Youth Sailing Championsleague
Last week, I had the privilege of representing my hometown club, Segelclub Stäfa, in the Youth Sailing Champions League. The regatta was held in Vilamoura, Portugal, and it saw some of the best teams from across Europe battle it out for the top spot. Teams from Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Netherlands participated in the event, making it a truly international affair. The weather conditions were excellent throughout the regatta -as you can see from the photos:)
Our team, consisting of my brother Niklas, Carlos, and Nico, had a fantastic start to the competition. We sailed very solid races with little to no mistakes, which helped us secure a comfortable six-point lead over the other teams(wich is a lot in this format). As a result, we led for the final day.
However, the last day of the competition proved to be challenging due to the very light wind conditions, which ranged between 2-4 knots. In the first race of the day, three out of the four boats, including ours, had an early start, leading to a penalty. We managed to score 3 and 3, which unfortunately resulted in us finishing in second place overall. It was a disappointing outcome for us, and it took some time to process and come to terms with our performance. However, we decided to put it behind us and enjoy some much-needed downtime on the sunny beach of Vilamoura, while sharing a beer.
We extend our congratulations to Bodensee-Yacht-Club Überlingen, who won the competition and proved to be worthy opponents. Despite our disappointment, we take comfort in knowing that we gave it our all and had an unforgettable experience competing against some of the best teams in Europe. We will use this setback as motivation to come back stronger in September for the final event in Kiel.
Last week I was training on the 49er with my crewmate, Philip, in sunny Imperia, basking in the warm sunshine. Despite the idyllic surroundings, we were met with challenging conditions that put our skills to the test, as we struggled with powerful waves caused by the Mistral.
The boat felt like a crazy horse, and we had to summon all our expertise to keep it under control. Although the wind was not too strong, the waves made it feel more like a roller coaster than a smooth sailing experience. Despite the challenge, it was very enjoyable, and we learned so much from it.
Our efforts paid off, and by the end of the weekend, we felt a significant improvement in our boat handling skills. Our coach, Agostino, aptly put it, "One day in these conditions is like a week of training on calm waters of Lake Garda." And indeed, we felt that way.
As Sunday approached, we packed up our boat onto our trailer in anticipation of our journey back home to Zurich. Since I don't have a driver's license, my crewmate Philip bravely took on the task of driving for the entire eleven-hour journey. We set off at 6 PM and arrived at half-past five in the morning, leaving us with very little time to sleep before having to attend school. Needless to say, the lack of sleep made it quite challenging to focus during classes that day.
All in all, it was a remarkable experience, and we are excited to build on our progress in the coming weeks, with our sights set on the stunning Lake Como.
Also big props to Philip for being such a beast and driving for eleven hours. Sometimes I wonder how he does it.
Surfing the waves of Monaco bay
Marco, Dionysios, my father and I sailed the first regatta of the J/70 Monaco winter series last weekend.
Monaco bay is know for big swell but very little wind, two observations we can testify for ourselves.
NOT THIS TIME. Day one 25 knots average wind and HUGE waves. We have had tramontana wind, which, so we heard from the locals is a one a year event in Monaco. It builds in the Pyrénées and is quite forceful indeed.
There was one race on day one, four on Saturday and three on Sunday. We have had major speed issues for which the excellent starts could not compensate. We finished 15th of 25 which is not what we expected.
Anyway, the hospitality was great as always and surfing the waves was absolutely worth the trip.
Photo credits: Mesi, Yacht Club de Monaco.
2nd at national J/70 regatta in Zurich
My brother Niklas, SC Stäfa youth team Nicholas Kubat and Aline Bourquin, came in third at the final national J/70 regatta in Zurich. Nice winds in Zurich, to our own surprise.
There are no photos but at least a ranking - as last weekend one position behind Massimo (and my youth idol Stephan Zurfluh):
3rd at Yngling regatta in Thun
My very first sail coach Marco and I sailed a Yngling regatta in Thun. Yes, Yngling. Perhaps not the most exciting boat but the people in the class are super nice and they invited non-Yngling sailors to come to Thun.
