On Saturday, April 2, 2022, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) opened the newly built NRV Inclusion Harbour and the NRV Haspa (Hamburger Sparkasse) Youth Harbour on the banks of the Alster Lake. Guests of honor included State Councillor Christoph Holstein, District Assembly Chair Priscilla Owosekun-Wilms and Dr. Harald Vogelsang, Board Spokesman of Hamburger Sparkasse Hamburg Savings Bank.
The extension of Norddeutscher Regatta Verein’s jetty at Schöne Aussicht 37 has created a unique and inviting facility for inclusive sailing, and also enables the expansion of youth training at the Club.
The NRV Haspa Youth Harbour, the NRV Inclusion Harbour and the barrier-free conversion of the existing facilities are based on considerable support from the Hamburg City Parliament, the District Assembly North and the Hamburger Sparkasse. It was only through these grants and the commitment of sponsors, foundations and patrons that it was made possible to realize the extensive “lighthouse project” which will serve to light the way for other similar projects to follow. The new harbour is to be a home for inclusive sailing in the middle of Hamburg, supporting its own inclusive initiatives as well as innovative collaborations with other clubs and organisations.
State Councillor Christoph Holstein championed togetherness and thanked the NRV in his opening speech: “You are on your way to becoming one of the most modern sailing clubs in Germany. Today you are taking a step further on a path that you embarked on a long time ago, on which you are making a stronger commitment to social responsibility and also putting it into practice… You are setting an example and at the same time you are helping us, the city, to profile and position our city as a driving force of inclusive sailing. Thank you very much for that!”
The District Assembly North (DAN) was also happy to participate in the project. Priscilla Owosekun-Wilms, Chairwoman of the DAN, explained the district’s reasoning behind providing funding: to serve as a role model. “You can’t be what you can’t see. It is not the case that people with disabilities or people who depend on accessibility sail less because they are not interested or not able to. What is missing are simply role models and resources,” said Chairwoman Owosekun-Wilms.
Haspa Board Spokesman, Dr. Harald Vogelsang, welcomed the cooperation created by the new harbour: “The Youth and Inclusion Harbours are very special projects. People, the future, and sport are the focus here. When young people and Hamburg residents with disabilities can stand together on the jetty and sail from here in the middle of our city, that’s great. We were very happy to support this idea. It is another building block with which Hamburger Sparkasse fills this active city with life.”
In his speech, NRV Chairman Tobias König emphasised how grateful the NRV is for the extensive support. Chairman King stated “We are incredibly grateful to have been able to realise this project, thanks to your help. The increasing enthusiasm we are experiencing with our inclusion campaign is touching and gives us courage to continue our commitment. Thank you, Hamburg City Parliament. Thank you, District Assembly North. Thank you, Haspa and thank you, Eberhard Wienholt, on behalf of all the patrons and foundations who so generously support the NRV in its work!”
NRV launched their inclusion initiative in 2019 under the motto “Responsibility for Tomorrow.” The new harbours and the conversion of the Clubhouse and adjacent premises are the basic framework to the initiative, and with these now coming to life it will allow new concepts emerge from this groundwork.
The NRV has already launched some of the projects as part of this initiative. Existing projects include inclusive regattas such as the Helga Cup, the Helgahard Cup, the Ü-75 Regatta for sailors above the age 75 and the first two inclusive sailing world championships, which the NRV successfully organised on the Alster.
The joint project of the NRV and FC St. Pauli Segeln ‘Gelebte Inklusion auf der Regattabahn’ (Living Inclusion on the Regatta Course), in which visually impaired and sighted people as well as deaf and hearing people have each successfully taken part in the Kieler Woche regattas with a J/70 without special scoring compensation or special consideration of disabilities, is now known throughout and beyond the region. The number of teams has grown, as has support for this project, and other projects are inspired to follow in the steps of this lighthouse project.
A new development to look forward to is the acquisition of the first “sustainable“ Optimist dinghy – a ‘Flachsopti’ – with which the NRV wants to demonstrate sustainability to youth groups. Developed by newly founded company KHULULA, this Opti is the world’s first recyclable series class boat and is made from flax, basalt and recycled carbon. Its CO2 footprint is 85% smaller than that of the series-produced Optis. KHULULA was founded a year ago by actor and sailor Simon Licht and his partner Holger Ambroselli, who shared the goal of bringing awareness to sustainability to people from all walks of life.
The harbour inauguration was a fitting setting to present and christen this new Opti. Also on display were the 14 S/V sailboats that were specially purchased for inclusive sailing, which were christened by Olympic silver medallist Susann Beucke on this occasion. All in all, the inauguration of this new facility was a strong step forward into a new era of inclusivity, and provides courage and hope in time for the start of the new sailing season, which started on time at the end of March for the first time in two years.