zaterdag 4 januari 2020
Meet an X-Sailor
A series of interviews, setting focus on the X-Sailor and the yachts behind them.
Karl-Thomas Neumann – Owner of the beautiful Xp 55 ‘Lin Bin Lan’
Startup entrepreneur now living in LA. Former CEO of Opel, VW China, and Continental and X-Sailor.
Tell us about your X-Yachts history?
I always loved the sea! As a kid, I could spend whole days on our little sailing dinghy. Then I sailed my Hobie 14 catamaran “Tschüß” for many years to come. I was sailing competitive and even participated in the European championship. After windsurfers became so fast that they could circle around my cat while I was sailing full speed, I sold the Hobie and became a passionate windsurfer. It was only 10 years ago that I became serious about sailing larger boats. Always did I keep an eye on X-Yachts because I admired them for building fast and very attractive boats. When the new Xc line for cruising was launched, I found that is the right boat for me having 2 small kids being 1 and 3 years old then. So, we got the delivery of our Xc 45 in 2009. We gave her the name “Lin Bin Lan” because even though we kept her in Germany we lived in Beijing, China then, and Lin Bin Lan was the Chinese name given to my Danish wife Line. We sailed many happy summers as a family on that Xc 45, and we highly appreciated her comfort and always felt safe on her while we quickly figured that she was really fast and would pass by most other boats very easily.
As the kids became older, we thought it is time for a larger and even faster boat. So, this year we got the delivery of an Xp 55.
You finished the ARC Rally 2017 onboard your previous Xc 45 – How was that dream?
That was a dream indeed. I forever wanted to do this, but my job did not give me the opportunity. Then in summer 2016 I suddenly had a window and I was also lucky to find a crew of good friends and capable sailors to go on this journey. But first I had to bring her to the Canaries. With four different crews, I sailed her from Copenhagen to Gran Canarias in September that year. That was a marvelous experience in itself! The channel had some nasty autumn weather for us where we gained even more confidence in the boat. We had to wait for the right weather window to cross the Biscay, but we were highly rewarded with a speed run down large waves and dolphins playing around us many times. It was almost euphoric.
We participated in the ARC in the Cruising Class and it was everything we had hoped for! With low winds and a lot of blue water swimming in the beginning and later a Passat ride with occasional ugly squalls. ‘Lin Bin Lan’ did very well and gave us safety and comfort and unlike many other boats, we had no technical issues. It was definitely a good idea that we had her checked in Haderslev before the departure where we replaced and upgraded a few things.
Even though we were cruisers, we started feeling competitive when we found that we were making our way up in the ranking of the other boats. That year there were three Xc 45s participating and we all made it, in the first place of our class.
You seem like an ‘Xplorer’ – What are your sailing plans for 2020?
This year, I will do a few short trips with my family, with friends and also with some business partners. I work with start-ups and found that doing a sailing trip together is the best opportunity to build a trusted relationship beyond business. These young high-tech entrepreneurs always admire the tech and craftsmanship as well as the stunning performance of a yacht like this.
In September I have planned a larger Scandinavia trip – going from Copenhagen via Gothenburg to Oslo and then back via Skagen into the North Sea to Helgoland and finish in Haderslev where ‘Lin Bin Lan’ will be handed over to the X-Yachts service crew and get a well-deserved winter storage. I look forward to that very much!
How was is to be a part of the Anniversary Gold Cup 2019 and the X-Yachts community?
It was thrilling. Niels Jeppesen offered me to be the skipper of my new boat and even bring some of his best sailing friends to sail her together with me and some of my friends. So, we were a crew of 12, and I was stunned to see how the “pros” sail her, and what potential she has. I am sure we, with a much smaller crew, will not ever sail her like that but it made very clear what potential she has and how much she can stand.
What has been your best X-Moment so far?
For me, it’s always the simple things. Anchoring in the wind shadow of an island in the Danish south sea is as good as in the Caribbean. All these little “races” when sailing past another sailing yacht and enjoying the comfort and independence of a fully equipped boat, or receiving all these compliments about my two “Danish ladies” (the other one being my wife) make we very proud to own an X-Yacht.
All in all, Karl-Thomas has been onboard X-Yachts for 11 years…