Written by Jӧrn Domres, RS Aero Class Association in Germany.
How did Jӧrn get into RS Aero sailing?
My sailing friend Dirk Gramkow had already bought one of the first Aero 1327s and told me about it in 2015, he said that I should buy one too. At that time, I was still sailing keelboats and was 52 years old. Since there were no regattas in Germany yet, I dismissed the idea at the time. In 2016, I saw by chance that there was an International Class Association and that the first European Championship would be held at the Travemünder Woche. So, I called Christian Brandt (RS Dealership) and ordered an RS Aero 2 weeks before the Travemünder Woche. Up until that point, I had never sailed the dinghy, apart from a 470…
How did Jӧrn become involved in the RS Aero Class Association in Germany?
I was so enthusiastic that from then on, I took part in every regatta where RS Aero boats would be on the start line. I started a blog where I talk a lot about my training with the RS Aero. As a result, I have received many enquiries from interested sailors who would like to sail an Aero. Naturally, I was asked if I would like to create an RS Aero Class Association in Germany.
Since then, membership has doubled every year. Today there are already 67 members and we conduct a mixture of national and international training. Every year we have about 13-15 ranking regattas in our schedule and usually around 12-20 participants. I love the idea of being a pioneer for a fantastic cause. A national and international Aero-family has been created where everybody is a part of something that I think is great, and later we can all be proud of it and say, “I was there”.
How come the RS Aero class is doing so well in Germany?
The success in Germany is probably because I created solid foundations with the 5 regional chairman from the beginning: North, South, Central, East and West. Initially, it was very difficult because I had to travel many thousands of kilometres until something independent was established there. The positive response from members is what motivated and encouraged me to not give up and to develop new ideas. Our next big goal is to become a legitimate German Championship. To do this, 60 registered sailors must achieve at least 9 ratings in our ranking list in one year. We still have a long way to go, not only do we need more members who are willing to register their boat, but we also need to motivate many to participate in at least three or four regattas a year.
This coming season, I hope that we will be allowed to hold the RS Aero Cup at the Kieler Woche. This would considerably increase the recognition nationally and internationally. In the meantime, we have our second-class unification boat, GER 2332. With Peter Barton, we christened GER 1326 last year in Maccagno.
What does the future of the German RS Aero Class look like?
One of the projects I’m working on at the moment is the European ranking list. I was recently assigned an account for the International Class Association. We can now enter every National Championship in Europe. There will certainly be more than 250 participants on this ranking list, and I am curious to see who will win.
For myself, now 58 years old, I have probably reached my peak. However, I enjoy coaching and I am always on the lookout for new things in this field. I was lucky enough to meet a physicist and software developer who started dinghy sailing. We are currently working on a project where sailors and coaches can upload videos to a server that can be automatically read and analysed. I don’t want to reveal too much about it yet…