Saturday, October 17, 2015

Why Segler-Vereinigung Itzehoe participates in Sailing Leagues

(Hamburg, Germany)- German J/70 sailing teams are loving the sailing league format and the amazing competition in top European J/70 events.  Here is one of the perspectives on how some of the leading Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga teams have evolved in Germany.

J/70s sailing German Sailing LeagueSegler-Vereinigung Itzehoe- Christian Soyka:
“With the J/70 a new and fascinating sports boat was launched to the market in 2012. At that time the major European X-99 class lost more and more of its formerly big racing fleets, which is why our team manager Christian Soyka and his crew started looking for new challenges.

After many years and winning multiple World Championships in the X-99 it was the time for a new boat.

Focussing on an simple, trailerable boat for a small crew, the J/70 seemed to be quite suitable. Also, the newly created “Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga“ on J/70s was something that we had waited for and were hoping would become a reality.  An event where exactly equal boats are provided to all teams, ready to race upon arrival, with many short races (~15-17 minutes) and high class crews to sail against. After critically observing the first sailing league season, the racing proved to be tight and packed with a lot of action. This was exactly the project we wanted to start.

In the autumn of 2013 negotiations with our club, the Segler-Vereinigung Itzehoe (SVI), and potential sponsors began. The intention was to qualify for the second “Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga“ in the following year.

As we knew from previous boat classes, we would not be able to achieve our goal without intensive training. Fortunately, with “Pohl Boskamp“ and their brand “GeloRevoice“ we found not only a sponsor but a partner that allows us to prepare ourselves with extensive training for the league qualification in Gl├╝cksburg.  Consequently, we chartered a J/70 to get familiar with the layout, set up and the behavior of the boat. Our hard work, ultimately, paid off.

The qualification in Gl├╝cksburg was not easy at all. Wind with gusts over 25 knots made the racing dramatic and physically challenging, but the J/70s did their job and so did we. With a 3rd overall out of some 60 clubs we exceeded our own expectations and achieved something no club from Itzehoe was able to accomplish since 1978; we qualified our club not for the second but the premiere national sailing league.

But, with our achievement we were facing new challenges. To keep up with the big and well-known clubs from Germany in the premiere sailing league, constant training is essential. We were very fortunate to have a boat sponsored from one of our club members, but as the SVI has less than 300 members in total, there is not much of a budget to be provided for our league sailing!

This leads to the remarkable and unique support of the local Itzehoe community. The enthusiasm and excitement to see the small club of Itzehoe sailing against the big players in the “Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga“ is still increasing, so that more and more businesses join us as sponsors and supporters (currently more than 10 companies)!

For example, within 24 hours from the surprising wildcard-nomination for the “SAILING Champions League“ in Porto Cervo, Italy, they made it financially possible for us to participate. Although we fell short of our personal expectations, we were absolutely happy to represent our club and the city of Itzehoe and all of our supporters at this exceptional high-class event.

A very special thanks is due to all our sponsors and supporters who make this project possible: GeloRevoice, Funk Gruppe, UK Sails, Wohnart, Makro, Templin, Eskildsen, Fuhlendorf, Musto, TommySails, Lappe Metallbau, Mare, BalticBay Laboe, B&H Sports.