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Jochen Schuemann - A Profile
The Alinghi crew is made up of some of the world's most talented sailors. Jochen Schuemann is a triple medal winning Olympian, and example of the wealth of sailing talent in the team.
We took a few brief moments out of his busy schedule to find out a little more about him.
Jochen Schuemann is Alinghi's Strategist. He works at the back of the boat with Brad Butterworth, tactician, Ernesto Bertarelli, navigator and Skipper, Russell Coutts. Jochen is a critical part of the Alinghi afterguard.
He is married to Cordula and has two children. Jochen has been sailing since he was 12 and since then has been winning on the water in a wide variety of different classes.
He is a triple Olympic Gold Medalist, winning the Finn Class at Montreal in 1976 before moving to the Solings, where he also won gold in Korea in 1988 and in Savannah, USA in 1996. Most recently he won Silver at the Sydney Games in 2000.
Jochen first became involved with the America's Cup in 1993 when he was part of the German Daimler Benz funded AeroSail project. In 2000 he was appointed Sporting Director and helmsman of the Swiss Fast 2000 syndicate which proved to be a useful stepping-stone to the Alinghi project.
He is internationally respected and has used his vast knowledge and skill in match racing to help fine turn the Alinghi crew.
He took a few moments out of his hectic America's Cup preparation to answer a few quick questions.
Q: How old are you?
JS: I'm 48 years old.
Q: How long will you continue to compete?
JS: I'll continue as long as I am competitive. That's what it is about. When you're not competitive, you'd better step back. But I still have a lot to learn and a lot of new challenges ahead of me.
Q: What, for you is the attraction of sailing?
JS: Sailing is a competitive sport using high technology, and there are a lot of natural, environmental factors that make the sport quite attractive.
Q: Do any other members of your family compete?
JS: My older brother was a competitive rower. My young nephew is sailing Optimists (dinghies) now. Everyone is very sporty in my family, they're also into skiing and cycling.
Q: Do you consider it to be a dangerous sport?
JS: Not at all. It can be dangerous only if you don't respect the forces of nature. It comes down to common sense.
Q: What are the advantages of your sport?
JS: I wouldn't rate the advantages over other sports. Most athletes love their sport the most, that's why they do it. There are a lot of good reasons why people like what sport they do, so I don't think there is a ranking. The connection between different factors in sailing are very interesting; you have the technology, and you have the human element of working with a lot of people. For instance, we have sixteen sailors onboard the race boat, which is more than a soccer team. We also have the other half of the team running the second boat, so we have at least 32 sailors on the team plus the shore crew, management team, sailmakers, nutritionists and training team. Overall there are over 100 people in the team!
Q: And disadvantages?
JS: It takes a lot of hard work and you need a lot of skills to perform at top levels in sailing, but sailing is seen by many as a leisure sport. When you want to sail at the high end of the sport, with all the knowledge you need to run the technology and sail the boats, it's not a leisure sport. It's very professional.
Q: Tell me about your coach?
JS: My job with Alinghi, as the sailing team manager, is partly as coach.
Off the water our fitness training is managed by Xavier Jolis, a trainer who was responsible for aiding Michael Schumacher's recovery from the broken leg that threatened his career.
Q: Do I need to be a strong swimmer to race in the America's Cup?
JS: It definitely helps to be a strong swimmer, but I know plenty of sailors who aren't they prefer to be in a boat than in the water!
Q: Who has been your greatest influence or inspiration, and why?
JS: I have had a lot of positive influences in my career. There are a lot of athletes I look up to, who are not necessarily sailors. They have certain skills, behaviours, and attitudes that I have admired and tried to emulate in my career. My first coaches were very influential and they helped me to love the sport and I became a very keen sailor.
Q: Tell me about your training regime, in terms of what you have to do and how much time you spend training?
JS: While participating in an Americas Cup campaign, I start every day in the gym at 6:30 doing fitness training. For sailing, we have different meetings and discussions about what we learn and how to improve it. Then we sail for about 7 hours per day testing various manoeuvres and ensuring that we maximise our yacht. It unlikely that we'll leave the base before 10pm on an average day.
Q: If there was one piece of advice you would give to somebody considering taking up the sport, what would it be?
JS: My advice is that it is important to be focused on a certain goal. If you want to be competitive and a winner in your sport, you have to concentrate on your goals.
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