The Engineering Challenge Cup (ECC) was founded by Arno Hemm in 1993. It involves friendly, competitive sailing between yachts representing companies associated with engineering. This one-week event is held in spring every year in the Mediterranean with six daily events.
In April 1993, Arno’s crew was invited to join the Cap Sunion Rally around the Gulf of Athens. This regatta was organized by a former chairman of the Austria Bakery Association, who celebrated his 50th birthday with friends from his sailing club of Atterlake, near Salzburg. Ten crews raced against each other and after four daily races Arno’s boat became the overall winner and was awarded a bottle of champagne. Crew members were Eugen Gotter (skipper), LotharHasenohrl, Jürgen Arnold, Peter Mueller, Rainer Wittrien and Arno Hemm. Most of this original crew is still among our ECC friends. It was such a splendid experience and entertaining event that during the prize giving party at the Zeus temple at Cap Sunion they thought, “Why not every year?” This fantastic idea was unanimously agreed and Arno was delegated to organize the first ECC in1994. So he did, and on Wednesday 28th April 1993 the ECC was born.
The number of participating yachts steadily grew, peaking in entry numbers in 2007 at 70 participants. This was more than seventeen times thenumber of the first ECC fleet of four boats in Mallorca/Spain 1994. It was about this time the Commodores took the conscious decision to reduce the size of the fleet, to make the event more manageable and to ensure its informal character endures. The ECC trophy was donated by the 1996 Commodore, Aad deRuyter. The trophy is awarded every year to the newly appointed Commodore, who has the honour of having his crew’s names added to the plinth and gets to keep the trophy for a year.
The Engineering Challenge Cup has been staged in Greece (Kos, Athens and Lavrion), Turkey (Marmaris, Kusadasi, Göcek and Bodrum), Croatia (Pula, Splitand Biograd), Spain (Mallorca) and Italy (Elba and Sardinia).
In 2007 it was decided to form a committee to safeguard the key principles of the ECC. The previous commodores had voted for an Admiral to lead the committee and John Hall Hall was chosen as the first ECC Admiral. John honourably accepted the nomination.
In 2019, the ECC was held in the Saronic Gulf, Greece, with around 320 crew members participating on 48 yachts.