From Monday, 31st of August, 56 international crews will be competing for the prestigious J/24 World Championship at Boltenhagen on Germany’s Baltic coast. It is the first time that the German Class Association has hosted one of yacht racing’s top events. Anticipation is heightened by the highly competitive fleet, that includes former World and European champions.
International flair in the picturesque seaside resort of Boltenhagen: Sailors from all over the world have gathered on the Baltic coast for 5 days of championship racing and après sail fun. The line honours for the longest journey goes to 4 teams from Japan, but crews from Argentina, Peru, Barbados and Brazil also made the long trip to Northern Germany. However, the major part of the fleet (21 entries) comes from Germany, followed by Great Britain (7 entries) and Italy (6 entries).
The high calibre of J/24 teams gathered in Boltenhagen includes many world-class sailors: Among the entrants are two former world champions (Mauricio Santa Cruz from Brazil and Will Welles from the USA) and the current European Champion, Ian Southworth (GBR). Today’s practice race already saw some very close racing on the water and raised the anticipation for the next 5 days of racing.
From a German point of view, Frank Schönfeldt from Hamburg leads the host nation’s best team in Boltenhagen. The sailmaker, who was European Champion in 2014, already has a very impressive track record. But it will be exciting to watch him sail with his young crew against competition like Ian Southworth from Great Britain who used this year’s Kiel Week (that he won) and the German National Championships as preparation for the 2015 World Championships.
Jan-Marc Ulrich, chairman of the German J/24 Class Association, said: “The level in the J/24 class is very high, with many top teams in with a chance. Positions change quickly during the race which makes it even more exciting for spectators on the racecourse or those following in the Internet.” To enable as many people as possible to follow the action, all 56 boats are equipped with GPS trackers.
Some of Europe’s top female crews are also competing, like the current German National Champions “VEGA Ragazza”, helmed by Stephanie Köpcke from Hamburg. “VEGA”’s tactician Silke Hahlbrock, was also part of the German Olympic Match Race campaign.
Association with the “Norddeutscher Regatta Verein” (NRV)
The practice race on Sunday gave the crews the opportunity to tune up and get a feeling for the waters off Boltenhagen. With the first race being held on Monday, 31st of August, by Friday 4th the J/24 class will celebrate their new world champion.
Racing will be organised by the ‘Norddeutscher Regattaverein’, one of Germany’s oldest yacht clubs, that has many years of experience staging international events such as Kiel Week and countless One-Design championships.
Jan-Marc Ulrich, “We are happy to have such an experienced Principal Race Officer as Klaus Lahme on board for the J/24 World Championship 2015. Klaus was a very successful Laser sailor and is international Race Officer as well as international Judge.”
Boltenhagen’s attractive location in Mecklenburg-Vorpommerania allows spectator-friendly inshore racing, with stable winds, free from commercial shipping lanes.
The event is based in the purpose-built Boltenhagen Marina located within the exclusive ‘Weiße Wiek’ holiday village which offers a modern yet relaxed atmosphere. The town of Boltenhagen is close to the venue and grew from a fishing village into a picturesque seaside resort in the early 19th century. Its well-restored family hotels, shops and restaurants offer a pleasant alternative to the excitement of the racecourse.
In 1976, US sailor Rodney S. Johnstone constructed a simple, cheap and fast boat for his son in his garage. Today, the J/24 is the world’s largest keel boat class. Its strict class rules keep racing simple and affordable, even for youth teams, and the strict “one design” concept makes competition even more fun. Many successful sailors began their career in J/24, including Ken Read (Skipper in several Volvo Ocean Race-campaigns), silver medallist and America´s Cup tactician John Kostecki, and America´s Cup winner Ed Baird.
“We are very proud to be hosting the J/24 worlds”, said Jan-Marc Ulrich from the German Class Association. “An international committee decides where the worlds take place. With our application, we were successful against nations like Brazil.” A dedicated team of volunteers have been working for months to ensure the event will be unforgettable for the sailors, their friends and families.
High-res images will be available from Monday evening on www.j.24worlds-com/media/gallery. Video footage for embedding on your website or Facebook fan Page can be found on www.facebook.com/j24worlds2015.
All footage is free for editorial use. Please use “J/24 worlds” as a credit.
Live Race Tracking of the racing:
Lina Nagel (press officer of German J/24 class)
Credit: J24 World Championships