After the cancellation of the 131st Travemünder Woche, the planning for the event in its 132nd year is in full swing. For good reason: Because the Corona pandemic will not be over this year either, and so many conditions are to be expected that will have to be fulfilled for the sailing and festival week from 23 July to 1 August. But one thing is certain: the TW should not be cancelled a second time. The sailors and class associations value this highly. The interest in the TW is unbroken. In this interview, Frank Schärffe, Managing Director of the Travemünder Woche gGmbH, and Jens Kath as Sporting Director provide information about the status of the TW.
The Travemünder Woche should not be cancelled a second time. That is the clear wish of the organisers, and it is also supported by the Hanseatic City of Lübeck.
Frank Schärffe: Yes, that is fortunate. We, the organisers, as well the sailing club, naturally have the sporting value of the Travemünder Woche in mind. This is confirmed every year by the fact that many national and international classes sail their championships here. It is important to maintain this status in the sailing world. The city-administration sees it similarly. Of course, it has the importance of Travemünde as a sailing location in mind, and this undoubtedly includes the Travemünde Week, which has proven this for decades, over 130 years in total.
That means: The city is supporting the event this year?
Frank Schärffe: We have this commitment. More detailed studies on what it means to hold the Travemünder Woche under these special conditions in 2021 still have to be discussed. But there are initial calculations that we have made. This also results in the need to support the Travemünder Woche financially. Because apart from the registration income, we have no significant revenues this year that can contribute to the financing of the sports area. Therefore, we are dependent on the help of the city.
The situation dictates: Sailing is the focus for Travemünder Woche 2021. What is possible on land this year?
Frank Schärffe: That's difficult to say from today's perspective, at the end of February. The infection we will have to deal with in July is still open. Our planning is based on the assumption that we want to carry out the sailing competitions as planned. On land, on the other hand, we will most likely have a situation where a festival, as we have been used to over the years, will not be possible. In all likelihood there will be no big party mile, no big festival areas, no party zone on the beach. In this respect, the land programme, if it is allowed, will be limited to a few demarcated areas. A financial contribution, which is otherwise very important for the TW out of the land programme, will not come this year.
Special measures will have to be taken in any case, because between 1000 and 2000 active people are expected. What scenarios does the Travemünder Woche have to prepare for?
Frank Schärffe: As a big event, the Travemünder Woche is already a challenge every year, which is carried out with 300 volunteers. But this year we are facing special challenges, especially with regard to the Corona regulations that we have to expect. We are in the process of setting up a comprehensive hygiene and safety concept. There are indications that we will have to implement really restrictive measures at our various pitch and boat storage locations, such as demarcations, access controls, accreditation of people, although it is not yet clear how many people will be allowed in the individual areas of Travemünde Week in July. But we are preparing for that. It means much more extensive infrastructure with higher costs than we are used to in the normal TW years.
Less income and higher expenses cannot be afforded by the organisers alone. Which public funding can one hope for?
Frank Schärffe: From today's point of view, it is only the City of Lübeck that can help us with special funds so that the Travemünder Woche will be feasible this year and can thus continue to exist. Because an association cannot bear these immense costs in infrastructure and costs that will be connected with the hygiene requirements. No question at all!
The sporting planning for 2021 is largely complete. How did Travemünde Week come out of the cancellation year 2020?
Jens Kath: Almost strengthened. We managed to take many championships that were cancelled last year over to this year. Many classes asked for them straight away. And our calendar was well filled anyway, because we plan three or four years in advance. The field is super well set up, a good mix: old and young, slow and fast, lots of people on board, few people on board - really exciting.
What are the highlights and championships? How many participants in how many classes are expected?
