Lockdown Interviews - Jacek Noetzel POL

Here we now have the self-effacing 2017 Worlds organiser and one of the main driving forces behind the POL 'A' cat sailing scene, the always smiling, unless he's puffing - Jacek Noetzel.

Introduction

  • When and why did you start sailing for the first time?

I started sailing on the Optimist when I was 6 years old. In the marina I watched my older sister sail, the coach gave me a boat and I sailed. After watching the movie "Jaws" - my older friends smuggled me to the cinema - I was afraid to go to the baths for a long time and even go to the bathroom, even though there are no sharks in Poland!  Then there was Cadet, 470, Mistral One Design, Tornado, Exploder 20.

  • When did you first learn about "A" class cats?

One of the first sailors to sail the A-class in Poland was Marek Żebrowski. He persuaded me and let me sail on his boat. It was in 2007. I have fallen in love with this class since then. We started to go to the regattas and watch how the best A-class sailors sail, and what real equipment looks like. Good foreign equipment was unattainable for me, so I started to get involved in Polish constructors' projects. First it was Wingfox and since 2012 it has been cooperating with Jakub Kopyłowicz, who invented and successfully produces the Exploder brand. Inventing and testing equipment during this initiative time is very interesting.

 

Fitness and training.

  • What is your current fitness routine and do you have a special diet?

Sailing on the A-class is my only physical activity. At the beginning of the season it is very hard, but after two months of the season, I don't get tired too much and I can sail for a long time. I start my diet every Monday 

  • How often do you sail every month?

Unfortunately, less and less. 5 times a week.

  • Do you have any specific training regime?

I really enjoy speed tests. In Sopot on the horizon there are ships and often our training was just sailing to, say,  the red ship - starboard out and port back. We repeated this several times. Now young competitors prefer to do real training - and it brings them results.

  • Where did you learn racing tactics?

Sailing on the Optimist for 9 years, I had a very strict and dangerous coach. He taught me how to sail technically and the tactics. At briefings after races or training, most of my colleagues cried because they were facing punishment. I always laughed and then the coach said to me - "what are you grinning at with your crooked teeth" - and then I cried!  We didn't go to the West for regattas,  but we were Champions of Socialist countries. It was a very good team and many of them are still sailing.

  • Do you practice racing tactics during training?

During each session, I pay attention to the shifts and I try to use it. All the time I try to consciously sail and draw conclusions.

  • Do you focus on specific areas during training?

When I have someone to sail with,  we do speed tests, but when I am alone on the water, I practice tacks and starting maneuvers .

  • Did you find any technique that unlocked something while sailing?

I have a good feeling of how to foil downwind. If it blew stronger, I could sail much faster, but I don't do it anymore because it is too fast for me 

  • Do you have a regular sailing partner and what do they do with your sailing?

At the sailing club UKS Navigo Sopot  I have the best team you can imagine. I practiced with Marek - but he stayed on Classics. Then many sailors from the club learned to sail fast and well. With us in the club everyone will find a partner on their level. Often there are over a dozen A-class on the water during session. When I was in shape, I trained mainly with Tymo Bendyk, Dave Shaw, Kuba Surowiec, Maciej Żarnowski (we work together on fast sails Bryt Sails), Marcin Kamiński, Andrzej Senkus. They are all very committed and better than me.

Mindset

  • What do you like the most in A-class?

The coolest thing is that the A-class is so subtle. Sail and mast works cool together and responds to all adjustments. Foils work better and better, and it seems easier now. An important advantage is that the boat is light - which is important for your spine!  You can sail when you want and you don't have to date another crew hand. Alone a rudder, a sailor, a ship.

  • What was your best time to sail? (and if you feel strong enough, the worst!?)

I had the most control over the equipment on Optimist. I remember one regatta on a Tornado in Garda, where we did well and at the A-class European Championships in Barcelona in 2013, where the Exploders performed very well and we took very good places.

  • If something goes wrong in the race, how do you start to deal with it mentally?

If something goes wrong on the water, I can think about my wife and dog. It's getting better and I try to go on sailing for pleasure.

General interest

  • What would you sail if the cats "A" were suddenly banned?

I would become a cosmonaut.

  • What improvements do you think could be made in boats, and what direction do you think both divisions should take?

In my opinion, there should be one Open division that should go towards ease and safety of foil sailing.

  • Where is the best place where you have ever sailed your "A" cat?

For me the best spot is in Sopot. All conditions of wind and waves are here. There are no diagrams. Waves, flat - you just choose a colour.

  • Who are your heroes and sailing influences?

I am glad that outstanding sailors from the Olympic Games and Americas Cup sail on the A-class. Sailing with them along one course gives me motivation to act. On the Tornado and A-class, Landy was my role model. Now Glenn Ashby.

  • What advice could you give an average sailor with cat "A"?

This is a very nice boat that can, of course, be practise throughout your life at different levels. You need to sail a lot to learn to sail well, but it is very pleasant and very developing of your general sailing knowledge.   And if possible sail on everything you can.  Looking at the best in the World, you can see that they sail in many classes, have enormous knowledge and achieve top results.