Former world champion Hagen leads the 12′ dinghy class

At the tornado-meadow in Travemünde, classic dinghies are currently attracting the attention of visitors. The 12-foot dinghies, which have been competing in the German Open, the unofficial German championship, for the 134th Travemünde Week, are lined up in the most beautiful wooden look. Of the 20 or so active German regatta sailors in this boat class, 15 are registered in Travemünde, most of them from the ranks of the Lübeck Yacht Club – with quite a prominent line-up.

“Of course I want to win, like probably all of us. I hope for a place in the first third of the fleet,” said Andreas Fuhrhop, who was Commodore of the 12′ Dinghy Fleet North for over ten years. As a member of the Lübeck Yacht Club, he is of course particularly pleased to be hosting the German Open as part of the Travemünder Woche in the year of the club’s 125th anniversary.

Among the participants is a two-time sailing world champion: Alexander Hagen from Lübecker Yacht-Club won the world championship in 1981 and 1997 in the then Olympic star boat class and competed twice at the Olympic Games (1988 and 2004). It was only about a fortnight ago that he had the idea of competing in a 12′ dinghy at the Travemünde Week. Only once before had he sat in a boat of this class. But that was enough to convince Hagen of the good sailing characteristics of the 12′ Dinghy. “You definitely have to unhook a bit in the boats and sail sportily with the big sail. The boat gives direct feedback. I like that a lot,” praised Hagen, who learned to sail on the Warnitz in Lübeck.

Actually, he had already turned his back on sailing about 15 years ago and since then has mainly been foil-surfing on the water – wing- and kite-surfing. “I was always ‘open to the system’ and was one of the few sailors who also surfed. When I was already Starboat World Champion myself, I even surfed a heat against windsurfing legend Robby Naish once at the Windsurfing World Cup in Fuerteventura. Actually, I was only there to deliver sails, but then I spontaneously took part and was directly assigned the multiple world champion Naish as my opponent. Up to the windward mark, I was able to keep him at bay with the help of sailing tactics, which Naish was impressed with afterwards,” says Hagen enthusiastically.

Alexander Hagen proved that he is still a force to be reckoned with in sailing on the very first day of the German Open, when he took second and first place and went straight to the top of the field. Rainer Millies from the Plöner Segler-Verein von 1908 is tied for second place, followed by Peer Stemmler from the Lübecker Yacht-Club.

“The races were cool. I was by no means always in front, but operated from the front midfield and had to work for my placing. It is a challenge to sail fast with such a small boat. It’s fun. I get on well with the 12′ dinghy. It felt a bit like when I was a kid with my little wooden boat on the Wakenitz,” Alexander Hagen summed up after the first two races.