HSH Nordbank blue race tops all expectations

Transatlantic regatta ends with new record Grand finale in the port of Hamburg HSH Nordbank employees in sailing fever

Hamburg/Kiel, July 13, 2007 - The HSH Nordbank blue race was an unforgettable event for everyone – participants, organizers and sailing aficionados alike. The grand transatlantic regatta ended with a top-class sporting finish: Outsider, the first ship home, was cheered just as euphorically as the overall winner, maxi yacht Rambler. The U.S. boat set a new course record in its crossing of the North Atlantic route: 11 days 16 hours 13 minutes and 59 seconds. And the superlatives continue: taken together, all yachts sailed a total of 86,400 nautical miles, the crews sent more than 250 e-mails from on board, and journalists were able to choose from more than 1,000 spectacular photographs for their reporting. “The HSH Nordbank blue race was a complete success in every respect and has exceeded our expectations,” concluded Bernhard Visker, member of the management board of title sponsor HSH Nordbank, in summary. Impressive proof of the great public interest generated by the event was provided by the fact that the online race viewer recorded some 1.2 million clicks per day, making it one of the most popular sailing-sport sites over the past four weeks.

“The HSH Nordbank blue race has filled us all with enthusiasm, the regatta and its participants were fantastic international ambassadors of the sport of sailing and of the City of Hamburg," commented Visker. “Our aim was to facilitate a sailing event that provided particular challenges, an event with a huge exclamation mark in terms of the sport of sailing. In this, we have been impressively successful,” rejoiced Visker.

The race was an ever-present topic of conversation at HSH Nordbank. It was with an equal measure of expert knowledge and enthusiasm that employees in Hamburg and Kiel followed the latest news and pictures from on board the yachts, which were transmitted inside the bank’s canteens on large screens. “We were all virtually on the edge of our seats and found ourselves holding our breath when it became particularly exciting," is how Bernhard Visker described the days during the regatta.

There was more than enough excitement: from the Atlantic storms that most yachts weathered more or less without suffering any damage, to the Rambler’s record time and the unfortunate injury sustained by HSH Nordbank employee Kerstin Tröger (41). The experienced sailor took part in the sporting competition of the Atlantic crossing on board “HSH Nordbank”, a Luffe 48. In heavy seas she was launched across the cockpit and suffered a double ankle fracture. This was the end of the race for her. Following a perfectly organized MEDEVAC operation at sea, Kerstin Tröger was taken first to Canada and from there by plane to Hamburg. “Of course, I’m sad that I didn't finish the race," said Kerstin Tröger. "But it was the right decision, and the combined operations of the rescue service on the high seas, in Canada and in Hamburg worked in a truly fascinating manner," commented Tröger.

The remaining crew of HSH Nordbank continued the race after the interruption and made good the gap of about 450 miles to the fleet. To make up for the loss of Kerstin Tröger, the shrunken crew extended their watch to six hours during the night and nine hours during the day. In the end, HSH Nordbank even managed to cross the finish line in second-last place. “We are delighted that the HSH Nordbank crew fought to the end with its sporting team spirit and sailing expertise. It is wonderful that it ultimately made it successfully to the finish,” enthused Bernhard Visker.

The grand finale has been taking place in the port of Hamburg since July 6. The sailors together with their families, visitors and guests will be celebrating the event, the HSH Nordbank blue race, in the Race Village at Kehrwiederspitze until Sunday. Entry is free and is a must, particularly for those interested in sailing, as all participating yachts can be admired in the Citysporthafen port opposite following their “ride” over the Atlantic. Moreover, there will be stage performances to suit all tastes in the sailors’ tent village. The grand finale including the awards ceremony will take place in Hamburg’s Fischauktionshalle on July 14. And on the following Sunday, July 15 at 12 noon the 2007 HSH Nordbank blue race will culminate in a parade of sail with all yachts setting out from Citysportboothafen in Hamburg. The goodbye parade will be led by HSH Nordbank’s MS Merkur II.

The 2007 HSH Nordbank blue race set off from Newport, RI, on June 16, 2007. The Northern German Regatta Club (NRV) organized the 2007 HSH Nordbank blue race in collaboration with the New York Yacht Club (NYYC). As a title partner, HSH Nordbank was actively involved in the process. The HSH Nordbank blue race is the sporting bridge linking the “old” and the “new” world, between one of the Bank’s headquarters, in Hamburg, and its important U.S. branch in New York. The HSH Nordbank blue race is fully in line with the Bank's corporate philosophy: sailing represents team spirit, performance and professionalism – values also embodied by HSH Nordbank’s “crew” worldwide. This philosophy is underpinned by HSH Nordbank’s blue sailings, a series of high-profile races for ocean-going yachts, and by its long-term sponsorship of Kieler Woche as a partner to sport and culture.

HSH Nordbank AG is a strong regional bank in Northern Europe with total assets of € 200 billion. Some 4,400 of the bank’s employees provide corporate and high net-worth clients around the globe with premium bank products and services. In its core region of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, it is the market leader in the corporate customer segment. HSH Nordbank is an acknowledged partner of the capital markets and international sector specialist. Its main focus is on transportation and real estate. In fact, HSH Nordbank is the world’s largest provider of ship finance and covers the entire value chain in the transportation segment. In the area of real estate, HSH Nordbank is one of the strongest banks in Germany, acting as a provider of services relating to all aspects of real estate. For more information please visit our website at www.hsh-nordbank.com.

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