The final of the Youth SAILING Champions League could not have been more exciting: After the four clubs qualified for the final races could all win one race each, the fifth race had to bring the decision. The young Swiss team of the RCO, which was considered to be the secret favorite, proved to have strong nerves and brought the coveted trophy to Switzerland for the first time.
What a finish on the inner fjord of Kiel! Numerous spectators on shore and in the livestream of wedotv followed with breathless suspense the last race of the four clubs that qualified for the final round of the Youth SAILING Champions League after three days.
After the sailors of Regattaclub Oberhofen won the first final race, the second point went to the Austrian team from Union Yacht-Club Wolfgangsee. In the third finish, the second Swiss team from Segelclub Staefa had the bow in front, and the fourth point went to the defending champions from Bodensee Yacht-Club Überlingen.
“Each of the teams had a point, the fifth race was match point,” said Anke Nowak, managing director of SCL. “What we experienced today was exciting sailing at the top level.” Even in the run-up to the Youth SAIING Champions League Final, the successful league manager had pegged the team from Oberhofen as title contenders.
“A heartbeat final right to the end! We are overjoyed that it finally worked out, even though we didn’t want to make it sooo exciting,” said Nick Zeltner, skipper of the five-man team from Oberhofen.
The junior teams from the European and Australian clubs showed perfect maneuvers with well-rehearsed teams in front of Kiel, impressive duels in front of the starting line and sophisticated small-area tactics. “It is striking that all four clubs qualified for the final races come from inland waters. The conditions in the last three days before Kiel with light to medium winds and little wave were ideal for the sailors who are used to the mountain lakes,” says Anke Nowak and adds, “The concept of the Youth SAILING Champions League stems from the idea of the league pyramid, in which new junior teams are always introduced to league sailing at an early stage, thus ensuring a consistently high quality of sailing competitions.“
Twenty-one teams from Europe and Australia qualified for the final of the Youth SAILING Champions League, which was held for the first time since 2019. Sailing took place on uniform keelboats of the J/70 type in the sailing league mode common in all countries with several flights, in which six to nine boats or teams always compete against each other on the water.
The junior teams of the participating clubs have qualified via the national junior leagues and the Youth SAILING Champions League Qualifier in Vilamoura, Portugal, in spring 2023. The junior teams compete in teams of four or five and are between 13 and 23 years old.