29er European Championships wrap-up in Kiel

29er European Championship - Kieler Woche 2014
Thomas Eisenkrätzer
Kieler Woche 2014 was the host venue for the 29er European Championships, part of the huge 14 international class event. With light winds and thunder storms forecast it was always likely to be a challenge to fit in five races each day for the 183 boat fleet. Racing was based on the 49er format with the fleet split into four flights and half the fleet sailing at any one time racing on two courses.

Day one began with sun and a building breeze but as the racing for red and yellow got away the wind died back to four knots and was won by FRA 13 and GER 2259. Race two started with five boats black flagged in red flight and eventually GBR 2024 took the gun whilst GBR 1987 won yellow flight. The flights swopped over and green raced in six knots with GBR 2305 winning comfortably whilst FIN 24 won the blue flight as the wind dropped again. Race two green was won by GER 2010 and FIN 24 again for blue. The fleets stayed out for race 3 and was won by ESP 16 and GER 2253. Whilst the wind held red and yellow came back out to complete race 3 in six knots and warm sunshine. Yellow was won again by ESP 16 with FRA 13 winning red.

Day two began after a postponement due to the risk of thunder storms. The fleet was re-flighted and eventually set out in five knots but only managed one race each. GBR 18 won the blue flight in seven knots of breeze but as the wind died they were sent back in. Green eventually got away and was won by SLO 15, FRA 13 for red and FIN 24 for yellow.

It was a shifty five knot breeze for day three, but again the sun shone and storm clouds threatened. SWE 845, GER 14, SLO 15 and GBR 23 won race 5. As the wind built slightly the race teams started race 6 which was won by GBR 18, ITA 1738, AUS 6 and FRA 13. The snakes and ladders continued with race 7 won by ESP 3; SLO 15; GBR 23; GBR 2223. Rain clouds gathered and red flight raced but as thunder and lightening started all racing was abandoned for the day.

The fleet was split into gold, silver, bronze and emerald for day four. Again storms threatened to spoil the party so racing for Gold and Silver started early after the fog cleared in 5–7 knots. GER 2159 took the gun from SWE 845. Silver fleet was won by GBR 2111. The wind dropped for race two after ESP 3 got away at mark one, a lead he held to the finish with AUS 6 in second. GBR 1867 won Silver race two just as the storm clouds filled in and racing was abandoned for the day.

The final day dawned cloudy and grey with the usual forecast of light winds, sunny spells and thunder storms later. The race team started Bronze and Emerald fleets early in six knots of breeze. After a general recall for Bronze and an individual recall for emerald it was a win for GER 1582 in Bronze and Emerald ITA 1491. As the wind became even more fickle with boats becalmed at some points race 2 was won by a huge margin by FIN 2156 whilst GBR 394 won Emerald. As these fleets drifted to shore it was the turn of Gold and Silver to battle it out for the prizes.

In a patchy, shifty five knots five boats were caught black flag for the final series race 3 but it was GER 2159 who found the fast lane to lead from mark one to the finish and with the other medal contenders way behind the pressure was on. In Silver GBR 2111 won for the second time and GER 2180 stole the second win and climbed the results board dramatically whilst another surprise came through in the final race from SUI 2266.

It was now the final showdown for Gold but after one lap of race 4 the wind shifted 50 degrees right and the race was abandoned as GBR 2305 lead the way. This meant that there was now no chance of enough races to use a discard so every result counted. Unfortunately for the 12 boats caught black flag on the restart it was game over. FIN 24 worked the fickle breeze to win the race but a second for SWE 1698 was enough to seal the championship by two points from GER 14. BFD for ESP 3 and AUS 6 saw them plummet down the results sheet.

Kieler Woche 2014 was an experience many of the young sailors will never forget and the conditions were testing but the winners proved that consistency pays.

Final overall:

Gold:

1. SWE Adrian Salamon / Julius Hallstrom
2. GER Jasper Steffens / Tom Lennart Brauckmann
3. FRA Brice Yrieix / Loic Fischer-Guillov
4. SWE Emil Järudd / Fabian Bergmann
5. SLO Peter Lin Janezic / Anze Podlogar
6. GBR Mimi El-Khazindar / Ben Batten

Silver: NED Daan Vanormael / Vincent de Nijs

Bronze: FIN Juho Kotiranta / Akseli Kesinen

Emerald: AUS Emilia Horn / Andrew Briggs
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