NRV wins the SAILING Champions League 2022
by J/Boats Jul 30 10:27 AM PDT
36 teams, 15 nations (Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Poland, France, Turkey, Lithuania, Latvia, Australia, Great Britain and Vanuatu) and 72 races sailed on an equal fleet of six J/70 One -Design sailboats.
The final of the Sailing Champions League 2022 as part of the Travemünde Week could hardly have ended more exciting. After the superior performance and the clear victory in the preliminary round, NRV Hamburg made it into the final of the top four with one point. Another point would have been enough to win the Final Four. But the Hamburg helmsman, David Chapman, made it exciting.
Due to a false start in the first race, the team missed the chance of a quick overall victory. Instead, all three competitors also sailed a point in the other races. The decision was only made in the last of the four possible final races, but still in favor of the NRV team.
Had the team from Lithuania not withdrawn, the NRV would not have started in the Sailing Champions League (SCL) finals as the team had not qualified in advance. Equipped with a wildcard, the Hamburg team took the chance and took the lead in the field on day two. After that, everything seemed to point to a clear victory for Hamburg. But the Champions League has its own rules, the Final Four has its own special drama and suddenly everything was zero.
“We thought it would be an easy number in the final because we were so good in the preliminary round,” said Florian Thölen from the NRV team. However, after the team started the first final race too early and the Finns won, the cards were reshuffled. There was no decision in the second race either. The point went to Denmark.
Thus, in the third race of the finale, three teams had the chance to win: the NRV, Finland and Denmark. But the tension wasn’t high enough. The Swiss continued their victory in the fourth race and made the Final Four a showdown for all teams.
When the starting signal for the fourth race was fired, everything was open. NRV Hamburg, the Swiss Regatta Club Bodensee, the Roskilde Sejlklub from Denmark and the Finnish club Ålandska Segelsällskapet each had the chance to win a match ball. And it couldn’t have been more exciting.
The NRV chose the right side of the course after takeoff, arrived in the top position at the windward mark and appeared to be accelerating on the downwind course.
Helmsman Chapman, however, jibeed late, steered at the gate at a tight angle, came under pressure and went out of control!! With a lot of effort and a fluttering gennaker, the Hamburg team managed to avoid the gate. But at the second windward mark, together with the Danes, they were only pursuers. However, the leading Finns faced the problem of who to protect.
They chose the Danes, dismissed the Hamburgers on the other side of the course and were punished. With a low gennaker course, Chapman steered towards the goal, sat directly in front of the Finns and celebrated the NRV’s first triumph in the Champions League with the win. Behind them, Finland, Denmark and Switzerland celebrated.
“Danes and Finns protected each other on the downwind course, so that we were able to get through on the other side,” explained NRV helmsman Chapman, “that was luck, but well-deserved luck.”
For the native Australian it is the second final victory in the Champions League, but the first with the NRV team.
“This win is even more special than the first with Sydney. That was very exciting. We started with a mixed team, but after two days we had to replace Olympic sailor Anastasiya Winkel with Leon Passlack because Anastasiya was called up for service as a sports soldier,” he said, looking forward to celebrating the victory with his team in the evening.
His NRV team was happy to have had Chapman at the tiller in the Champions League final.
“We used to be very close to winning at St Moritz, but then we finished second because David Chapman sailed for Australia and took the whole thing away from us. This time we were lucky that he was on our team. And we did it “We didn’t really qualify for the Champions League, we slipped in two days earlier and started with a wildcard. So we threw our team together. But since everyone in the NRV is sailing at a good level, that didn’t happen enough.” It doesn’t matter,” said Florian Thölen, two-time champion in the J/70.