Meet an X-Sailor

Gottfried Spitzer

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fredag 8th september 2023

A series of interviews, setting focus on the X-Sailor and the yachts behind them.

Gottfried Spitzer – X4⁰


Tell us about your X-Yachts history?

The first X yacht which showed up on my horizon was in the early 90s, an X-512 at a race in the Med, in Croatia. She was successfully competing against an IOR 50 racer, and her power and elegance were overwhelming. At that time the fleet was full of average white production boats, as was ours, but the X was sailing in a different world. Rumors and talks were circling around at night in the race village about this marvelous X-Yacht every other wanted to sail on. And this was the beginning of my story with X-Yachts.

The first model I bought some years later was a used Admirals 50ft cupper following the IOR rules. She was called XXL, formerly known as Andelsbanken. We bought her in northern Germany and had her transferred to Italy by a professional crew. XXL was a lady with a high pedigree and history and obviously had her strengths in upwind and light air conditions. With respect to dimensions, she was huge compared to the other boas I was sailing before. Her mast nearly reached the moon, she was really impressive. We raced her in the Med, competing against similar boats like Kreta or Blizzard, and had a lot of fun.

Our family situation with kids lead to changed sailing plans and we sold XXL, moved back to Austria, and started sailing with Sunbeam Yachts, an Austrian brand, on lakes close to Vienna for more than ten years. Decreasing water level made us leave the lakes close to Vienna in recent years; we sold our boat and shifted our interest to Mallorca where we had been buying an apartment close to Palma some time ago.

As living without a sailboat was out of discussion, we started looking for a suitable boat in Mallorca, went to Palma Boat Show, and met David and Rodrigo, representatives of X-Yachts in Spain. They offered sea trails on their own X4⁰ the next day, and this experience was highly convincing. X4⁰ is a perfect boat for a small crew, easy to sail, still powerful, and with impressive upwind angle and boat speed. Upwind performance is key in the bay of Palma, as this allows the yacht to leave this big bay without too many zig zags.

How many years have you been sailing, both in general and sailing an X?

I started my sailing career in my late twenties, as windsurfing started being boring. Our current X4⁰ is my second X-Yacht, see above.

Are you primarily sailing alone or with family and friends?

I rarely sail alone, as this is a bit boring, and taming a big main sail can also be quite challenging in heavy conditions. Thus, I prefer going sailing with family and/or friends. But out there on the water, you can never predict what´s coming next, so I prefer sailing a yacht which in theory could also be sailed single-handed. This sets a natural limit to the size of a yacht if you want to avoid high-tech equipment such as stern thruster, fully powered electric winches, furling boom or mast etc. MaveriX, our current X4⁰, was equipped with just one electric winch for the main halyard and jib furler. At the moment this setup works fine for us. But we have to acknowledge that getting older might lead to a changing demand.

Are you a racer or a cruiser?

I am a racer by nature, and this attitude was pushing us hard in the direction of fast sailing boats. Even in cruising mode, I adore comparing our sailing performance with other yachts at sea. As we do not have much time for sailing now and our boat is located in Mallorca whereas we live in Vienna, we will focus on cruising for the next time.

What is the most important thing for you in your choice of boat?

Performance, followed by performance, followed by serious build quality, attention to detail, and local dealership

Why did you choose an X-Yacht?

As described above, our strong dedication to performance, build quality, and attention to detail set a narrow limit to the boat-building brands in question. Another criterion was having a serious local dealer on the spot, not just caring for signature on a sales contract, but also caring for after-sales services and later maintenance of the yacht. In the end, there were just two brands left, X Yacht and an Italian brand. My personal history with X-Yachts and the outstanding impression during sea trials made us go for X. Local dealership was very helpful in decision-making and gave us the impression of being welcomed by a new family of charming and kind boat owners who shares our values.

You just got your new X-Yacht – In which direction does the wind blow your X4.0 in 2023/2024?

Our first trip lead my wife and me around the beautiful island of Mallorca. It was a wonderful time and an outstanding sailing experience, just two of us on the new yacht, and memories are still alive and make us smile. So we will try to do a similar round trip again next year in Ibiza.

What has been your best X-Moment so far?

There are very many. One remarkable moment was this summer, during our trip around Mallorca. MaveriX was fully loaded with fresh water, diesel and some Rose wine in the fridge, and we were beating upwind in a south-westerly direction to leave for the bay of Palma. The wind was at around 15 to 18 knots. There was a big crewed Oyster following our path, certainly more than 60 ft long, and due to her size, she got closer and closer. But then we switched into race mode, pointed higher and higher, and started pushing our new yacht. The big Oyster could not keep our upwind angle and had to bear away to get out of the dirty air. Big smiles on our faces! It was like David versus Goliath, with David having the better end.