Eberhard Magg (left) and Harald Thierer - Race Organisers © Photo by Brian Carlin / AWMRT
Langenargen, Germany (16 May): Eberhard Magg is a blur. The man who has been organiser of Match Race Germany since its inception 16 years ago, is putting the finishing touches to this now well refined event at Langenargen, on the shores of Lake Constance, close to the Magg family’s base of Friedrichshafen.
The event, the season opener for the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, is today Germany’s premier match race ahead of the more club orientated Berlin Match Race.
According to Magg, this year’s event is a further refinement over last year, providing better quality to the event’s main sponsors Porsche and subsidiary MHP, along with others such as Rolf Benz, Adidas, etc.
Competition between the skippers and teams competing is no less tough than previous years. In addition the eight Tour Card Holders competing at Match Race Germany are wild cards such as Polish match racing veteran and America’s Cup helmsman Karol Jablonski and top international Laser sailor Philipp Buhl.
“Philipp is one of the biggest talents we have in Germany,” says Magg. “I think that he is one of the few, like Marc Pickel or Tim Kroger , who could become a top professional sailor.”
Buhl was originally invited to compete at Match Race Germany after his team qualified in February for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. However following the death of Artemis Racing crewman Andrew Simpson last week, the managers of the German team have withdrawn their entry.
Germans like to spectate at sailing events. Up on the country’s Baltic coast, the annual Kieler Woche attracts larger crowds each year than probably any other sailing event in the world. Crowds are also typically substantial for Match Race Germany, visitors making their annual Whitsunday bank holiday pilgrimage to Langenargen for the regatta. There are much worse ways of spending a day than overlooking the magnificent Lake Constance, with the Alps on the opposite side of the lake.
There is also much to do or be seen shoreside. Magg points out that while they still have a ‘Bavarian evening’ on the Friday night, Match Race Germany offers alternative entertainment from the typical beer festivals on offer in his country. “This is a different story. There is different food, not just the red sausage with fries and there are nice places to spend your time. There are plenty of things to do for kids – Porsche is making a big effort here, with Porsche World. We saw queues longer than 100m for that last year.
“Sponsors can also present themselves, such MHP who are showing what their business is with model cars. Adidas has its new clothing brand on offer here and is selling it on site and there is a lot to do at the venue even if there is no sailing happening. And on top of that in the evenings we have free live entertainment.”
In addition to the public, Magg’s all-important corporate guests are descending by the coach load. “We have a lot of VIPs coming. Today we have 100 guests, who are politicians from the area. Three years ago we started an LTE project, like 4G - the best Internet you can have at the moment. The project is to supply an area with powerful Internet for businesses and hotels and for the end user. So everyone with a 4G mobile phone walking around here will have perfect Internet connection during the event. That’s come about partly through sponsorship from Vodafone. So we’ll be showcasing the technology to the politicians.”
On Friday Magg has one hundred ‘local entrepreneurs’ visiting the event to hold meetings while there are more big presences over the long weekend from Porsche clients and other sponsors.
In terms of the forecast this week, Magg reckons that today (Thursday) there will be breeze on Lake Constance thanks to a depression over Italy. However he reckons that for the rest of the regatta conditions could be light. “These are the conditions where patience is the key to success.”