Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Danish J/70 Sailing League Commences!

J/70s sailing Danish Sailing League at Rungsted, Denmark
Hellerup Sailing Club Takes Win at Rungsted
(Rungsted, Denmark)- When the Danish Sailing Association was first looking at ways to grow participation in sailing across all sailing clubs in Denmark, they knew their goal was to create an all-inclusive approach that permitted both young and old alike, women and children, World Champions and experienced club sailors to gather together in an experience where everyone could grow together.

"There are a number of good reasons why the J/70 is the obvious choice as the sailing league boat,” said Mads Kolte-Olsen, Secretary General of the Danish Sailing Association. "J/70 today is one of the world's fastest growing boat classes and will in a few years have a significant market in Europe. It’s a boat that can appeal to both young and more experienced sailors, and it's a boat with a high build quality, which is of great importance in relation to maintenance. In fact, absolutely crucial in choosing the J/70 was the success of the boat from the German Segel-Bundesliga.”

J/70 sailing Danish Sailing Leage- ATEA sponsorAs part of growing sailing participation, the “Sejlsportsliagen” managed to secure ATEA as a primary sponsor.  ATEA is a Danish IT solutions company that covers a wide range of disciplines- from basic cabling, data center design and network to complete IT infrastructure. The company employs approximately 6,600 employees in the Nordic and Baltic countries. In Denmark alone, ATEA has 1,400 employees.  According to ATEA’s CEO Morten Felding, “The innovation of the Sejlsportsliagen is in line with ATEA’s ability to always be ahead of the future. In fact, there are many similarities between sailing and the discipline ATEA exercise every day. ATEA customers maneuver in unpredictable and complex situations where conditions can change in a split second.  In order to constantly stay ahead of the next challenge, it requires that you have knowledgeable personnel and that equipment is tuned optimally, so there is profit to the strategic decisions. This is what creates winners.”

"We must make it visible! The League will be the new ‘lighthouse’, bringing together the sport of sailing in Denmark and show the world what sailing is all about. Therefore, we have emphasized that the league is simple in form and visible to all who want to keep up, "says Mads Kolte-Olsen.  “The goal is for the Sailing League to create a renewed focus on the sport and eventually help reverse a downward spiral that characterizes the Danish sailing clubs' membership in recent years.”

J/70 youth sailors at Danish Sailing LeagueIn fact, Thomas Jacobsen, sports manager of the Danish Sailing Association, sees Sejlsportsliagen as a potential lever for improving Denmark’s competitive capability at the international level in sailing on a broad front. “The Sailing League can give our young sailors- both in Olympic classes and offshore classes- some important tactical skills and train their ability to cooperate and communicate in the water. It will greatly benefit Danish sailors. Perhaps it could act as a springboard to a career at the top level!”

SAP Live Tracking of J/70 sailboats As part of the educational and outreach program, the Sejlsportsliagen team has focused on “live” tracking and commentating of the event.  In this case, they’ve secured SAP’s sponsorship (the big German IT/ database company whose Chairman/ CEO is Hasso Plattner- an avid sailor that has in his fleet a J/100, J/105 and J/125!).  "We are proud to have SAP for the provision of services and performance tracking. It gives us a great opportunity to expose the league to all electronic platforms. The races can be "the talk of the town" throughout Denmark, because all interested sailors and friends have access to a live experience," explains Peter Wolsing, Danish Sailing Association's project leader on the Sejlsportsliagen.

J/70 Danish Sailing LeagueThe 2014 Sejlsportsliagen season has four events planned:

  • May 31- Jun 1        Rungsted
  • Jun 20-22              Sonderborg
  • Aug 22-24             Hellerup
  • Sep 5-7                 Aarhus
The first event in Rungsted saw eighteen leading Danish sailing clubs participating. The first day could not have started better, with clear skies, at least 10-20 kts winds and very shifty.  It was clear one club had the J/70s figured out faster than anyone else.  Hellerup Sailing Club, with skipper Mads Christensen, started off the first day with four 1sts!  The regatta managed to get in ten races overall for all teams rotating into the line-up.

On the second day of sailing, the opening day’s fresh winds quieted down.  The lighter winds took some stress off the crews, who for the most part were unfamiliar with the J/70s.  The scoreboard showed that Hellerup SC with Christensen skippering stayed atop the fleet. After eight completed flights (equivalent to 24 races), in second were KDY (Kongelig Dansk YC) and third Silkeborg Sailing Club.

J/70 Danish Sailing League winnersThe final day on Sunday dawned with little breeze. In fact, only enough to get in two more races for each team. Despite the light airs, it was a day full of drama, a false start by HSC creating tension until the end. In the first race, KDY won with Lotte Meldgaard as skipper and Hellerup SC was overcoming an OCS and managed to scrap back to a third.  At that point, KDY was winning the regatta.  However, in the closing race, HSC managed to pull off a good result to win the first leg of the Sejlsportsliagen in Rungsted!  Third was Silkeborg Sailing Club finished third with 40 points.   SAP Sailing Analytics    Sailing photos- from Jacob Møhl (DS sport)   Facebook Sejlsportsliagen   For more J/70 Danish Sailing League information