Olympian Sailor Julia Büsselberg
In 2019 Vaultoro started to sponsor a young athlete that we saw had great potential to become one of the greatest competitive sailors in the world. This has paid off as Julia Büsselberg has won so many competitions that she is now sailing for Germany in the next Olympics. We are proud of having the Vaultoro logo on her sails as she is seen by the world doing her best and inspiring other young athletes in Germany and around the world.
Here is our interview with this inspirational young woman.
Vaultoro: Hello Julia, could you please give us a short presentation about yourself?
Julia: Sure, my name is Julia Buesselberg and I am nineteen years old. Being born in Berlin I am now travelling around the world because I am an athlete. Sailing is my profession.
Vaultoro: Isn’t sailing a sport which is more common at the sea, how did it come that you started sailing when living in a city like Berlin?
Julia: My parents are sailors so it was kind of foreseen that I will at least try this wonderful sport. At the age of one year, I started to walk on a houseboat. Later on, we sailed on my parents’ boat. In my club, I joined the sailing class with nine years which is pretty late for sailing. However, in Germany there are many successful sailors who started sailing on a smaller lake and afterwards introduced training camps on the Baltic Sea.
Vaultoro: Why do you think this is? What do you need to do to be a successful sailor?
Julia: Sailing is a rather complex sport. There is a saying, that you will face a situation not more than one time in your career. The wind, differences in strength and direction, the waves, tides and currents as well as opponents are the main factors you have to consider if you want to be successful on the sailing playground. As a sailor, I always have to make quick decisions taking these different factors into account. I like to say that sailing is physically fighting the elements of nature with your body and then beating the others with your mind. Moreover, sailing is about endurance, coordination, logic, the ability to concentrate over a long period of time and risk management.
Sailors like me who learned this sport on a lake might have the advantage that some factors like big waves and strong currents do not need to be taken into account because they basically don’t exist on lakes. That’s why I learned the basic principles about wind shifts and other tactical decisions on lake Wannsee. Then, the other factors needed to be considered later when sailing for the first time on the ocean. Learning how to sail on the sea means you have to deal with all factors right from the beginning which makes the whole situation more complex.
In order to become more and more experienced on this long journey, determination and passion are necessary to always work on your weaknesses and make them become a strength.
Vaultoro: You said you started sailing in your local club and now you are travelling around the world. What happened in between?
Julia: First of all, I learned sailing in the Optimist, a small dinghy with a sail of 3.5m². In this small boat, there is only one child at a time. I enjoyed lots of training hours with my friends on the water and slowly started to participate in my first races. Getting better and better, I qualified myself for the Optimist Europeans 2013 and 2014. Then, I moved on into my next class – the Laser 4.7. There, I had a successful first year with winning the Kiel Week and becoming U16 Laser 4.7 World Champion as well as U18 Laser 4.7 World Champion. From 4.7m² my sail grew to 5.7m² now called Laser Radial which is an Olympic class for women. In this boat, I became German Junior champion, vice-German champion, had many top10 results in youth world championships. Last year I won the bronze medal at the U21 European Championship. With the regattas getting more and more international I am now sailing around the world.
Vaultoro: Wow, that sounds awesome. What was your latest experience?
Julia: The first two months of 2020 I spend in Australia. Together with my coach and many international sailors, I trained hard in Melbourne, sailing three regattas as the preparation for the Senior World Championship. I could win the U21 Division in both the Australian and Oceanic Championship in January. In February, we spend lots of hours on the water and in the gym just to train. Then, there was an international test regatta in which I got 6th place. All days we had sailable winds, some nice waves and good vibes. However, for the Worlds it was different. The wind was light and unstable at the beginning of the championship. We raced four races in strong winds afterwards and had tricky medium wind for the last two days. All in all, I am pretty happy with my solid performance in this difficult series, becoming 46th in the end. This was my best result at a Senior World Championship so far.
Vaultoro: Looks like you are on a good track and we share commonalities. We are dealing with gold on an international market and you are fighting for it. Do you also have an Olympic dream and what are your goals for the future?
Julia: That’s true, I didn’t think about this similarity before. Talking about the Olympics, they are definitely a goal for me but this was not always like the case. In the beginning, I just wanted to have fun and to meet some friends. Now, I got many international friends and I am kind of got addicted to the sport. As I said earlier, the experience is important in this sport. My goal is now to participate in the Olympics and be successful along my way. Therefore, I was training hard, trying to get more experience but now like for all of us COVID-19 changed everything.
Vaultoro: We can imagine this. Tokyo 2020 got moved to summer 2021. What does it mean to you?
Julia: The last three weeks have been hard. Training is very difficult at the moment because all the clubs and gyms are closed. I had to open my private gym in our apartment to keep at least my body in shape since training on the water is not allowed at the moment.
Like all regattas the two remaining German qualification events got cancelled due to the virus and we didn’t know what will happen next. Now, with the new dates of the Olympics being published this is at least clear again. Personally, I am not sad that the Games got postponed because it gives me as a young athlete the chances to work longer on my development and increased my chances of representing Germany at the Olympics.
Nevertheless, the reason for this postponement is very sad and I am hoping that everyone will stay healthy and get through this crisis well.