Thun delivered - again. Very nice winds on day 1, too much wind the regatta committee believed, possibly worried about us non-Yngling sailors to break the Yngling class provided boats.
We went out later in the afternoon with Yves on board, an old friend from optimist who could unfortunately not make it on Sunday.
Our boat SUI464 got rid of its vang in the first race which but main sail trimming, well, challenging.
Anyway, we ended up 3rd and delivered the CHF 200 check we got from the class to our club, SC Stäfa.
Thuner Yachtclub again aced hospitality, thank you very much!
Swiss Sailing League Super League 2023!
Our win in Davos and our second place in Thun along with the two eight places in Zurich and Brunnen mean that we'll be starting to Swiss Sailing League Super League (first league) in 2023.
Congrats to us: Sabine Ultsch, Marco Bergamin, Simon Comtesse, Ulrich Kaiser, Niklas Kaiser and big thanks to our club for the support!
We came in second at the last regatta of Swiss Sailing League's Challenge League (2nd league) two weeks ago in Thun.
Our sailing club, Segelclub Stäfa, was represented by me on the helm, my brother Niklas, my father and another Simon.
We were on par with another club after day one and led the fleet. Day 2 and day 3 did not go so well so ended up second overall.
For once, Lake Thun delivered and we've had really nice sailing conditions and could even plane a few times.
Jürg von Allmen luckily passed bye on his home lake to shoot some great pics of us in race mode.
3rd at Swiss Sailing League Youth Cup
My brother Niklas, Carlos Biber and Nico Kubat have sailed the Swiss Sailing League Youth Cup 2022 early September. We ended up 3rd after the very impressive Obenhofeners and Villeneuve.
Winds were zurichseeshifty and occassionally totally random but overall it was much better than expected.
Too bad that the local Zürichseecup was held the exact same weekend.
Big thanks to our sailing club for the financial support!
13th at Swiss J70 Championships
I have sailed the Swiss J70 championships in Kreuzlingen with my first sail coach Marco Bergamin and my father on their J70. Yes, J70ies are usually sailed by four but our fourth man got Covid again so we ended up being the only three men team in the fleet of 35.
We ended up 13th in a pretty competitive fleet with teams from Germany, Austria and of course Switzerland. The wind was mostly super light and shifty except for one race where the traveller was all the way down and the backstay fully tight with twelve knots and a crew weight of 190.
Our best race was a third but we also had really bad races and a lot of seaweed under the keel and under the rudder. We should have flown away downwind but we barely ever did. We ended up 13th overall. Not too bad but I think top 10 would and should have been possible.
My personal highlight was a protest meeting where Olympic champion, Olympic silver medalist and five times 470 world champion was a witness for me (and we won the protest). Big thanks to him and Sophie Mosegaard!
The hospitality at the host club Yacht Club Kreuzlingen was amazing as usual. The club really did a lot to compensate for the mediocre wind conditions.
Coming up next is the J70 Youth Cup to be sailed on yet another lake well known to be very light wind.
J/70 Challenge League win in Davos
My brother Niklas and I along with two others from our sailing club who do not sail J/70 won the third act of Swiss Challenge Leauge Challenge League (2nd league) in Davos over the weekend.
The last time I was in Davos was for the national optimist camp back in 2016 - which I also won ;-).
4th at first 49er regatta
After Nik and I had trained quite a bit on Lago di Como we felt ready for our first regatta, a regional regatta in Bellano, just across Gravedona where we have our base camp. I guess because the Youth Worlds were to be held in the same waters the regatta was well attended (and even better photograph, see below).
We also had a coach the week before the regatta and during the regatta, Matteo Raveglia, from whom we learned a lot.
Well, the regatta went well and we came in 4th. We also got lots of great photos from Matteo Garrone, grazie mille*
J/70 Italian Cup in Rimini
I have sailed the J/70 Italian Cup in Rimini last weekend with my brother Niklas as well as my former optimist sailcoach Marco (who now co-owns the boat joint with my father and another guy) and his friend Dionysios (who now also is my friend).
