13. July 2022

Hoist the sails!

Our technology park community has the best tips for water sports in the region

Addicted to sailing: Susanne and Uwe Steingroß on the “Frohsinn” © WISTA Management GmbH
Ondrej Krivanek explores Berlin by paddle boat © Eda Lacar
Company outing of ROST:Werbetechnik: Peter Rost and his colleague with stand-up paddle boards ©
Company outing of ROST:Werbetechnik: Jana Arnold with stand-up paddle board ©

Our campus is not only home to outstanding researchers and entrepreneurs but also to dedicated water sports enthusiasts. There are even some Olympic athletes among them. To their great advantage, they live and work in a very water-rich area.

Water is his world. Uwe Steingroß, head of the eponymous Adlershof-based precision mechanics company, is not merely a passionate sailor, no. He is a pro. Throughout his life, the 71-year-old has won countless medals and taken part in national, European, and world championships. Most recently, in 2021, when he took part in the sailing world championships on Müggelsee and reached fourth place. Steingroß was multiple GDR champion in the “Flying Dutchman” class and even took part in the Olympic Summer Games in Tallinn (1980) and Montreal (1976).

Whenever possible, Steingroß and his wife, Susanne, get on their sailing yacht called "Frohsinn" after work and off into the sunset over Müggelsee. “We can also sleep on the boat, which is particularly beautiful,” says Steingroß, waxing lyrically. At eight-and-a-half metres, the boat is spacious enough. His wife is not a mere passenger: She herself is a pro and has won various competitions sailing close to the wind. To say they were both addicted to sailing is not an exaggeration. They even met and fell in love on the water.

Uwe Steingroß’s parents ran the Müggelsee Yacht Club in Friedrichshagen. He took to the water when he was nine years old. Today, he has all the available sports boat licenses and could sail the oceans if he wanted. The couple is, in fact, planning many trips, including one from their home in Rahnsdorf to the Baltic Sea.

What is it about sailing that fascinates Steingroß so much? “It’s an intelligent sport,” he explains, “one that requires an understanding and mastering the complex interplay of wind, weather, currents, and technology.” And, of course, the dangers. “I enjoy the challenge.” Every time, a new challenge awaits and in the most picturesque nature.

“It is a great feeling to be on the water. It’s fun. Kayaking and canoeing is also an excellent way to exercise,” says Ondrej Krivanek, head of Nion Company, an American specialist for scanning-transmission electron microscopes. Krivanek researched Nion’s electron microscope at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and appreciated the amount of water available around the city of his alma mater.

His favourite is “kayak camping”. “Transporting 30 or 40 kilos of camping equipment, including food for an entire week, is much easier on a kayak than to carry it on your back while hiking,” he says, laughingly. Plus, you travel farther afield, see much more – and from an unusual perspective. At home in the US, the native Czech is usually out on a seven-metre canoe. For their stay in Berlin, he and his wife, Eda Lacar, brought inflatable kayaks along with them. They fit nicely in the bicycle shelter of their temporary home at the IBZ academic guesthouse. Another convenient feature is the house’s location: “Directly on the shore of the Dahme River,” says Krivanek, enthusiastically. From there, they love to explore Müggelspree, Seddinsee, and the regatta course, sometimes with colleagues, or just cross the river to the other shore to go to their favourite restaurant.

Their strength also takes them in the other direction, towards the city centre. In a way, it’s almost like biking. “We swear by pedal kayaks, which translate the pedalling into a back-and-forth movement of two fins that resemble the fins of dolphins,” Krivanek explains, praising the efficient power transfer: “Our legs are much stronger than our arms and so we are much quicker and less tired than we would be with normal kayaks. And your hands are free to hold a phone, camera, drink, or anything else.” Additionally: there’s no splashing water to annoy you while paddling. Nevertheless, he also has several kayaks, paddling boards, a canoe, and a rowing boat in his arsenal. The Krivanek’s house in Seattle is conveniently located right next to a small lake.

A life without water is possible, but pointless. This could also be the life’s motto of Jana Arnold and Peter Rose. The owners of Rost:Werbetechnik GmbH spend any spare time they have on the water. Any means of transport will do: from stand-up paddle boards, or surfboards, to a sailing yacht. Peter Rost used to be a competitive athlete across various sailing boat classes. Together with his wife, he supports many non-commercial clubs to organise regattas in Berlin.

Rost’s passion was ignited when he was six years old. He took part in an extracurricular activity at elementary school to build his first paddle and set his sails to Müggelsee soon thereafter. The now 60-year-old then studied sports with a focus on sailing. “I never once stopped loving water since then,” he says. “For us, being close to nature, experiencing the wind and the weather, and the peace and quiet on the water are pure relaxation,” says the couple. Asked about tips for people new to Berlin and ready to enjoy nature, they recommend renting a raft and do the “grand tour” from Müggelsee, via Dahme and Spree, to Seddinsee Lake. “Sleeping on a boat is just wonderful,” says Rost. Arnold agrees: “There are few things that are more beautiful.”

Ondrej Krivanek has this tip: “For us, a great outing on the weekend is the following: one or two hours with the kayak to a nearby beer garden on the riverbank or a lake, have lunch, go for a walk on the shore, and take the kayak back,” says Krivanek. He and his wife spent many a weekend like this in the area around Adlershof: “We did many of these great outings back then.”

Chris Löwer for Adlershof Journal