“Hubert, seriously, why have you bought a Mini? Why a Pogo 2? What is the big plan behind it all?”
Those must have been the questions I got asked most in the last two years. Yes, it was – for German standards – probably quite unusual to buy a boat and immediately hand it over to a young lady. And not for simply sailing, but rather for completing the Mini Transat. However, here are some more thoughts and lines behind all that.
What has caused those questions?
First, a brief introduction to the long story behind it.
At the beginning of 2016, I bought a Pogo 2. Lina Rixgens has then sailed her to become the first German woman to complete the Mini Transat. Right now, I am preparing mini doc for her next season, this time Baltic Sea instead of Atlantic.
So, I bought a boat, gave it away for two years, and quite understandably most people asked: Why?
The disappointing news first: There was no grand plan behind it, no masterplan for whatever.
What was it then, just an outcome of a minor (or a major) part of a midlife crisis?
Not really. It was the result of a longer thought process, a development of my sailing likes and dislikes.
Loving small boats and the open sea
You cannot have everything, I know that. I love small boats, love dinghy cruising. On quite a number of long weekends I have enjoyed the purity of sailing and living on dinghy cruisers. Be it a Hansajolle, a Varianta 18 or my old Gruben FAM Capriole. Not to mention one of the most fantastic cabin dinghy cruisers around, the P-boat / 15er Jollenkreuzer.
At the same time, I do not like the restrictions related to sailing in open waters with those small boats. I do not want to sail right next to a shore only, I like lots of water around me. For the longer distances, sailing with larger yachts was fine. However, I hated all the additional work and stuff that came with it.
A small, simple boat, capable of sailing the Baltic Sea (and maybe more) would be perfect.
I know, there are quite a few around and I did check out some of them. However, I still loved the dinghy sailing feeling of the smaller boats…
The first one to give me a taste of a possibly perfect combination was the Varianta 18. Dinghy-like, with keel, easy to handle. But… slightly larger, slightly more of a proper boat would be perfect.
And that’s when I stumbled upon the Classe Mini and the Pogo 2.
Classe Mini and Mini Transat – you’ve got to be nuts!
More or less immediately I fell in love with the design. To cut a long story short, the more I read about the Classe Mini, the more was I fascinated by it. Slowly my attention turned towards regattas – and the Mini Transat.
Wow, what an idea. To cross the Atlantic in a boat of that size. I started to research the potential costs for a Mini Transat campaign. Also, secretly, I started to calculate by when I would have enough money to actually run a campaign myself. And, of course, the kids needed to be old enough, so I could be away for a while.
And then I found a pdf in the web, of a young lady wanting to complete the Mini Transat… Lina.
Pogo 2 for two
At first, I simply followed Lina’s Mini Transat campaign, wrote a couple of articles about her. When she came to a point of make or break – either a boat now or never – I decided to go for it.
I wanted to own a boat again. The Mini seemed to me the perfect fit for my desire for a small boat with Ocean skills. So why not buy the boat two, three or four years earlier than planned, and let Lina have it for her campaign?
My own Mini Transat plans I had put to rest already. Don’t get me wrong – I’d still love to cross the Atlantic in my Pogo 2. But I’d happily do it whenever I am ready to go, not when a race plan tells me to go. (yes, I prefer doing things my own way…)
The rest is history. I bought a Pogo 2, Lina sailed it. She fulfilled her dream and completed the Mini Transat. Media coverage was amazing – e-media, newspapers, magazines, radio and tv stations talked about it continuously in the second half of 2017.
Lina is back and continuing with her medical studies. And I’ve got a boat. Fantastic 😉
How to sail a Pogo 2 – need to learn sailing again
mini doc is back from Martinique and waiting to get back into the water again.
Currently, I have a total of 14 sails (!) for that tiny boat (will need to sell some), plus lots of other technical and non-technical and sailing stuff. I am overwhelmed, sometimes wondering how all of that is supposed to become a proper sailing boat again. At the same time I am looking forward to the challenge of sailing mini doc properly.
I have now reached the point I wanted to be at: be the owner of a Pogo 2 and get out onto the water with her. That I have not sailed her for the last two years – that’s ok, it doesn’t matter now. It was worth it.
But now I need to learn a very different kind of sailing. And I am willing to give it a very good try.
The interview that should not have taken place
By the way, a funny little story to close this off. I got interviewed by “Europe’s largest sailing magazine”. They were wondering who and what was behind the boat sponsoring for Lina. They asked quite a few questions, mainly going in the direction as at the beginning of this article.
When I told the story, they were kind of disappointed.
No decade long sponsorship plan, no youth development plan, rather something “just like this”. In addition, I am not a member of a yacht club and don’t go to official happenings. I’ve never participated in any regattas, have not won any trophies. Also, I never was on any international or Olympic sailing team. I don’t have any connections into the German sailing and regatta world. And, finally, I am not a millionaire.
How could I do that, then? (how could I dare? That’s my interpretation).
This seems to be a NoGo here, or at least in some people’s minds. Since the interview, which of course did not get published, I cannot stop smiling when thinking of it. From my very brief glance at this “world” of sailing teams and sponsorship, there seems to be a fair bit of narrow-mindedness. Not my understanding of sailing as a way of living.
As you can imagine, I am just so glad that it was the Classe Mini which I happened to bump into. What I have experienced so far, this is an entirely different world.
What do you think?
Anyway, many words, small story only.
What do you think of the above?
Was this “project”, i.e. supporting Lina, crazier than sailing across the Atlantic in a Pogo 2 itself?
Have you done something similar as well (any kind of sports sponsorship)?
Can’t wait to hear your story!