We are saddened to learn of the passing of Wolfgang Stenz on 30 April 2021 in his home town in Germany. Our deepest condolences to his family and many friends around the world.
Wolfgang began sailing later in life but quickly developed a strong passion for the sport. Learning in a German boat called a Neckar dinghy then switching to the 470 class. He introduced his daughter Kerstin to sailing and with his wife Marianne they accompanied her to 420 and then 470 regattas around the country.
The friendly and generous couple became surrogate parents for many young sailors and Wolfgang became a regular volunteer for the 420 class. From 1984 to 1990 he was President of the West German then German 420 Class Association. In 1988 he also became the International Class President and led significant structural changes to improve the boat. He became a Race Officer and Umpire and was engaged as a consultant on protest issues for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta as a member of the German team.
For the Club, both Wolfgang and his wife Marianne (who passed away in May 2020) were hugely influential in the delivery of our Junior Exchange Sailing Scheme (JESS) from 1988 to 2016. After meeting a group of sailors from Perth led by Huck Scott at an international 420 class sailing event in Europe the connection was made.
Wolfgang and Marianne opened their home in Alfeld Germany to the sailors from Perth each year, giving them a real taste of life in a German household and making them feel welcome and supported during their journey away from home.
Over 160 young sailors from RFBYC, their team managers and coaches enjoyed their hospitality as part of the JESS Tour and in addition Wolfgang assisted year-round in the storage of Club assets. Wolfgang was an important link to Europe for the teams, providing valuable logistics support, maintenance bookings for the equipment and organising transport vans through his local contacts. Even simple things like advice on driving directions were very much appreciated back in the day when paper road maps were being used.
As a result of their dedication to the Club and our members, both Wolfgang and Marianne were awarded the status of Distinguished Honorary Members.
Wolfgang and Marianne will be fondly remembered by many sailors from around the world, particularly those who were part of the JESS programme from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.
(With content included from the German Sailing Association)