Phillip Kasüske is the youngest team member in Offshore Team Germany, the one who is supposed to bring the power on board. For years, the 26-year-old put himself through the drill of the tough Olympic Finn class, working towards the goal of Tokyo 2020. But when the Olympics were postponed and the chance of qualifying for the Games was minimal, the Berliner put an end to his Olympic dream and focused entirely on his new task: “The OTG project has my full attention. I can hardly wait for the race to start soon. After the long winter, I finally want to hit the ground running.”
The young savage from “Einstein”, the OTG-Imoca, is expected to bring the horsepower on board. His strength will be required at the grinder, but his sensitivity will also be required at the helm of the yacht: “I have a very precise idea of what physical and athletic challenges await me. I bring this physicality with me, I’m used to it from years of working on the Finn. And as the youngest in the team, I am certainly the most resilient. But I can also steer well thanks to my Finn experience,” says Phillip Kasüske. In the meantime, he knows the yacht very well: “I have done a few transfer trips, sailed in the Fastnet Race, spliced and introduced many lines on board. I already feel like I have become one with ‘Einstein’.”
The Ocean Race Europe will be Phillip Kasüske’s toughest offshore test yet. But he is no longer inexperienced on the high seas. Robert Stanjek approached him formerly in the national squad, took him on board “Shakti” for the offshore race from Cowes to St Malo and let him lead the mainsheet there. In addition to the 2019 Fastnet Race, Kasüske also sailed aboard OTG team manager Jens Kuphal’s “Intermezzo”. “I have always seen these assignments as important additions to the Finn and thus my further career. This also includes my participation in the Youth America’s Cup, In other countries, such things are common. In Germany, on the other hand, the promotion of competitive sailors only applies to Olympic sports.”
Besides his studies in logistics management, Phillip Kasüske has his sights set on a professional sailing career. “I would love to sail in the America’s Cup. But there are hardly any structures for that here. Little by little, I’m finding out what opportunities are available here. It’s cool that the door has opened for me at OTG. At the moment, it’s one of the very rare opportunities in Germany.”
For The Ocean Race Europe, Kasüske sees himself in a position to gain a lot of experience, but also to provide his input: “We have to manage to form a homogeneous team, to look out for each other and to be able to rely on each other. Especially what it means to divide one’s energies properly and also to supply energy again and again is something I learned in Olympic sailing. Even though it’s the change from sprint to marathon, I accept that as one of my tasks alongside my work on the grinder and the tiller. But I’m taking it in stride and want to grow from the experience.”
According to Phillip Kasüske, the training phases were about practising the manoeuvres again and again: “Tacks, gybes, sail changes. We already have a good structure there, but there is no blind understanding yet. The learning process will continue in the race. It has to be honed in through intensive work.” Together with Annie Lush, Phillip Kasüske mainly operates from the cockpit to put pressure on the halyards and sheets at the grinder.
Girlfriend Chiara Steinmüller, a former top German Laser Radial sailor herself and coach in Berlin, is happy to accompany Phillip Kasüske’s adventure: “She gives me the space and freedom so that I can take advantage of this great opportunity.”