I must admit that before the beginning of the season, we had significant concerns about our upcoming performance. We had barely managed to secure a promotion to the next league, finishing third in our previous season, which left us feeling quite apprehensive. The Swiss Sailing Super League is the strongest Sailing League in the world, featuring ex-Olympians and some of my childhood idols as competitors.
The season began rather uneventfully in Ascona, where only two races were raced. We finished in fifth place overall. While it was a decent result, it didn't provide a clear picture of our potential as we hadn't truly tested ourselves.
However, our visit to Brunnen marked a turning point. We finished fifth while sailing very well. After that event we realized that we were competitive and in the running for the coveted spots in the Sailing Champions League.
We proceeded to Kreuzlingen, known for its unpredictable conditions with winds ranging from near calm to 25 knots and erratic wind shifts. We could read those shifts well, resulting in a very strong third-place finish.
Now, we find ourselves in fourth position overall, momentarily securing a spot in the Sailing Champions League.
One final event was ahead in order to secure our spot: SSL Final Neuchatel.
Sadly we started the regatta poorly, making many stupid mistakes and to our misfortune, we couldn't correct our mistakes in the coming days due to lack of wind.
We finished the event in 8th position, which caused us to slip down to fifth place in the overall ranking. We missed the spot in the Sailing Champions League by a single point, which was particularly painful. Just one point separated us from the team ahead, and it was agonizing to realize that we only needed to do the bare minimum to secure it. But that's sailing; at this high level, there are certain mistakes that simply can't be corrected.
Well that was the season. Overall very good, it is just a pity that we couldnt finish on high note. But considering our initial concerns of relegation to our journey to a fifth place finish, i think its safe to label it as a succesfull season.
EDIT: Actually, we did finish on a high note. We won the annual SLL Swiss Cup in La Neuville:))
Following our strong performance in Vilamoura, where we secured a second-place finish, we earned our club a coveted spot in the Youth Sailing Champions League Final in Kiel.
Back in 2019, during an interview with the local news station, we were all posed the same question: What was our ultimate goal? The answer was the same among us – winning the Sailing Champions League.
It might have elicited laughter, even from the interviewer, considering our humble fifth position nationally and not-so-stellar sailing performance at the time. But that's who we were, and that's who we still are: unapologetically ambitious, never letting our sailing performance dictate our aspirations.
Fast forward to 2023, and we find ourselves gearing up to compete against the very best at the Sailing Champions League Final.
But even before the event began, we faced a significant challenge – we didn't have enough money to make the trip to Kiel. Our expenses in Vilamoura had taken a big chunk out of our wallets, making attending the final seem problematic. Determined to make it happen, we started a crowdfunding campaign. It was undeniably a lot of effort, but every moment proved its worth. Without the generus support of our backers, we wouldn't have made it, and we're incredibly thankful to them.
With the necessary funding secured, we set sail for Kiel. We started the event cautiously, heeding my old coaches advice: "You cannot win the regatta on the first day, but you can certainly lose it." Taking this wisdom to heart, we completed the qualifying series in third place – solid but knowing we had more to offer. Our focus shifted to the final, where the first team with two wins would claim the event. Additionally, the team that triumphed in the Qualifier, in our case, the Bodensee Yacht Club Überlingen, began the final with one win already under their belt.
Our start in the first race was promising, as we claimed the lead right off the committee boat. Opting to tack out to the right-hand side, where we observed gusts of wind descending, initially seemed like a wise choice. However, it soon became clear that this was not the best decision, as the Regatta Club Oberhofen (RCO) benefited from a strong left shift at the top mark and rounded it just ahead of us. We engaged in a fierce battle over the course of two laps but couldn't quite gain the upper hand, ultimately finishing in second place. While it was a commendable result, securing a win was paramount, as it would have put us one step closer to winning the championship.
The second race presented its own set of challenges. We struggled with our speed right from the start and found it difficult to make up ground, allowing the team from Wolfgangsee in Austria to clinch the race victory. At this point, every team in the final had a race win to their name, except for us. If we don’t win this next race it’s over.
At the start, all teams were neck and neck, rounding the top mark closely together. We made a strategic decision to tack left on the second upwind leg, capitalizing on a significant left shift. This move propelled us to lead at the second top mark, with all teams trailing closely behind. However, after hoisting the gennacker, Niklas, my brother and gennaker trimmer, spotted a sizable hole in it – not an ideal situation when you need to win with top-notch teams chasing you. Nevertheless, we remained composed and secured a hard-fought victory. In the finish line video, you'll see both my brother and me raising our hands, which might seem like a celebration, but in reality, we were signaling for the boatman, responsible for addressing any boat damages. Although this win was crucial, we were already focusing on the next race.
