Friday, April 11, 2014

Schoenfedlt Wins Sunny J/24 Frühjahrs-Verbandsregatta

J/24 sailing Alster Lake- Hamburg, Germany (Hamburg, Germany)- The sailing season for the J/24 class in Germany officially opened with their Frühjahrs-Verbandsregatta, sailed at Hamburger Segel-club on the beautiful Alster Lake.  From March 29th to 30th, a great turn-out of nineteen J/24s enjoyed a somewhat benign weekend for weather. In moderate winds of 4-9 kts and most glorious, warm spring weather, it was the lightweight crews and light wind specialists had the advantage.  Frank Schönfeldt and his crew from the host Hamburger Segel-club succeeded once again to win the first J/24 regatta in Germany.

The HSC Race Committee PRO Lennart Klemp did a good job and made for a smooth racing all weekend long. Everyone involved were in high spirits and enjoyed the balmy spring day until the award ceremony on the jetty of the HSC.

Here’s the sailing report from Hamburg’s newspaper, Die Welt (The World):

J/24 spinnakers- sailing on Alster Lake, Hamburg, Germany“Sunday morning dawns with the sun occupying the sky and the outer Alster sparkles like an emerald. A spectacular setting against the city and the verdant green trees along the waterfront. But, the wind is still. Not even a gentle breeze stirs above the water. Bad sign for a sailing regatta. Without further ado, the start will be laid and limited to a short race.  One more reason to look on the terrace of the clubhouse for a bit of socializing with friends.

Just as well. For during the first four of the five races sailed on Saturday, at least 5-9 kts of wind prevailed across the lake.  This filled the 120 women and men on their J/24s with both excitement. With billowing sails and anticipation for the new sailing season, the nineteen boats started their regatta, circumnavigating multiple yellow marks around the lake. Sailors from Poland, Denmark, Italy and all over Germany took to the 8 C degree water, adjusted the lines for their sails and magically glided across the water with the graces of swans.

J/24 women's sailing team- on Alster Lake, Hamburg, Germany“The months Long wait is over," said a farmer sipping his cup of coffee on the banks of Gurlitt Island on the eastern shore.  Then there’s the designer with her own company in St. George, looking forward to spring, summer and autumn under sail. The passion of the native from Stuttgart was awakened after moving to Hamburg 20 years ago. "Sailing on the lake is like a piece of holiday in the city," she says. "One has freedom in time and you’re only dependent on the wind." Often it is with six comrades on board, as previously during Antigua Race Week off the coast of their former adopted home of Venezuela, they often enjoy sports and team spirit. There is no place for hierarchies and long discussions between the maneuvers on the J/24 when sailing around the lake.

There is a lot of heritage at the HSC supporting the sport of sailing; especially for the young children and women.  In fact, many women are involved in the management of HSC.  And, one of their proud achievements is a boat called ALICE, sailed by six women aged between 16 and 25 years- their skipper Stephanie Koepcke, a cute young blond with a steely drive to succeed.

In front the club house are 270 berths. Harbour Master Ole has everything under control. 60 boats owned by the club - from little Optimists for kids to yachts for adults. The program of social life in the newly renovated clubhouse with a large veranda and terrace in front is a great addition, especially for the Wednesday evening “beer can” races.  Next Monday starts training for the next generation.  In April, we’re invited to a “sushi night”.

J/24s starting on Alster Lake, Hamburg, Germany- sailing regattaThe HSC waitress provide cheerful service, bringing coffee to everyone. In contrast to the Sunday doldrums out on the water she is a whirlwind. The clubhouse fills up, perhaps attracted by a rich breakfast buffet including hot drinks for a special price of 5.50 euros. On the walls hang photos of HSC sailors who conquered the world from their little emerald lake in the city. In the showcase are an impressive trophy collection, documenting the winning tradition of HSC sailors. On display are memorabilia from Hans Otto Schümann, of winning in the Admiral's Cup off the Isle of Wight, as well as Olympic medals from Mexico in 1968 and Kiel 1972.

Reluctantly, the HSC PRO Lennart Klemp gives the signal for a reduced competition, completing the weekend for all.  Everyone on the clubhouse veranda agree, that it can only get better during the season.”

From the sailing perspective, Frank Schoenfeldt on GER 5412 managed to blitzkrieg the fleet after a terrible first race, scoring 11-1-3-2-6 for 12 pts net to take the title.  Manfred Koening in GER 5467 sailed by far the most consistent regatta, taking a 4-3-5-3-3 for 13 pts net to grab the silver.  Then, Johann Huhn on GER 5316, the early regatta leader after three races, simply “punted” the last two, adding a 16-7 to his otherwise excellent scores of 2-7-1 for a final tally of 17 pts net.  The “girls” on ALICE put in a great first regatta, with Stephanie Koeopcke leading her team to fourth overall with a 6-8-4-6-2 scoreline for 18 pts net- just missing the podium!  Rounding out the top five was Langhans Peter on GER 4495 with 22 pts net.

In addition to the Die Welt story, the Hamburg Journal produced a nice little sailing video (in German).
For more German J/24 class sailing information