Hans-Otto Schumann, 1917 - 2014


26 September 2014


The grand seigneur of German offshore sailing, Hans-Otto Schümann, known for his yachts all with the name "Rubin", died on Saturday, Sep¬tember 20, 2014, at the age of 97 years at his home in Hamburg.

As an international competitor, President of the German Sailing Association (DSV) and Vice-President of the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), Schümann made significant contributions to offshore sailing, and continued to follow developments in yacht racing for decades, playing a decisive role in the decisions of the IOR and IMS fleets.

Schümann’s start in international racing was in 1956 at Cowes Week, which he grew into a life-long commitment to the sport, including being an entry in thirteen Admiral’s Cups, and winning this prestigious event three times.

Throughout his life, Schümann’s expertise was more than welcome far from just being on board "Rubin." For example, while others were starting to embrace professionals in the game, Schümann was an ardent supporter of amateur status, and he continued to field a well-oiled German crew, refusing to sail with mercenaries. Only later in his life did he hire a German pro sailor into his afterguard, his unrelated namesake Jochen Schümann, as well as some guest appearances by Harold Cudmore and some representatives from Diamond Sails.

For 42 years (until 1999) he guided the fortunes of the Hamburg Sailing Club (HSC) as its Chairman, a club he was a member of for more than 86 years. he repeatedly supported youth sailing developmentin Germany, and for eight years until 1993 Schümann was President of the German Sailing Association (DSV) after having been vice president for the previous twelve years. This long service was recognized by DSV conveying on him the title of Honorary President until his death.

Even at 80 years old, Schümann went sailing, but not in the important races any more. Nonetheless, he observed the inshore up and down and triangle races, usually with binoculars from a spectator boat, and the measurement certificates of the opponents as the basis for the calculations that were always in his pocket.

"His charisma is the model for all generations, as it was for me," said ORC Deputy Chairman Wolfgang Schäfer. "The positive influence he had on offshore sailing spread well beyond just Germany, it was felt around the world.“

"Hans-Otto was a very keen supporter of the ORC, and through his sequence of Rubins he excelled and led to victory the German teams in the golden ages of IOR as the primary yacht racing rule," said Chief Measurer Nicola Sironi. "Schümann also has been an ORC Councilor for many years. He had a special charisma. When discussions over one or another question were getting out of control, he used to say, where is the problem (in fact in German ‘Wo ist das Problem’)? He will be missed and his passion will be difficult to be repeated."

Thus sailing loses with him one of its most colorful personalities. "That's priiima" was how Hans-Otto always praised his boys when "Rubin" was once again in front. He would have liked to go sailing with them at even 100 years old, he had said sometimes, and then added modestly "oh no, just forget it.“

With high regard and many memories of an entire sailing community, Hans-Otto Schümann joined now on his last journey. Fair winds, Hans-Otto!

Andreas Kling




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