As we approach the start of the Worlds in Annapolis in September, we will be introducing you to some of the sailors planning to compete. First up is Angela Stenger of Germany.
NAME: Angela Stenger
HOMETOWN: Munich, Germany
OCCUPATION/EMPLOYER: Align Technology, San Jose, California
CURRENT SAILING PARTNER: I have been sailing with Nicola Birkner for the last 10 years. Nici represented Germany at the Sydney Olymics in 470 class in 2000.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ATTENDED: Many!! My first time participating was in 1997 in Gilleleje, Denmark (however only in Pre-Worlds). I guess that was the event where I got kind of addicted to 505 World Championships and since then I have competed in all of them besides San Francisco. In 2000, I helped with the race management and in 2012 I served on the International Jury.
TOP FINISHES AT WORLDS: I guess our best result was in 2008 when we finished 23rd out of 123 teams in Palermo, Italy. Being by far the lightest team in the fleet, the conditions were perfect for us. Actually, we expect Annapolis to be somewhat similar. We are proud to have won the title of Female World Champion for two years in a row.
FAVORITE 505 SAILING MOMENT: There are soooo many of them. Since we are the only female team in the fleet that travels to Worlds in a regular manner, it´s not so much about final results as much as fighting the elements and every once in a while scare the rest of the fleet with top five placements. Last time, we scored a third in one of the races at Weymouth worlds. In Hamilton Island we won a race… however it was Pre-Worlds. We do like heavy conditions as well. I was proud that on the first day in Hyeres last year, lots of competitors decided to stay ashore due to the heavy winds, but we decided to give it a go and managed to get around the racecourse without capsizing, which even the big guys did not manage. And it’s an honor, if even World Champion crews come to us after racing saying: “ Girls, I don’t know how you manged this; I´m really tired and worn out!”
Also one of our favourite moments was coming back from racing in Port Elizabeth in South Africa and we were surrounded by two dozen dolphins, so close that I could almost touch them. Or to see the sea otters in Santa Cruz and the little shark in Hayling Island.
However the real best moments come when you arrive at Worlds and you have a chance to meet all your friends from all over the world. I´m blessed to have so many friends in many countries such as South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Finland, Australia and so many other countries. It is wonderful to have the chance not only to meet while racing, but also for skiing and hanging out together at other times during the year.
Q: How did you get into 505 sailing and how many years have you been involved now?
A: My parents got me on a sailboat for the first time when I was six weeks old, so I guess there was no other chance than to go sailing. I did Optimist and keelboats to learn racing. After I was sailing 470s for a while, my good friend got me into the class in the late 1980s. I have not stoped sailing the 505 since.
Q: What have you learned about the class/boat over the years?
A: We are constantly evolving our technique, trim and boat-handling. Just in the last week, on our first training at Lake Garda in Italy, we were working to improve these areas.
Q: What do you love about the 505 as a racing dinghy and the class as a whole?
A: It’s challenging in many ways. There is always a good development of new features, we can go around the world to great places to sail, and it’s quite competitive. Just a great boat to sail.
Q: Is there anything about the Annapolis 505 Worlds that appeals to you?
A: First of all – “Too old now to afford to miss a Worlds.” (That is not my quote, it comes from Pip Pearson!). Honestly, we expect that Annapolis will have very suitable conditions for lighter teams such as we are. Also, I have been fortunate to visit Annapolis a few years back and I really liked the club and the facilities there. I also had a chance to meet our principal race officer (Sandy Grosvenor) last year in Miami when we both were serving on the International Jury for the Sailing World Cup, so I know we can expect high performance race management, which is an important factor.
Q: Any thoughts about what you might do during your down time while in the Annapolis area?
A: We will enjoy Annapolis during the worlds and we plan to do a trip to North Carolina before the Worlds.
Q: In light of the father and daughter team in Australia not being allowed to compete in a 49er event, what are your thoughts about women racing with and against men?
A: The case you mentioned concerns Olympic racing and we are doing 505 racing on an amateur basis so we cannot compare. I can say nothing but the best about our male competitors. Usually they are very helpful and supportive, only sometimes a bit angry when we beat them. We would wish we had a bit more female competition!
Q: What 505 events, other than worlds, do you have on the schedule for this year?
A: We just got back from or first training event in Lake Garda, Italy. The first race will take place on a small lake in Germany which will serve as our last training before German Nationals in Berlin in May. After we will attend EuroCup in Lake Garda, do few smaller local events and finally go to Europeans to Warnemünde right before sending the boat to U.S.