Wind was good. Swell was big. Fleet was *very* strong. Our starts were OK but not great. Combining that with pointing a tiny bit lower and being a tiny bit slower got us on a 22nd place overall out of 30 and an 8th among the 14 Corinthians (amateurs). In contrast to Monaco where we did very well, our sail trim has not been optimal, especially on the first day where we forgot that we had shortened the shroud screws to be able to fully unpower the boat in strong wind and hence had way too much rig tension for the light wind conditions. A stupid and costly mistake. Another costly and equally stupid mistake was that we confused to which crane to head to get the boat out of the water which in cooperation with other issues led to us arriving at 4am Monday morning.
On the upside we sealed a 9th in one of the races which made us very happy and might indicate some potential.
We also got a very nice photo of ours from Andrea Lelli.
Coming up next is a national regatta in Neuchatel on the J/70 at the end of the month.
Pentecost 49er sailing in Gravedona
Nik and I went to Gravedona over Pentecost, this time joined by my brother Niklas and our former #SSTR5 team mate Ben. It was Niklas' first day on the 49er and Bens seventh. They spend about eight hours fixing the boat and it seemed they had a pretty good time:
Easter 49er sailing in Gravedona
Nik and I have been out sailing our new 49er in Gravedona over Easter and Pentecost. We were joined by Ben and my brother Niklas over Pentecost and we also met other 49er sailors from Italy on the water and in the club in Gravedona, AVAL Gravedona, where we our boat will be stored until the 49er Youth Worlds at the same spot.
Big shoutout to @avalcdv for the amazing hospitality!!!
We are presently without coach so the video we made are based on my father filming us with his laser and my brother filming us through binoculars. There is room for photo footage improvement *and*boat handling.
Since Nik is very busy with his high school finals (I am quite busy, too, actually) I have been out sailing with Niklas for yet another weekend and we will keep doing that until Nik is back for good.
April 10th, 2022
We've sail the 38th Primo Cup in Monaco which is part of Monaco Winter Series. This time with Dionysios who had been on board of our J/70 before, a junior Fabrice from my club SC Stäfa and my father.
We did very well, ending up 13th in a fleet that allegedly counted 13 Olympic medals, second Swiss and 4th among the Corinthians (the amateurs).
Top mark rounding with the Olympians, overtaking five of them downwind and coming in 6th.
We were expecting the usual Monaco super light winds and super light breeze but no, these conditions we only had one day. We've had very nice wind overall.
Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman
Nik and I are now back from the Youth Worlds. It’s been a great experience and yes, I can see why some people call it the “Youth Olympic Games”.
The opening and the closing ceremonies were really a bit like the real Olympics, even the sultan of Oman visited the closing ceremony. We’ve heard the national anthems, saw the flags of the 59 participating countries… I was very impressed.
Our own sailing performance was much less impressive. We never really figured out the wind patterns in the Gulf of Oman. We’ve had the expected light wind but it was super shifty and with occasional “lifts” that would push one team forward but not the team five meters away. Of course, the wind was the same for all sailors and some figured out how to read the wind patterns better than others. Our German friends really aced that. We had beaten then at the 420 Europeans by six places but this time they have been ahead of all and became World Champions, big congrats!
Big congrats also to our Swiss team members Anja who won silver in the ILCA6 women’s fleet as well as Axel and Noemie who won bronze in the Nacra 15!
Oman 2021 has been a great experience and I was super happy that it all worked out despite Covid, the bumpy selection process and the problems getting free from school. I just wished we had sailed better in these difficult conditions.
As a small remedy we got some nice pics shot by Mark Lloyd (@lloydImages) and Sander van der Borch @sandervanderborch.photography; ; https://omansailgallery.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/2021-Youth-Sailing-World-Championships-presented-by-Hempel/C0000K1HJcK8yQEE).
Selected to Swiss Sailing Youth Team
Nik and I were again selected into Swiss Sailing Youth Team, the highest support category in junior sailing in Switzerland.
