- Building American Leaders Through Sailing -

Nikolas Nöetzel

2016 Sapling

Hometown: Kiel, Germany

I am 24 years old and I am a 2015 graduate of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Before I studied business administration and economics down south amidst the Alps, I grew up in the beautiful and often stormy capital of the northernmost German state called Schleswig-Holstein. While my grandparents live in Washington State, I have spent most of my childhood in Germany. 

When it comes to sailing, it was my parents that lived the sport before my eyes, so I got my first experience at 7 years old in the Optimist. One of the club boats I sailed was especially old, still the wooden type, and it was named Christopher Columbus. I’m not sure why, but I always liked that one (Maybe a hint towards an offshore destiny?). After the Opti I transitioned to windsurfing until I was 18 years old. I always kept sailing for leisure, but not in regattas. In windsurfing I was named into the state squad for race windsurfing, however I always preferred the freestyle type and after a while I stuck with that.

My motivation for sailing around the world one day is very hard to pinpoint, I just know it’s there. For sure I want to prove something to myself, that I am capable of successfully doing it. But there is also a very deep connection to nature and the ocean that makes me want to get to know it in a way only a handful of people have done. I believe that my goal would be to actually learn about the current state of the ocean and to then carry a message around the world that is a call for action to preserve what we as humans were so lucky to receive for free – our beautiful planet. Partnering with a really strong cause and then using my experience about the corporate world to acquire the financial backing is something I want to bring along to Oakcliff and try out together with others who are just as motivated.