With one victory secured, every team on the field had claimed a win of their own. The significance of the upcoming race was huge, for it would determine the winner of the youth sailing championsleague. Time was of the essence, leaving us with little opportunity to bask in our initial triumph, as our first priority was to quickly replace the damaged gennaker. Once we had our equipment in order, we made the strategic choice to stick to the right-hand side of the course. This decision initially placed us in the third position as we rounded the top mark. Our team was in hot pursuit, eagerly searching for any gusts of wind or shifts in the breeze that could propel us forward and help us catch up to the leaders, Regatta Club Oberhofen. In a daring move, we attempted to tack to the opposite side of the course, hoping to secure a last-minute victory. Unfortunately, our efforts didn't bear fruit, and we ultimately crossed the finish line in third place. This result mirrored our overall performance in the competition, with Bodenseeyachtclub Überlingen just ahead of us. The ultimate victory went to Regatta Club Oberhofen, who undoubtedly deserved their championship win.
The team was a bit flustered, knowing that anything could have happened in that last race. On the other hand, we had secured a medal for our Hometown Club and the title of the third-best Youth Team in the world. Our feelings were mixed, but we can all be proud of what we achieved and grateful for the experience. Even now, I get goosebumps when I think about that one race win in the final. However, there's also a hint of regret for not winning that last race. This championship, especially the final four, is something I'll never forget and will certainly be one of the highlights of my career.
I'd like to thank our supporters once again for contributing to our crowdfunding campaign, making it possible for us to win a medal for our beloved club and create unforgettable memories. And of course not to forget my amazing team: Thank you Nico aka Mr Gennacker drop, aka the fastest gennacker setter in the wild west. Thank you Carlos aka Mr Hardest oakleys, aka the best jib trimmer in the wild west. Thank you Niklas aka Mr Kaiser 1., aka the best trimmer and brother in the wild west.
Finish line Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCyv-8dG52c
During the past few days, I had the opportunity to participate in the Alinghi Redbull Racing Qualifier held in Brunnen. Alongside 20 other talented competitors, my aim was to secure a spot in the Youth Americas Cup 2024 in Barcelona.
Our sailing adventure revolved around the magnificent 69F boats, which are full carbon foiling monohulls. These Boats are like F1 cars on water, capable of reaching speeds of up to approximately 35 knots or 64 km/h. Needless to say, sailing these boats provided an absolute thrill and left me with unforgettable memories.
In addition to the sailing competitions, we had a busy schedule that included photo shoots, interviews, and a fitness test. As part of the event, we were fortunate enough to experience the AC40 on a simulator, further enhancing our understanding of high-performance sailing.
One of the highlights of the event was reconnecting with old sailor friends and engaging in friendly competition. Given that our team was named Alinghi REDBULL Racing, we were fortunate enough to enjoy complimentary Red Bulls throughout the event. While I couldn't resist taking advantage of the offer, I'll be mindful of my Red Bull consumption moving forward.
Thank you Alinghi Red Bull Racing for a fantastic event and thank you Loris von Siebenthal for the great photos!
This weekend, I was at the Youth European Championship in Versoix, sailing on Lake Geneva. As Swiss champions, our expectations were high, especially since the event was exclusively comprised of Swiss teams. The conditions were pretty good, and I remeber expressing my hopes for strong winds to my crew. We felt confident in such conditions, drawing from our experience in Vilamoura. Luckily, Lac Léman delivered, providing us with winds ranging between 4-22 knots.
However, despite our initial optimism, this weekend didn't unfold as we had anticipated. We made some poor tactical decisions and encountered significant trouble with the jury (see photos😊). Consequently, we had to make penalty turns, resulting in additional points against us. Despite these challenges, we managed to secure the second position, finishing just behind Regatta Club Oberhofen. Throughout the competition we had many intense battles with them, but unfortunately we didn't come out on top.
Overall, the experience was a mix of ups and downs, but it served as a valuable lesson for us. Next week we will come back stronger in Brunnen for the second Act of the Swiss Sailing Super League.
Dear friends and supporters
I'm thrilled to announce our crowdfunding project! Join us in our quest to compete with the very best at the Sailing Championsleague Final. Every contribution counts.
Please visit the following link for more information and to contribute:
Thank you for your support!
I had the chance to sail the J70 in Rimini, and we were really looking forward to it after having a blast there last year under the sunny skies. But this time, things didn't quite go as planned. We got hit with a lot of rain and thunder, which put a damper on our expectations. Luckily, we still had some decent wind to work with.
Our sailing adventure had its ups and downs. The ups were when we managed to break into the top five at the top mark. It felt awesome being up there with the best. However, our excitement didn't last long because we made some stupid mistakes that cost us dearly. It's crazy how competitive the J70 class is compared to other classes. One small slip-up and you can kiss goodbye to ten precious positions.
There's this one race that sticks out in my mind. We had an amazing start, leading the pack on the committee side. We made a smart move, caught a favorable shift, and held onto our lead all the way to the top mark. But then at the gate we accidentally grazed the mark while sitting in second place. We had to do a frustrating 360-degree penalty turn, and our upwind sailing afterward was far from stellar. We ended up finishing a disappointing 18th in that race. It was super frustrating, to say the least.
Despite the setbacks, though, I had a blast sailing in Rimini. It's always a learning experience, and I definitely learned a lot from this trip.
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.
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.
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):
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 ;-).
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*
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.
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
My name is Simon Kaiser and I simply love sailing.