Preferred opponent Daniel Günther grabs victory

Schleswig-Holstein’s Prime Minister Daniel Günther has been the preferred opponent of Lübeck Mayor Jan Lindenau for years in the match race duel for the Travemünde Week for the Volksbank Rotspon Cup. This year, the wish came true, and the prime minister turned out to be a tough opponent. At the helm of the historic 12er “Sphinx” he won the series “Best of three” with 2:1 against Jan Lindenau and his crew on the “Trivia”.

For Lindenau, it was the fourth race against a representative of the state government since he took office. After a victory against the then Minister of the Interior Hans-Joachim Grote and a defeat against Finance Minister Monika Heinhold, the Volksbank Rotspon Cup 2022 against Minister of the Interior Sabine Sütterlin-Waack ended in a draw for the first time in the history of this Cup, because there was no time for a decisive race due to commercial shipping. This year, Jan Lindenau suffered another defeat.

“On the way to Travemünde, I heard four times on the radio which opponent I have in Travemünde today. That really motivated me again. It’s going to be an exciting race and I’m looking forward to it. In the end, we are both winners: one gets the big bottle and one gets the small one. I know from experience that it’s hard to get the big bottle drunk,” Lindenau explained at the sponsors’ breakfast before the start.

Travemünder Woche Regatta und Festival
There were niceties for the sponsors’ breakfast. Daniel Günther (right) received a large cake in the shape of Schleswig-Holstein from the Atlantic Grand Hotel Travemünde on the occasion of his 50th birthday. Hotel director Kay Plesse and Mayor Jan Lindenau are also delighted. Photo:

“I am very happy to be part of it. The Travemünde Week has four World Championships, one European Championship and four International German Championships, and that is of course topped by the Red Spon Cup. I have seen in the annals that three state politicians have managed to blow away the mayor of Lübeck – Torsten Albig, Andreas Breitner and most recently Monika Heinhold. I’m in good spirits because I’ve never lost to Sozis. I’m looking forward to meeting my crew. I can only bet that it is better than Jan Lindenau’s. Then I have chances. If I lose today, I’ll come back again,” said Günther before his Rotspon Cup debut.

The starting signal for the 18th Volksbank Rotspon Cup was given at noon in changeable weather. At first, the wind was weak, but still sailable. As the races progressed, it continued to decline. The first race was a clear start-to-finish victory for the “Sphinx”, on which Prime Minister Daniel Günther steered. In the second race, Jan Lindenau had the bow just ahead. At the finish line, it became so tight that the two beeps for the finishes merged into each other. But the “trivia” with the mayor at the wheel pushed across the finish line just under a meter before the “Sphinx”. Light wind tactics were crucial from the final stage of the second race at the low speed of the yachts. The opponents made it exciting, but in the end Daniel Günther was clearly ahead.

Daniel Günther didn’t lose at the Volksbank Rotspon Cup, but he still wants to come back. “That was a lot of fun. I’m not the most experienced sailor, but I’ve actually been at the helm several times, but it was the first time on a sailboat. That was a great experience. I had great people around me here who gave me good tips. I followed the instructions, and that’s how we won,” the prime minister said.

As a handball player, he is at home in team sports and therefore only knows teamwork in sports, as he experienced it on the boat. “Here, one hand meshed with the other, so we were successful in the end, not because I was behind the wheel. We did it as a team,” he says. Of course, as an athlete, he is ambitious and would like to win. “I’m just an athlete through and through. And when you compete in sports, you want to get the best result. I saw us just at the front, and that’s when ambition grabbed me. That’s why I’m glad it worked out,” explains Günther.

“It was really so much fun that I definitely want to do it again. If the place is occupied, and Jan Lindenau wants to avoid me next year because he is worried about not winning, we will certainly find another way. In my opinion, revenge is part of it, and I’m happy to do it again,” said Günther with a wink. He plans to enjoy his prize, the six-litre bottle of Rotspon, together with Jan Lindenau.

“We have found that the Prime Minister can cope with little wind in good, sunny weather. I’m more of a storm-tested one. That’s why we’re hoping that there will be more wind next time,” Jan Lindenau summed up after the race. The Prime Minister could make up for a lot with appropriate financial support for the Travemünde Week by the state in the coming year, he said jokingly.

Travemünder Woche Regatta und Festival
In front of the Passat, twelve “Trivia” and “Sphinx” fought close duels. Photo: