I've always been sailing, at least since I can think. It started in the Opti, then the laser came for almost 20 years and then came the call from Dietmar Budwill, who wanted to make sailing with the handicap palatable to me. I??? "Not my thing," was the answer. After all, I was successful in the laser and it all sounded like going down from the Champions League to the "old men" circle class. "But for the first time there are real medals at the Paralympics in Sydney", enticed Dietmar. So I was suddenly a sonar helmsman and had to find that the old men's league spanked my butt. The boys could sail quite well. However, the sonar was not my boat. I found the 2.4mR better. The first boat was financed by the Hari.i.Punkt agency, whose owner (my buddy German Benk) convinced me to buy in a Kiel bar at 03:45 a.m. The first boat came like a Revell kit. Hull, deck and bulkheads lay loosely on top of each other, there were no fittings and there were no building instructions. Hundreds of calls to Bernd Zirkelbach in Berlin - he had a finished boat as a “sample” - made the boat actually ready for regatta. Before the first regatta in Denmark quickly inhaled the trim guide from Rikard Bjurstöm and then won all 6 races. Go then! It was clear that the 2.4mR somehow suits me. Between then and now there are 2 Paralympic medals (Gold Sydney, Silver London) and various other titles. At that time, the 2.4mR was not very common in Germany and was better known as the “disabled boat class”.
Today, almost everyone in the German sailing community has come to realize that this is a very technical and tactical boat and that there are many excellent sailors at the start - sailors with and without disabilities. The boat and the class have been my sailing home for 20 years now and I think it will remain so for quite a while.
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