Their team comprised of Kathrin Kadelbach, Ulrike Schumann, Nils Schröder and Malte Kamrath started off with two bullets, struggled in the mid-series of races and closed fast with five 1sts and one 2nd to nearly pull off an upset.
The Norddeutscher Regatta Verein team from Hamburg, including Carsten Kemmling, Klaus Lame, Weser and Florian Haufe, finished the regatta with a string of five bullets to rapidly close on the leaders and take third overall. It wasn't enough to overcome the stronger start of the other teams, but it certainly kept the others anxious as they closed to within 4 pts of the lead and only 2 pts back from second! As a result, the team successfully defended their overall Deutsche Bundesliga championship lead going into the fifth and last stage of the event in Berlin. Said NRV Team Manager Klaus Lame, "we wanted the team that would sail in Berlin to race here on Lake Constance and gain the experience necessary to hopefully win the title! We're fortunate to have succeeded after sailing in these difficult conditions this weekend!"
The last regatta for the Bundesliga takes place from November 8th to 11th sailing at NRV's yacht club on the Wannsee in Berlin. The question of which clubs are in the best position for the season finale in Berlin certainly became clearer after the Lake Constance event. With 66 pts, NRV is leading by just 4 pts and they're hoping the "home-town" advantage will play in their favor. Lying second is the fast-learning Wurttemberg YC team with 62 pts overall and they're excited about sailing on the Wansee. Another "local" Berlin team, the YC Berlin-Grunau are sitting in third overall with 60 pts, struggling a bit after winning the first event in Tutzing at the beginning of the season. They, too, are hoping that sailing home-town waters will bring them better luck! Fourth is Bayerischer YC with 56 pts and fifth is Chiemsee YC with 54 pts. Of the eighteen teams participating, it's conceivable that up to eight teams have a mathematical possibility of winning or leaping onto the podium in Berlin! Don't count out other teams like "locals" Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee, Deutscher Touring YC and Konstanzer YC!
Are the teams having a lot of fun and, as some have asked, is this the future of regatta sailing? Maike Christiansen from the magazine Segeln.de in Germany was posing that question to the various sailors and team managers during the last event in Friedrichshafen. Here's Maike's commentary:
"The Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga, a struggle for status as the best sailing club in Germany, is nearing the end of its first season sailing the new J/70 sportboat.
Short, fast races. Sailing J/70s with just main, jib and asymmetric spinnakers. The crews, some of whom have never sailed together before, others fielding strong, established teams, give nothing away at any corner or leg of the race course. Sometimes only centimeters determine who will be first to the finish, who can cheer loudly for their team.
Back on land, the sailors forget everything about the day on the water. With gourmet chefs providing delicious food and with plenty of drink and music, the sailors sit together and exchange ideas, exchange tips and anecdotes about sailing J/70s, make new acquaintances and refresh old ones again. When sailing the Segel-Bundesliga everything mixes together: young and old, followers of traditional sailboats and sailors of modern skiffs, America's Cup participants, German champions and those who have won the regatta on the village pond around the corner, match race experts and fleet racing sailors. Yet, in the first German yacht club competition in the sport of sailing, it's not the individuals, but the sailing clubs that are in the foreground. In a series of five regattas spread over the whole of Germany (like the "stages" in the Tour de France), eighteen teams fight for victory.
One may argue whether such a regatta series really has significance as to which club is the best and also whether such a comparison is at all meaningful! However, with the Segel-Bundesliga, where teams train all year together, can the event - apart from the name - at least not really compare?!
Nevertheless, the facts and realities mean one thing-- the format has a future. The facts are (i) that J/70s are strict one-design class sailboats made to travel easily; (ii) the sailors can travel quickly on a weekend to all of the events; (iii) the J/70s are great for the German lakes and bays for sailing many short, tight races; and (iv) the sailing teams can depart after the sailing without having to worry about boat transport or maintenance. In short, the "sailing" and "social" activities are at the forefront of the regatta experience. The format is particularly attractive for good sailors who have to contend with the responsibilities of study, work, family, and so forth-- leaving precious little time available for any recreational activity, especially sailing on weekends with friends! That the five Segel-Bundesliga regattas have been elevated to a higher context - the championship of all German sailing clubs- it will be asked, has the sailing in the event taken on even greater significance?? Yes, it has because it addresses the most important point: It's FUN!
It's fun to compete on athletic keelboats with other teams that are just thrown together as their own crew! It's fun to tack under Jochen Schumann and force him to tack away! It's fun, not as a "lone wolf", but being part of a sailing team representing your club! It's fun to meet the regatta sailors from various boat classes to see and meet old friends! The Segel-Bundesliga provides students with a "sense of community", attracting younger and older sailors and it makes you want to sail. How can you expect anything more from an event like this? Hard to beat sailing J/70s on a wild plane across some of the most picturesque bays and lakes in Germany with friends-- young and old, newly made or known for decades! Looking forward to Berlin already!" Friedrichshafen Sailing video highlights on YouTube
Facebook Sailing photo credits: Segel-Bundesliga / Lars Wehrmann
For more J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailing information