Heiko Kroger - GER 1


 I've actually always been sailing, at least as long as I can remember. It all started in the Opti, then the laser came for almost 20 years and then I got a call from Dietmar Budwill who wanted to make sailing for the handicapped more palatable for me. I??? “Not my thing,” was the reply. After all, I was successful in the laser and it all sounded like relegation from the Champions League to the “old men” class. “But for the first time gives real medals at the Paralympics in Sydney”, attracted Dietmar. Then suddenly I was a sonar helmsman and had to find out that the old men's league was spanking my butt. The boys could sail quite well. The sonar wasn't my boat though. I found the 2.4mR better. The first boat was financed by the agency Hari.i.Punkt, whose owner (my buddy German Benk) I convinced me to buy at 03:45 a.m. in a bar in Kiel. The first boat came like a Revell kit. The hull, deck and bulkheads lay loosely on top of one another, there were no fittings and there were no assembly instructions. Through hundreds of phone calls with Bernd Zirkelbach in Berlin - he had a finished boat as a “sample” - the boat was actually ready for the regatta. Before the first regatta in Denmark, I quickly inhaled Rikard Bjurstöm's trim guide and then won all 6 races. Go then! So it was clear that the 2.4mR somehow suits me. Between then and now there are now 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 “handicapped boat class”. 

Today, almost everyone in the German sailing community knows that it 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 believe it will remain so for quite a while. 

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