The start of the Kiel Week 2014 was just like what this event in the provincial capital is famous for - wet, cold, but also windy.
And this wind made happen the first record of the event, when the MOD70 catamaran “Musandam Oman” did clearly beat the existing record in the Welcome Race from Kiel to Eckernfoerde. The crews of the yachts also used the breeze for a fast middle distance race of the German Championship. On the race courses of the outer fjord, the races where demanding the athletes strength and fitness in the Olympic classes.
“That was a rough first day, at the edge of being doable. On the race course, there were waves of up to two metres and we had many race tasks”, says Peter Ramcke, race director of the triangle courses.
The superstar of this year’s Kiel Week Australian Mathew Belcher did demonstrate already in the Olympic classes, that he did gain the title Sailor of the World for a reason. Unimpressed by the difficult conditions with shifting winds and gusts with up to more than 30 knots, the 470 Olympic winner did bring home two victories. For the German crews, the day did finish half and half. Jasper Wagner/Dustin Baldewein from Berlin were on rank two behind Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan, Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanski (Munich/Berlin) are on place four after the first race day.
The German women in the 470 are also lying in wait: with two second places Annina Wagner/Elisabeth Panuschka (Potsdam/Uerdingen) only have the Austrian Lara Vadian in front of them.
The new European master Svenja Weger (Kiel) has to accept rank eight: “The results were medium. In the first race, the upwind was a bit shorter than expected, so I did go past the lay line, the second race was okay.”
German hope in the Laser Philipp Buhl (Kiel) normally likes these conditions. But at the start of the Kiel Week, the jury was his undoing. In both races of the day, he did get the yellow flag because of pumping. In the first race, he even did make it back to place three after his penalty roundings, but in the second race he had to give up. The Czech Viktor Teply is leading the fleet. A Czech lead can be found also in the Finn with Tomas Vika, whereas the young Germans have to learn it the hard way.
A bit split were the results of the skiffs due to the tough conditions. The 49er Men could not make the whole program in all starting groups, so Erik Heil/Thomas Ploessel’s (Kiel) rank one is only counted with reservations. The Women in the 49er FX hat to wait long until they were sent out onto the water, just to prove that wind and waves were above their limit. The same applied to many mixed crews in the Nacra17, where a lot of them had to give up their races. The Italian duo Vittorio Bissaro/Silvia Sicouri did not have any problems and are on rank one in front of the shaken competitors.
But you can always rely on the German Paralympic sailors. Heiko Kroeger (Hamburg) is leading in the 2.4 as well as in the Sonar with crew Jens Kroker (Hamburg).
The international German Championship of the offshore sailors is also a warm up for the upcoming ORC Worlds in August in Kiel. The “Platoon” with top sailors like Markus Wieser (Starnberg), Matti Paschen (Hamburg) and Michael Mueller (Kiel) on board did have great speed right after the start and was also the leading boat in ORC I on corrected time, when they got to Eckernfoerde. They were followed by “One4All” with Kai Mares (Daenischenhagen), which had the advantage as a spinnaker boat not having set the light sail after the start like the gennaker boats. That did spare them wild manoeuvres after a strong shower front in the inner fjord of Kiel and could pass the competitors. In ORC II the “Leu” with Albert Schweizer (Bremen) did gain the first victory of the day, although they had started their season quite late compared to other crews. And in ORC III the youth project from Hamburg of the “Solconia” with Max Gurgel did show they are good on track again after winning the German titles in 2012 and did take over the lead for now.