Dear Wilfried, thank you in advance for taking the time to answer a few questions. When and how did you start sailing?
During my studies in Kiel in the 80s I treated myself with a sailing course, though I only owned my first boot, a beach catamaran, with which I still sail the Baltic Sea until today, at a later time. In June 1998 I was invited on the occasion of a William Fife Anniversary regatta in Scotland aboard the Moonbeam. Hence, my first encounter with classical yachts started right away in the royal class. Shortly after I met a fleet of classical yachts on my catamaran in front of my home Laboe, which was about to sail their annual regatta. The year after that I took part myself in the regatta with my own yacht, the eight metre Windsbraut.
You have been enriching the Kieler Week for more than 30 years. What else was there in 2016 for you? What are you looking forward to the most during that week?
The Kieler Week has been a special event to me since I was a student, because during this week Kiel turns into the metropolis of sailing. In 35 years I have never missed a single one. Everything happens around the firth and the bright nights around the summer solstice are indescribably beautiful. It is known that buildings, people and events worldwide appear different when they are close to the sea- whether it is Amsterdam, Singapore, Sydney, or New York. Still, you can impossibly dive into that as deep and become a part of it as you can do in Kiel during the Kieler Week. Since a few years, the media attention is growing more and more due to the new techniques with which the viewer can almost take part in the races himself. The sponsors AUDI and SAP have immensely contributed in raising the event technically to a top level.
In 1987 you founded ePages; the Trivia GmbH in 2010. How do eCommerce and sailing combine with each other?
Due to the success of ePages I was able to afford a relatively expensive hobby. At some point I noticed, how sailing cooperates with entrepreneurship and team work and that the acquired knowledge of one field can be applied to the other fields as well in order to improve in these. With this insight, the idea to offer this to other companies has risen and in 2010 we founded the Trivia GmbH as an event- and charter business. It is only a small company, but our clients are very interested most of the time and in turns this lead us to new contacts which helped me as an entrepreneur with ePages. And that is where the circle closes.
Can you shortly explain what the Trivia GmbH does?
The Trivia GmbH manages classical yachts by taking care of the maintenance and fostering process of the yachts and in turns the yachts will be offered for chartering. Our clients are regatta crews, which charter the yachts for a series, as well as enterprises, that operate as an incentive or charter yachts within management training courses with a smaller crew for a one-day-event in Kiel. In these cases we are sailing match races, meaning boat against boot, most of the time.
The Trivia and Cintra are your own yachts. Which one originated first: the fascination for boats or the sporting aspect, the sailing?
I may have started sporty with sailing catamarans, but the fascination for classical yachts obviously originated in the beginning from the optical elegance. Later on I learned that yachts are especially elegant, when they are racing yachts with a long overhang and low decks. As you can see, these are closely related to one another.
The interview was conducted by Sarah Schlifter.