Jens Kath: We could probably crack the 1000-mark. It was already planned last year that more than 1000 boats would come to us. A highlight will be the European Championship of the Laser 4.7. There could be around 350 boats, with young people from 12 to 16 years old on board. That will be the biggest field. The youth two-man dinghies RS Feva, sailing their World Championship, which we had already planned last year, will be around 150 to 200 boats. We have the Waszp with us, as a foil class. So something spectacular and fast. All in all, we will be well staffed. We have almost all the regatta courses in operation that we can run, nine of them. Of course, we still have to nest back and forth, plan how everything fits. Because the question is, will all the classes come in the strength that is intended. But we are hopeful, with a view to other regattas, that many entries will come in. With around 20 classes, we are well filled.
The big goal in the sporting organisation on land will be to operate as contactlessly as possible. What innovations will be there because of the situation?
Jens Kath: You have to look at where the sailors come together beforehand: This is the skippers' meeting, these are the check-in areas, the opening ceremonies and award ceremonies. We have to take measures there. When you think about the check-in, it's largely done online, so that the sailors only have to come by to pick up their participant's bag from us - after a clearly booked appointment online. In terms of communication, we can do without the notice board around which the sailors usually gather. That has been possible online for a long time. We are working on our own messenger programme through which we can reach the participants. That way we can communicate: Here's what's new! So no one has to gather in front of a crowded notice board any more and is still well informed, always knows what's going on. For award ceremonies and opening ceremonies, we are still in the discovery phase. We'll have to wait and see what the situation will be like in the summer. There are various scenarios, from - in the worst case - no award ceremony at all to a small circle or - what we hope for - an extended circle.
It sounds like a virtue is being made of necessity, at least in part, that some measures will also be taken into the future.
Jens Kath: Yes, of course. If you think about the Messenger service, definitely. We have also had our virtual flagpole in operation since 2019. So no one has to stick their nose out of their tent to see the flag signals anymore. This is also possible on a tablet or smartphone. We will now be introducing more of these things in the future.
What are the expectations of the sailors? In what areas are they challenged, what compromises do they have to accept?
Jens Kath: We assume that everyone wants to participate. We have been used to the Corona measures for over a year. But it's all about the sailing. The people who come to us want to sail. We want to offer world-class sailing. The Travemünder Woche is known for having a good symbiosis of festival and sailing. But the festival might not take place at all this year, and if it does, it will be limited. The participants will definitely have to do without the beach party after sailing this year. We still have to see whether the championship receptions on the "Passat", which are organised with the Hanseatic City of Lübeck, are feasible. That will probably be difficult. We will have to make concessions here. But we will do everything to make the sailing work well.
In short: The organisers are looking forward to the sailors. After the cancellation year, things are now looking up again?
Jens Kath: Of course. That's how we hope it will be. We are doing everything for it and we are firmly convinced to let something good take place. Everyone should have fun, they should find fair and good conditions.
24.-26. Juli: Worlds RS Venture Connect
25.-29. Juli: Worlds RS Feva
25.-29. Juli: Youth-Worlds RS Aero (U21)
25.-30. Juli: Europeans Laser 4.7 (weiblich und männlich)
27.-31. Juli: Europeans Splash (Blue und Red)
24.-28. Juli: Euro-Cup Waszp
24.-27. Juli: Euro-Cup Trias
25.-27. Juli: Int. German Championship Korsar
27.-31. Juli: Int. German Championship Canoe Taifun
27.-31. Juli: Int. German Championship Canoe IC
28.-31. Juli: Int. German Championship Kielzugvogel
24.-26. Juli: German Open J/22
24.-26. Juli: German Open J/24
25.-27. Juli: German Open RS Aero
24.-26. Juli: Laser Standard
24.-26. Juli: Laser Radial
24.-27. Juli: Finn Dinghy
29.-31. Juli: O-Jollen
28.-31. Juli: Conger
29. Juli – 1. August: Formula 18
29. Juli – 1. August: German Open Musto Skiff
23.-27. Juli: Hanse Baltic Challenge (Rund Rügen)
24.-25. Juli: ORC Up&Down
31. Juli – 1. August: ORC Mittelstrecke