Interview with Thomas Funke
Watching the sailing brothers Thomas and Peter Funke carve through the water offshore of Durban on their 505 is pure sporting artistry.
The young duo are about to tackle top international sailors at the 505 World Championships taking place towards the end of March in Port Elizabeth, their sixth World Champs appearance.
At the turn of the 21st century, the brothers joined forces to form a formidable crew racing in the 505 class. A 505 is a one-design high performance two-person monohull that is extremely exciting to sail as both crew members trapezes on a wire as they soar through the water.
"Racing 505s is a bit of an addiction at the start, and then you just keep going. The World Champs is like those big work conferences, it is just this group of crazy guys that meet all over the world every year for this event."
"We last competed at the Worlds in Kiel, Germany last August. We struggled a bit, the average wind speeds were about 25knots for the whole regatta and the boat we were racing wasn't set up for the winds we experienced. We finished OK, 47th out of a 175 teams." Funke explained.
Training together for the Funkes requires a lot of travelling. Thomas has been residing in Ballito for almost five years now and Peter lives up in Gauteng. "We usually meet half way at Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State. We plan on training in PE, in Johannesburg, all around the country really before the event. We try and make a plan to meet up every free weekend. Otherwise rely on general cardio to keep fit."
Asked what his most memorable moment is on the water, he "There are many great moments, either flying across the dam or offshore. One that comes to mind was in 2010 in P.E., it was blowing about 35knots and they canned the racing. We decided to get some video footage so we went out, put the bag up and absolutely screamed towards Bird Island. This motor boat with the film crew couldn't keep up. That was on the edge." A reminiscing Funke claims.
The Funke brothers together with a handful of Durban lads will be off to Port Elizabeth to compete in the 505 World Championships.