Hanse Boat Race 2014

Hanse Boat Race 2014: Jacobs University v HSBA – as it happened

Jacobs fought hard, but HSBA wins the 2014 race, following a change in the race start of the men’s eight due to the extremely unfavorable weather conditions on the Hamburg Außenalster. The victorious Jacobs women’s double prove to be the pride and joy of the Jacobs rowing team.


Hamburg, the 4th of May 2014 – The 7th time that Jacobs University took on the HSBA in a race upstream along the Außenalster. The first race took place in 2008 and the Jacobs men’s eight won three of the past six races against the HSBA. The HSBA in turn won the 7th ErgoCup preceding the boat race earlier in February, making the Jacobs men’s crew the underdogs of 2014’s Hanse Boat Race. Jacobs at the time of the 2014 race shaded the head-to-head in the women’s quad race by 5 wins to 1. The Jacobs women’s quad had previously triumphed over their HSBA rivals during the ErgoCup by defeating them with a hefty lead of 11 seconds.

The entire Jacobs Rowing Team had since then trained hard in preparation for the crowing event of their season. As years of rowing experience have shown anything can happen on the storied stretch of water, extending just over two kilometers for the men, respectively 800 meters for the women on the Außenalster. The races were to get underway at 18 o’clock. It was on!

Conditions on the river have played their part in this race in the past. Once again on this race day, high winds and choppy waves were looking like they may become a problem in the latter stages. The Hanse boat race day seems to have such gloomy faith with not many races played out against a backdrop of a shimmering, clear blue Außenalster.

The crews were out warming up and Jacobs’s coach Lars Schröder and HSBA’s coach Tim Schönberg were about to charter a speedboat to the races’ start. Incidentally, the rowers train for 1.5 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 7 straight months, to prepare for this. For some of the Jacobs rowers it had been merely seven months after the first time sitting in a rowing boat and doing their very first stokes on the river Lesum in Bremen.


four_crew_Hanse_Boat_Race_14The first race of the day, the coxed men’s four, with Jacobs oarsmen Alexandru Mihai, Keno Tetzlaff, Francisco Diaz and Felix Englert would turn out to be the most eventful race on the Außenalster that day. The four Jacobs rowers fought with a lot of effort in what was a storm of interruption and rough water. The crew was led by novice cox Tim Uellendahl. The crew’s fierce start let them pull slightly ahead of the HSBA. To the crew’s unfortunate detriment, one of the bow oarsmen ‘caught a crab’ – losing control of his oar as the waters were stirred around him. The HSBA pull ahead and there’s clear water between the crews as the Jacobs four perform another start. As they are getting back into their rhythm, their second fierce start has come back to haunt them – they catch a second crab, lose their direction altogether, and are forced to turn in order to align their boat. In the midst of this struggle the crew gets cut off by a ferry! HSBA coast away, as Jacobs are doing their third start. In spite of being faced with great frustration the Jacobs crew power through and encouraged by their cox Tim Uellendahl they row strongly to the finish. HSBA won the men’s four race. That was never in doubt, following the second crab and the ferry cutting off the Jacobs rowers. Credit to the Jacobs men’s coxed four, who showed their determination, persevered against what must have been strong frustration and kept fighting when the race was clearly lost.

double_crew_Hanse_Boat_Race_14The races proceeded with the women’s coxless sculling double with Miriam Wulf stoking the boat and the experienced Ioana Ivanciu on bow. The HSBA’s choppy quick start strokes get their double off to a fast start as they edge ahead in a slight lead over the Jacobs scullers. The Jacobs double with the slower steadier start is not only lasting the course but they are getting their rage on and soon gain the HSBA boat. The two crews are racing neck and neck as they approach the dock of the Hansa rowing club. Jacobs are pulling slightly away as they pass the spectators crowd. double_win_Hanse_Boat_Race_14They are making a spectacularly exciting sprint to the finish as they keep putting more distance to their opponent. What an amazing race! As the Jacobs women’s double trailed over the finish line victorious over the HSBA, Miriam Wulf raises an arm to celebrate. The two female rowers proved themselves the pride and joy of the Jacobs team with their outstanding performance resulting in a glorious victory over the HSBA by one boat length.