2022 will be the transition year into the 49er and we are very much looking forward to it,
Nik and I were selected to represent Switzerland at the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships in Mussanah, Oman. We are *very* proud and grateful!
I am very grateful for all the support I received throughout the years from my Club SC Stäfa, my region Swiss Sailing Team Region 5, Swiss Sailing Team and our super coach Simone Malagugini.
420 ==> 49er
Nik and I have been trying our new boat class during fall vacation. We've had perfect conditions with 8-10 knots and flat water. Plus two excellent coaches. A great start into the 49er!
Main learnings for me: (1) figuring out the stuff with the trapeze is not easy and (ii) the crew needs to be a machine and I need to become more of a machine myself. For now, we'll stay light for max performance at the 420 World Sailing Worlds in Oman (selection pending).
Youth Worlds (?) training in Riva del Garda
We’ve had an excellent week with excellent wind at Lake Garda. Just our conditions. We really enjoyed it and feel well prepared for the World Sailing Worlds in Oman before Christmas - if we actually will be selected. We will sail two two more regattas in Italy before hopefully taking off.
This camp was joint with sailors from our region, around 100 junior sailors in Optimist, 420, 29er and Laser. A monster camp and kudos to Reinhard Rigling and Jaro Kleisner for getting it organized!!
Swiss Sailing League Neuchatel and Spiez
My brother Niklas and I, along with more junior members of my club (and our not so junior father) represented our club at two events of Swiss Sailing League. There was close to no wind in Spiez but we had to sail anyway which sent us to 8th place. There was excellent wind on day 2 in Neuchatel where we sailed three bullets, a 3rd and a 2nd place. There was very little wind on day 3 where we did really badly. On day 1 my brother helmed in lightwind conditions (I couldn’t sail due to school), reaching two fifths and a first place in races of six boats. We ended up 5th in Neuchatel and 6th overall in Swiss Sailing League Challenge League (second of three leagues) which means we will remain in Challenge League in 2022.
Two national regattas
We’ve sailed two national regattas in Switzerland one with very little, another with essentially no wind. Not our favorite conditions as we are no longer light. We ended up third place at both events but at least there are a few ultra lightwind photos.
Learning to fly
Our coach Simone Malagugini taught us to fly. All of use took off immediately. Lots of fun at Lake Como.
Youth Cup 2021
We’ve sailed the Swiss Sailing League Youth Cup on Lake Thun over the summer holidays. The wind conditions were… well, even worse than at the 420 Europeans and 420 Worlds. I have been sailing with my brother Niklas and two other juniors from my club, SC Stäfa. The locals from Regattaclub Oberhofen and Thunersee Yachtclub really aced it and distanced the rest of the fleet. We ended up fifth place, not really what we were hoping for. Of course, we didn’t train together at all.
Anyway, felixklingpictures.com shot some very nice pics (direct link: https://felixklingpictures.com/portfolio/2021-swiss-sailing-league-youth-cup/).
Our coach Simone promised us 20 knots seabreeze every single day during the Europeans in Formia. Wel,, that did not age so well. We've again had super light wind and it was even hotter (which is why there was no seabreeze in the first place).
No single day with plus eights knots. Not ideal for a heavy team like us.
Not ideal to start with a UDF either. That dragged us down quite a bit since we subsequently had to be a lot more careful not to collect more of these three letters.
Taking this all into consideration we did pretty well. 18th overall and 5th U18 team. I have been the best German sailor atthe Europeans but I think Germany only sent the second best sailors.
Ironically, there were even more teams at the Europeans than at the Worlds and the overseas teams participated in both regattas.
We again were the by very far best Swiss (2nd Swiss ranked 44) which I means that we will be representing Switzerland at the World Sailing World Championships in Oman before Christmas.puts us way ahead in the race for selection for the World Sailing championships before Christmas.
No photos of us or of anybody, essentially. There's only a screenshot of our 7th place in the gold fleet.
Next stop: J/70 Youth Cup in Oberhofen.
My name is Simon Kaiser and I simply love sailing.