Monday, November 18, 2013

J/70 Lake Constance Class Development

J/70s sailing on German lakes(Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance- Austria, Germany, Switzerland)- The “Bodensee” as Lake Constance is known in central Europe is perhaps one of the most remarkable bodies of water in the world.  Steeped in history and at the middle of a “tug-of-war” between various empires over time in the middle of Europe, today “the lake” enjoys a somewhat neutral position in the world of politics and empires— no one has jurisdiction over the sailors whom enjoy its spectacular sailing venues— be that Austria, Switzerland or Germany!

women J/70 sailors in GermanyAs a result of its unique place in history, Lake Constance has a remarkably collaborative approach to life on how one manages one of the most beautiful lakes in the world!  With no jurisdictional powers over the lake, three major European nations exercise their “community of interests” by cooperating together on a wide variety of sailing, environmental and social issues.  In this case, summer, fun, beaches, sun-bathing, boating and sailing are the principals that drive all towards a common interest to enjoy a shared passion for the water!

In a remarkable development over the course of the past year, for the first time Germany and an entire region of central European sailors have made a decision to promote a single class within their clubs and throughout the entire region!  The project initiated from Constance sailor Christian Rau, an experienced European one-design racer. Together with other successful sailors from the racing scene at Lake Constance, they developed a concept that could be the basis for the development of a relatively inexpensive and fast boat, which could be promoted by all of the clubs and, most importantly, could be leaders in developing a new EUROPEAN-wide one-design keelboat class!

J/70s sailing on German lakes regattaAccording to Bo Riechmann (J/Boats Germany Dealer Mittelman’s Werft), “it´s really quite remarkable, in fact unbelievable, that such a large group of clubs have collaborated on such a large scale! The Lake Constance Sailing Association has around 100 sailing clubs with 20,500 members sailing over 10,000 sailboats in the 18-25 ft size range and at least 70 clubs were present to select the J/70 as their next “one-design club keelboat”!  The driving issue was to consolidate the dozens of keelboat classes that have evolved over time into one that was “easy-to-sail by all age groups (especially women & children), ramp-launchable, easily transportable around Europe, and affordable”.  The J/70 helped to overcome significant issues related to the limited “in-water” docks & moorings that were available around Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as for the rest of Europe.  The storage issue simply became a choice of whether it was your drive-way at home or a local dry-sail facility next to a launching ramp.”

The Lake Constance Sailing Association is planning to organize five main one-design events on the lake for the 2014 summer sailing season. In addition, they will also take part at seven other main events on the lake.  As a result, new J/70 one-design sailors will have at least twelve regattas to sail next summer on the Bodensee!  Most importantly, everyone (community sailing club or private yacht club) can take part at all events.  Henning’s Mittelman’s Werft team will be providing a fun “twist” to the series, providing a “Golden Spinnaker” to the current series leader for each event— so everybody will be able to see which boat is leading the overall score going into each event!   For more German J/70 Class Association information (just recently organized).   For more J/70 & Lake Constance Sailing Association sailing class information.