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Norddeustcher Regatta Verein win J/70 German Sailing League for 7th time

by J-Boats 5 Nov 2023 08:20 PST
2023 German J/70 Sailing League © Julius Osner

The finale of the 2023 German J/70 Sailing League season took place on Hamburg's Alster Lake from October 19th to 21st. The finale was shaping up to be a titanic duel between two strong teams to determine the ultimate winner of the 2023 season. Leading by a scant point going into the regatta was Munich Yacht Club, but hot on their heels was past multiple season champions, the formidable Norddeustcher Regatta Verein team.

"The drama for the next three days of regatta is better than any script," said Oliver Schwall, creator/founder of the German J/70 Sailing Bundesliga. "The final races offer everything that makes league sailing so unique. North versus South club, Hamburg versus Bavaria, a successful team against young newcomers. The last match of the league has rarely been so exciting."

He doesn't see a home advantage for the NRV squad. "The Alster is always complex and gusty. The NRV is sending four very experienced sailors. Our team doesn't train as intensively as the MYC team," says Oliver Schwall. "The team with the better nerves will win the final."

The forecast for the three-day event was for cold, windy conditions with temperatures below 10 C degrees and strong easterly breezes in the 15 to 20+ kts range.

"As Bavarians, we are also winter sports enthusiasts," laughs Micki Liebl, team manager of the Munich Yacht Club, with a look at the weather forecast. "We are at the top of the table against NRV. We are the underdog, but before the big finale the team is tense, not nervous."

The Munich YC sent their best helmsman and team for the decisive north-south duel- Xaver Huber, Julius Neszvecsko, Beni Haimerl, and Anton Sattler.

The NRV once again sent their best helmsman, Tobias Schadewaldt, into the race for the duel for the championship trophy. The former Olympian, 49er and Laser sailor is considered an expert in smart small-space tactics and perfect starts. Together with Johann Kohlhoff, Malte Päsler, and Klaas Höpcke, he was hopeful to win the coveted title of the best German club team again for the NRV.

Seven-time Winners

The record champion has done it again. For the seventh time, the Hamburg NRV team was crowned German J/70 Sailing League Champions. Led by their Olympic champion skipper Tobias Schadewaldt, the NRV team successfully defended their title. The Munich Yacht Club became runner-up. Third place on the podium was hotly contested. The Mühlenberger Sailing Club was ultimately able to prevail with a narrow lead.

Happy and soaked from the persistent rain, the team from NRV in Hamburg- Tobias Schadewaldt, Johann Kohlhoff, Klaas Höpcke, and Malte Päsler- celebrated their victory immediately after the last crossing of the finish line. For the seventh time in the eleven-year history of the Sailing Bundesliga, the squad from Alster Lake managed to win the coveted silver sailing championship trophy.

For 39-year-old Tobias Schadewaldt, who took part in the 2012 Olympic Games in the 49ers, it's the fifth championship title for him.

"It's nice to be able to end my Bundesliga time for the NRV with such success again," he said, visibly moved, shortly before the championship trophy was handed over. "I won't be there next season as I compete in the 2024 Olympic Games, but will hand over the helm to younger hands in the spirit of continuous renewal of the team."

Violent easterly storm challenges the Bundesliga teams

"In the violent easterly storm that swept over the Alster over the last two days, the experienced NRV team was simply unbeatable," says Oliver Schwall, founder of the J/70 Sailing Bundesliga. "The championship team showed strong nerves and perfect boat handling. In weather conditions in which some less well-rehearsed crews reached their limits."

It was only on the last of three regatta days that Hamburg's Alster Lake presented itself with light winds, and rain, and shrouded in autumnal gray. On the other two days, however, the foothills of the hurricane depression challenged the sailors hard with strong squalls.

"This Bundesliga season demanded the participants' entire range of sailing skills," said Oliver Schwall. "We had match days with light winds in Kiel and Lake Constance and heavy weather races in Travemünde and Hamburg. All-round skills were required to be at the forefront."

Munich Yacht Club runner-up

The young team from the Munich Yacht Club (MYC), which started the final races as league leaders with a wafer-thin lead of one point, turned out to be more than a good loser and exuberantly celebrated the biggest Bundesliga success in the club's history. "We didn't lose the championship, we won the runner-up championship. Congratulations to the NRV" cheered the MYC team.

Mühlenberger Sailing Club in 3rd place

Third place on the podium was particularly hotly contested. With the Mühlenberger Segel-Club (MSC), a second Hamburg club reached the podium and celebrated its greatest success to date in the Sailing Bundesliga. The helmsman for the club from the Elbe on the last match day of the season was Magnus Simon, who had already won the coveted sailing club championship trophy in 2021 with the now-defunct club OneKiel.

"It couldn't have been better. We are on the podium, the best club on the Elbe, and have achieved the best Bundesliga result for the MSC to date," beamed the MSC team after the races. "We are looking forward to the SAILING Champions League and want to secure ourselves at the top of the table from the start of the coming season."

"The races for third and fourth place were a real thriller," said Oliver Schwall. "Thanks to the tracking system of our partner SAP, we were always able to display the interim results transparently and thus keep the excitement high for the around 25,000 viewers who followed the final races in the live stream."

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