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A well-deserved farewell for the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta

by Louay Habib, Atlantic Anniversary Regatta 30 Jul 2018 08:46 PDT 29 July 2018
The fleet of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta departing on the Elbe river in Hamburg © Sven Jürgensen / AAR

It was a spectacular scene when the legendary luxury ship EUROPA 2 positioned herself in front of the iconic Elbphilharmonie on July 29, 2018. About 30 yachts passed her as part of the farewell parade of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta (AAR).

Leading the fleet: Malizia - Yacht Club Monaco with German skipper Boris Herrmann, who was first ship home at the AAR as well. Just a few boat lengths behind: Varuna, the fastest yacht after corrected time, and thereby winner of the Bermuda Hamburg leg of the regatta. In the days prior, participating crews were celebrated during festive receptions with prominent attendees from the world of politics and society. A 'grande finale' for this unique transatlantic regatta, which was initiated to honour the 150th jubilee of the Norddeutschen Regatta Verein.

"The maritime hotspot Hamburg, and the German coastline in general, are a surprisingly rare destination for the international offshore elite and transatlantic races", comments Arne Hirsch, CEO of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta. "The birthday of the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein provided the ideal platform to set up this regatta, honouring the local yacht club, and approaching Hamburg's HafenCity with a high-quality fleet."

From exclusive receptions at the impressive residence of the Bermudian Governor and at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, to public Open Ship events for pupils, sailing students and everyone who was interested, to a dedicated Race Village at the Sandtorhafen in Hamburg: the Bermuda Hamburg leg of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta provided numerous possibilities to join the festivities.

Among the guests: several professional athletes and celebrities, such as Pierre Casiraghi, son to Princess Caroline of Monaco, representing Yacht Club de Monaco as Vice President, and founder of Team Malizia. Senator Frank Horch (Department of Economics, Transport and Innovation) was a guest of honour at the prize giving ceremony on Cap San Diego. Andrew McIrvine, Admiral at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) from London, who organized the RORC Transatlantic Race in November 2017 from Lanzarote to Grenada as the first out of two AAR races in total, also joined the celebrations.

"What a wonderful prelude to further NRV anniversary events in Hamburg on the Alster river from now until the end of our jubilee year", said Andreas Christiansen, Chairman of the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, onboard the MS EUROPA 2. "Several of our members, including Varuna's Jens Kellinghusen and Malizia's Boris Herrmann, as well as all other skippers and crew members, were highly successful in this regatta."

MS EUROPA 2 had installed an extra-large poster onboard: a maritime anniversary card for the 150th jubilee of the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein - from one icon of Hamburg to the other. And a great spectacle for the spectators: Local citizens, guests, boat aficionados and cruise fans were surprised with an unusual sight. About 30 yachts left the AAR Race Village one by one, and sailed towards the sunset together.

The night before, the AAR prize giving ceremony took place in front of this ambient backdrop on the Cap San Diego. The crews of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta were welcomed by Senator Frank Horch, the NRV Board and dozens of NRV members. Hundreds of guests were present and celebrated their club until the early morning hours - entertained by the Shanty live music of the Passat Chor and a mouthwatering maritime buffet.

"The Atlantic Anniversary Regatta was a great success and has brought members and supporters of the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein even closer together", sums up Hirsch. "More than two years of preparation paid off. Now our regatta team is looking forward to join the upcoming anniversary events."

Following a 3.500 nautical miles long battle from Bermuda in the West of the Atlantic to the German North Sea coast, Ker 56 Varuna reached the finish line in the early morning hours of July 18, not even an hour behind the bigger IMOCA 60 Malizia. While Boris Herrmann's Malizia and his four crew members were first ship home, the 14 professional crew members of Varuna succeeded in the Bermuda-Hamburg leg after corrected time.

But the successful completion of the AAR does not imply the end of the festivities: several other events are planned for this anniversary year of the storied yacht club.

Further events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the NRV:

  • August 1-5: International German Dragon Championship with 62 entries.
  • August 10-12: Race of the Legends, in which invited Olympic winners from several generations will compete on dragon boats.
  • August 16-19: International German 49er Championship.
  • August 23: "We are sailing Hamburg". The NRV opens its doors: Everyone is invited to join on traditional boats for a sail on the Alster.
  • August 24 & 25: Youth Sailing Meeting Hamburg. Emerging talent from different boat classes is meeting to compete for the local championship in each division(420er, Opti A +B, Laser (Radial, 4.7), Pirate and 'Jugendwanderkutter').
  • November 8: Private function at the Senate and jubilee concert at the Elbphilharmonie for NRV members with the Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg and pieces from Händel, Dvorák and Tschaikowsky.
  • November 10: Jubilee Gala with festive dinner (private function).
In addition, the NRV has produced a bespoke Limited Edition which includes a Marinepool jubilee fashion collection, NRV jubilee wine and NRV jubilee cigars. More information can be found at: nrv.de/ueber-uns/nrv-store

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