European Regional Conference 2014
Hosted by NRV/Norddeutscher Regatta Verein
Hamburg, 24-25 October 2014
Report of Proceeding-
"Making the best of ICOYC for its Members"
A one-and-a-half days’ program attracted nine European ICOYC Member Clubs and one guest club to gather for the fourth ICOYC conference of the European Region in the newly build clubhouse of NRV on the shore of Lake Alster.
NRV Admiral Gunther Persiehl, NRV President Andreas Christiansen and ICOYC Vice President-Europe Gero Brugmann welcomed the guests on Friday before a joint lunch in the clubhouse. Food quantities made it obvious that starvation would be the least likely issue for the representatives to run into in the next days.
All present rose to their feet to bid a heartfelt farewell to Dott. Paolo Caffarena, who passed away three days prior to the start of the conference. A Director of the Council, organizer of the 2014 ICOYC Elba and Corsica Cruise and host of the 2012 ICOYC European Conference in Genoa, Paolo was also a main pillar at his home club, Yacht Club Italiano, an enlightened club member who had the club burgee in his blood. The Hamburg conference was held in his memory.
ICOYC housekeeping, reports on the past Forum in Hong Kong and the Regional Conferences in the Americas and Asia/Pacific served as a warm up to the first presentation and discussion topic. Johan Hedberg, General Manager of KSSS in Stockholm, and Felix Oehme, NRV Rear Commodore Youth and winner of the first double-handed race around the globe in a Class 40, explained their cases of successful youth exchanges with St. Francis YC and Santo Amaro YC (Brazil), respectively. A lively discussion sparked around organizational matters, accommodation in guest families, integration into the host clubs or national racing program, the necessity to have a coach accompany the youngsters, and the final question whether a club can afford to "do something good for some v. a lot of effort for only a few". An all-positive general view of youth exchanges was obvious, but careful planning is necessary to produce successful exchanges with value to the host club and its membership as much as for the guests. John Stork as chairman of the Interclub Activities Committee presented on further exchange possibilities between clubs and widened the focus on many kinds of exchanges, beyond youth to traineeships, crew exchanges and others.
After fruitful discussions and exchanges, representatives, spouses, NRV President Andreas Christiansen with his wife Carla, NRV Rear Commodore Offshore Alexander Prinz zu Schleswig-Holstein and NRV Rear Commodore Youth Felix Oehme united to conclude day one of the conference with a dinner in Hamburg’s historic warehouse district.
“Making the best of ICOYC for its clubs’ individual members” served as the opening topic of day two. With a largely open agenda discussion quickly focused on communication. ICOYC-related communication is currently focused on information about member clubs and ICOYC events. The group pin-pointed the need for specific communication to individual members as a key to gain interest among the wider membership and make ICOYC more visible. The key interest is accommodation opportunities, crewing in races and bar evenings for those who visit a city with a members club, and access requirements and guest memberships for those who stay for a longer period. While club leadership is interested in the exchange of strategic information, for the individual members it is the “simple but important things”. Gstaad YC and NRV gave examples of one page club information sheets they provide to visitors.
After a cooling-down break, a guided tour of the newly built clubhouses filled the agenda until lunch. The once small and dated 1950s building on the lakeshore was completely re-built and extended with underground facilities for boat maintenance, youth schooling, storage and kitchen facilities. The re-constructed building above surface now hosts a considerably larger restaurant and bar, events, conferencing and administration area with terrific views over the lake towards the city.
After lunch, a presentation on the upcoming ICOYC Commodores’ Forum in Auckland revealed registrations or firm plans by 6 European clubs, which is a good turnout from the region most afar from the venue. John Stork presented on the post-Forum cruise on the Hauraki Gulf and the host club Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron provided flyers and information material for distribution in all member clubs.
The afternoon session on league sailing commenced with KDY’s general manager Christian Lerche. Germany had introduced a national sailing league in the fashion of European soccer leagues, and with Denmark instituting its own national league this year, a European Champions League event was held in Kopenhagen. 18 clubs competed in 4 Friday-to-Sunday events in J/70 boats to find the leading Danish National Sailing league clubs.
Thereafter, Oliver Schwall, owner of a Hamburg-based media agency and one of the fathers of the sailing league system, presented on the story of league sailing in Germany. The concept was rather simple: the soccer league system was copied into sailing. Instead of 22 people on a lawn, 6 boats competed on the water. The buzz-words of “premier league” and “second league”, ”club”, “national qualification” and “relegation” describe what the media is used to. The format uses fleet racing in one designs (J/70) which was found preferable to match racing or other formats that are rule-intensive and hard to understand while watching. 6 to 12 minutes per race keep intensity and allow a series of races per day even in less optimal conditions. The other key to success was that the yacht clubs were in the focus of attention. While individual sailor’s names rule the known formats, clubs compete in league sailing, even with changing crew through the series. Media attention was extremely high from the start in 2013, and the clubs found themselves on the focus of reporting. While 18 German clubs participated in the 2013 national league events, it was 61 clubs applying in 2014. The second league was instituted to serve the demand and the relegation process was a nationwide event. On the water coverage and live streaming by media-partner SAP helped to create “public”-viewing events in the various clubs, bringing the membership together to follow their club competing for points and places.
For the club crews, competing is designed as ”handbag sailing”. Participants need to bring no more than their sailing gear. Boats are changed after every race and rig trimming is not allowed. The boats are provided by the league. The deal for seven J/70s turned out to be a success story for Northern German J-Boats dealer. Since the league started, they sold over 70 boats and made it a major class in Germany within one year. Sponsoring deals with Audi and SAP provided the financing for the boat and media equipment.
The representatives retired to their hotel to refresh for the final dinner in the NRV clubhouse main event room. The dinner gave ample time for representatives, spouses and NRV flag officers to deepen the discussed topics as much as friendships. Ad hoc speeches and spontaneous singing performances made the dinner eventful, followed by more in-depth conversation at the bar.
The night showed mercy with the return to standard time and with an extra hour of sleep, the steadfast re-united on Sunday morning for the Hamburg boat show “hanseboot”. A welcome and coffee at the NRV exhibition stand was the time to say goodbye and look forward to seeing each other in Auckland or the venue of the next European conference.
ICOYC Vice President-Europe
The PDF file downloads shown in the table below are of the presentations made at the 2014 European Regional Conference. The downloads are restricted to logged-in members only. If you are a member of an ICOYC club without a login username, contact your club's Representative for approval to be given a username and password. The names of Representatives are shown in the Member Clubs page. If you already have a username login, but are having problems with access, send a message to WebEditor@icoyc.org. Click on the presentation title to start the download.
- The final Conference programme can be downloaded HERE.
- List of delegates can be downloaded HERE.
- Directions on how to walk from the hotel to the NRV clubhouse is HERE.
- A new version of Useful Information can be downloaded HERE.
- Also, a press release for the Champions League of the Sailors can be downloaded HERE. .