Germany’s top sailors come together for Hamburg debut
Fresh from taking gold in the Nacra 17 class at Kiel Week less than two weeks ago, 20 year-old Paul Kohlhoff, a rising star of German sailing, has joined forces with one of the country’s best known and most successful sailors, Roland Gaebler, to take on some of the world’s top sailing teams at the Extreme Sailing Series™, Act 5 Hamburg, presented by Land Rover.
Team Extreme Germany will boost the number of teams on the startline to nine as the international Series, which includes Olympic and World Champions, makes it debut in Hamburg, on the River Elbe 23-26 July.
Gaebler, a five-time Olympian with extensive experience in the high-performance Extreme 40, will be in the driving seat alongside his wife, long-time sailing partner and six-time Tornado World Champion Nahid Gaebler. Keeping it in the family, Kohlhoff, who is current under 21 Nacra17 European Champion, is joined by his brother and Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sailor Max (22), and their father, Peter, himself a European champion.
For Paul, who is from Bremen, northwest Germany, and is hoping to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, it is an opportunity he is grabbing with both hands.
“Roland is one of the big names in Germany sailing history and we are very pleased to sail with him and learn from this experience. He is the one of the real catamaran experts in Germany, which is a great opportunity for me as I am competing in the Nacra17 class and preparing for the next Games. Multihulls are the future of sailing. I know many of the world-class skippers that compete in the Extreme Sailing Series, including Roland and although I’ve never sailed with him before I hope that we will be able to meet everybody’s expectations. It will be tough, our experience as a team is limited so it will be difficult to compete with the really experienced guys, but we will give it our best shot.”
Lining up along side 40 of the world’s best sailors from up to 12 nations, the competition will be tough and the Gaebler/Kohlhoff combination will have their work cut out if they are going to take on Extreme 40 heavyweights The Wave, Muscat, SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Red Bull Sailing Team, who head to Germany at the top of the leaderboard, with just three points between them.
Hoping home advantage and experience will play in their favour, the Gaeblers were the first to sail an Extreme 40 on the River Elbe early this year, when the Land Rover Extreme 40 took part in the 836th Hamburg Port Anniversary in front of crowds of over a million spectators.
“It is going to be a great challenge as we only have two days training before the Act but we are ready for it,” explained Roland “The Elbe River racecourse is narrow and exciting in the current, it will be a great test for the sailors and will make a spectacle for the public – for sure the River will heat up when we hit the water.”
The Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5, Hamburg presented by Land Rover free to enter race village will be open to the public from the 24 July where spectators can experience the unique stadium racing meters from the shore in HafenCity and cheer on their local heroes, Team Extreme Germany.
Team Extreme Germany - Crew List
Roland Gaebler (GER) - Helm/skipper
Paul Kohlhoff (GER) - Tactician
Peter Kohlhoff (GER) - Main
Nahid Gaebler (DEN) - Headsail
Max Kohlhoff (GER) - Bow