In the next race, the strong Jacobs women’s quad set out to return the women’s coxless quad trophy to its rightful home in the hands of Jacobs’s female scullers in Bremen. Led by their experienced and esteemed stroke Ulla Schellhaas – Sarah Winkelmann, Natasha Danailovska and Paula Prondzinsky pushed off in the Jacobs quad, ‘Lotti’, determined to stop the tally of the HSBA victories in this race at 1, where it stood after the rival’s victory in the 2013 boat race. The crews were set off by coaches Lars and Tim of Jacobs and HSBA respectively, after a tense wait at the start line. The Außenalster was once again showing no mercy as the Jacobs crew battled the rough water. quad_race_Hanse_Boat_Race_14HSBA women’s quad won by approximately a boat length – an ominous sign ahead of the feature race. With three freshmen rowers in the boat the Jacobs women’s quad performed admirably and fought hard especially against a very determined opponent. “Girls, get them next year!” is roughly the gist of the words that graduating stroke woman Ulla Schellhaas passed on as legacy that the female Jacobs scullers have to ensure is fulfilled next year.

eight_crew_Hanse_Boat_Race_14Next up is the men’s eight race. Coach Lars Schröder was pleased with the composition of the Jacobs crew as Jacobs bid to win after last tasting victory in 2011. Jacobs oarsmen: Michael Scherm, Kareem Al Nahas, Mathew Hunter, Aleksandar Gyorev, Malte Grändorf, Michel Ehrenstein, Tomasz Luczynski and Ahmed Kebdani; were optimistic that the crew could forge a turnaround. HSBA were the stronger crew based on the ErgoCup outcome, but Jacobs had a couple of wild cards in their pack – and three-time Hanse boat race winning cox, Aenne Schoop, leading them.

HSBA won the 7th Hanse boat race in turmoil of last minute changes and choppy waters. Nothing could have prepared the Jacobs crew for what happened in that day’s race. eight_Hanse_Boat_Race_14Following their warm up the Jacobs eight waited tensely at the start only to have their opponent never show up which naturally heightened the crew’s suspense prior to the big race. The Jacobs eight, ‘Frieda’, was already filled with water from rowing to the race start on the choppy waters of the Außenalster.

The coaches’ speedboat finally arrived at the planned race start and the Jacobs eight was informed to row to a new start location. Upon reaching there they had to dock to get rid of pour out the water in ‘Frieda’ with the drenched rowers shivering in the cold windy weather. They were then rushed to the new race start, hectically aligning to the HSBA with the race starting in turmoil. Forced to struggle to get their concentration back, the Jacobs eight keeps neck and neck with the HSBA as their eight took off. The Jacobs men are pushing through despite being left in an unfavorable position without any idea of the new course or of where the finish was after the change in the start position of the race. The choppy waters seemed to favor an HSBA crew who were on average 10kg heavier per man. Two minutes in, and Jacobs are holding their own – with the HSBA edging slightly ahead as they head towards the wide open waters of the Außenalster with glowering clouds building behind them.

eight_race_Hanse_Boat_Race_14Conditions on the river dictate that the crew on the inside lane – the HSBA men’s eight on this occasion – will have an advantage. That’s what happens, and the HSBA made use of this advantage. Soon HSBA have quite literally steadied their ship, and have moved a couple of lengths ahead. HSBA go past the finish, alas with an almighty lead. The Jacobs crew are visibly weary, but they are still fighting for pride as they trail across the finish line.

Jacobs had a strong team for the 2014 Hanse Boat Race. The powerful men’s eight crew put strong pressure on their heavier HSBA opponents and made it clear that they are coming for the cup and plan on ending the HSBA’s winning streak. It seems as though victory slipped through the fingers of the Jacobs rowers this year, but Jacobs built a strong team this season and they will be back next year to take home the trophies.



Great amount of merit and gratitude must be given to the coach of the Jacobs rowing team, Lars Schröder, for his endless commitment and investing a great deal of time and dedication into the team.

Assisting coach Marita Hesse, the team president Ulla Schelhaas, the male captain Aleksandar Gyorev and female captain Ioana Ivanciu were also instrumental in ensuring the team’s accomplished season as well as enthusiastic motivation and encouragement of the rowers. Much appreciation goes out to them for all their efforts.

The Jacobs rowing team have to share a hearty thank you to our sponsor, Mr. Lürssen, who has continuously supported the team’s training endeavors, and who we are honored to count among our tremendous contributors.

The team would also like to extent their gratitude to all the teammates and spectators who traveled to Hamburg on the 4th of May 2014 to support and cheer us on during the 7th Hanse boat race along with an invitation to join us for our forthcoming events as we prepare for next year’s Hanse boat race.

 A report written by Natasha Danailovska