Multinational crew wins J/22 World Championship title

Four decisions were made on the penultimate day of the 134th Travemünde Week: In addition to the ranking regattas of the Kielzugvögel and Korsar, it was the title fights in the J/22 and Olympiajolle that attracted the most attention. The race committee of the Zürcher Yacht-Club (ZYC) started the day with great ambition to get many more races on the list for the J/22 World Championship. And three more races succeeded. “We would have liked to start a fourth, but the time limit put limits on us. We were only a few minutes short of being able to start another race,” reported Lionel Büttner from ZYC. However, this would not have changed anything about the World Cup title, the multinational team under the Dutch flag around Jean-Michel Lautier acted too superior. The title of European Cup winner of the Olympiajolle was secured by Harry Voss from Steinhuder Meer.

The new J/22 World Champions had to wait a long time before they could hold the winner’s trophy in their hands. A protest hearing put the award ceremony on hold. Jean-Michel Lautier, Giuseppe D’Aquino and Denis Neves seized the opportunity. The trio dived into the sailors’ village at the Marinepool store to convert the 300-euro prize money from Friday’s Trave Race into shirts and shorts. Shortly afterwards, they were celebrated by the 26 crews – as world champions. The winning crew itself significantly increased the number of nations represented. The trio is a multinational company sports team.

Skipper Lautier, 47, is French, trimmer D’Aquino, 56, is Italian, and bowman Neves, 47, is Portuguese. The boat name “Fraporita” is also derived from the national abbreviations. But that is not enough of the cosmopolitan appearance. “We all sail under the Dutch flag,” Lautier explained. The background: The trio lives in Amsterdam and The Hague, as engineers they all work for the European Space Agency ESA. Formerly competitors, they have now been sailing together for twelve years. And with success. World Championship silver in 2015 in Travemünde was followed by another second place, then the title in Warnemünde in 2019 and now gold again. “They are really good,” praises Holger Schmitt. The man from Duisburg is the head of the German fleet and felt he was in good hands with the J-family in Travemünde: “A great World Cup, with very nice races. We’d love to come again.” In 2024, however, it’s first overseas, to Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay. Silver went to the crew of Jürgen Eiermann (Rastatt), bronze to Wolf Jeschonnek (Berlin).

Travemünder Woche Regatta und Festival

Harry Voss climbed the podium of the European Cup of the Olympiajolle with a huge jump to the cheers of his 64 competitors from three nations. The 61-year-old sales manager from Steinhude had prevailed in six races. “Travemünde is my favourite sailing area. I have won here many times, but never a championship. The European Championship title is my greatest success so far. A championship title is always something special,” he said. He learned everything at the Schaumburg-Lippischer Seglerverein on Lake Steinhude. “That’s why the cup goes in the club’s showcase. It is for everyone.” The other two podium places were also occupied by Germans. Frank Hänsgen (Quenzsee) and Alexander Kulik (Kirchmöser) were happy about silver and bronze. The Dutch, who are used to success, had to settle for the chasing role this time. Thies Bosch was the best “Oranje” in fourth place.

The Korsar-class were dominated by sisters. Silja (23) and Jonna (17) Braun dominated the competition of the ranking regatta almost at will. After seven races, they had clinched six victories and had to discard a third place. “We didn’t expect it to be this good. It was exactly our wind conditions, almost a bit like at home in Steinhude,” the duo reported. It is their first joint success in the Korsar.

Crew Jonna Braum has only been sailing in the class for about a year. Sailing together as sisters is better than expected, they think. “You fight less than I feared, less than on land,” they said and laughed. Even though there were no other younger active sailors competing in the Korsar in Travemünde, it would still definitely be a young class. “There are a lot of youngsters in the Korsar, but most of them don’t dare to tackle the big areas like the Baltic Sea,” explained helmswoman Silja, who came to Korsar sailing with her sister through their father.

In the Kielzugvogel, the dominance of Michael Hotho/Marcus Hahn almost matched that of the Korsar winners. The sailing combination from Lake Steinhude and Lake Constance had an impressive lead of eleven points over Oliver and Katja Babik (Hattingen) after an impressive series of five wins in eight races. Herbert and Elisabeth Kujan from Forggensee came third, although they were unable to sail the first two races of the series.

After the long-distance race through the night from Thursday to Friday, the sailors had another tough task ahead of them on Saturday: with the middle-distance regatta, race officer Jan Fischer sent the small fleet of two-person crews as part of the German Double Handed Championship as well as the yachts with full crews on a 40 and 45 nautical mile course through the Bay of Lübeck. The flat wind in the morning already caused a delay in the start, and even after that it was a leisurely pace. It was not until 5:35 pm that the first yacht reached the finish line. It took until late in the evening for all crews to arrive.

The two sailing leagues provided beautiful sailing pictures close to the spectators in front of the beach. After a tough start in the light wind on Friday, the J/70s of a total of 36 club teams from all over Germany delivered almost 30 short races on Saturday for the sailing fans and their own position in this league event. In the 1. Segelbundesliga, the record winner of the Bundesliga, NRV Hamburg, with former Olympic sailor Tobias Schadewaldt, holds the lead. The crew has thus returned to the path of success after a weaker performance in the Sailing Champions League at the start of Travemünde Week. First runner-up is VSaW Berlin ahead of Champions League finalists SMC Überlingen. In the 2. Segelbundesliga, the Bavarian Yacht Club put themselves in top position ahead of Joersfelder SC from Berlin and the Hamburgers from Blankeneser SC with a victory in the last day’s race.