German-Finnish duel in the Champions League

League sailing is back at the Traveünder Woche - and not only with the 1. and 2. Bundesliga, but also with the Sailing Champions League (SCL). For the first time, the finals of the top class will be held in Germany. 36 teams from 19 nations will be sailing for victory until Tuesday. Six teams from Germany will compete. After the first four races, a tough top battle has developed between the NRV from Hamburg and the team from the Aland Islands competing for Finland.

At the start of the high-calibre Champion League Final, the athletes were delighted with almost ideal weather conditions with light winds from westerly directions. Directly in front of Travemünde's beach, the races could also be easily followed from shore. Nine boats per race competed against each other, so that it was sometimes tight at the buoys by league standards. There was also a lot of action on the water between the races with the crews changing. The teams are brought onto the race course by dinghy for the next race. Then quick action is required: transfer to the respective boat, attach the club flag to the stern, adjust the sails and get into position for the start.

The team from Åländska Segelsällskapet sailed successfully throughout: The Finns crossed the finish line first four times and second once. After five races, the Hamburg team from the German record champion NRV were tied on points. In the meantime, the team around skipper David Chapman had a false start in the list, but this was corrected after checking the start logs.

Even before the first start, Carsten Kemmling, helmsman of the team from WV Hemelingen (WVH), saw the German crews in a strong position at the Champions League Final. "The level here in the final is high and the international competition is difficult for us to assess. Our goal is to be among the top four who will decide the victory among themselves," said the Hamburg native, who is competing for Bremen. He sees the fact that so many young teams are competing as a positive sign for the Bundesliga.

The fact that there are nine boats competing in the Champions League races - and not just six as in the Bundesliga - makes it a bit more challenging for the athletes, Kemmling says. "It makes it tighter at the windward mark. You also have to keep an eye on more boats." What is particularly nice about the Travemünde event is how close it is to the public because of the regatta course directly in front of the beach.

The Lübecker Yacht-Club (LYC) got off to a good start in the SCL by receiving a wild card for the finals as host. So although the Lübeckers are not competing in the Bundesliga this season, they will be at the final of the Sailing Champions League. "We have opted out of the Bundesliga this year because we are just rebuilding the division with younger people. Here at the final, we are also relying on young talent," explains Maximilian Gebhard, team manager of the LYC league team. For the crew around 21-year-old helmsman Henrik von Seck, the SCL Final is the highlight of the season. The goal is to achieve the best possible result. However, the supposed home advantage does have its downsides. "Because we are at home here, other commitments continue on the side. Henrik, for example, still had to go to university. When we start elsewhere, we take a few days off in advance and can thus focus entirely on the regatta," Gebhard explains. At the end of the day, the team from Lübeck conceded a few weaker results and are in 30th place before the second day.

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