by Event media
The world's elite of Olympic sailing will be meeting for the 127 years old Kieler Woche (20-28 June). A total of seven top athletes of ISAF Sailing World Cup (SWC) ranking list have entered for Kiel to defend or improve their placings.
Among them, gold medallist Anna Tunicliffe (USA/Laser Radial) and Paul Goodison (GBR/Laser) as well as the British Star boat sailors Ian Percy/Andrew Simpson.
'Even if after an Olympic year many sailors taking it easy, new crews setting up or others completely finishing as the Peckholt brothers, entry lists still reflecting not only quantity but also high quality', says Jobst Richter, Chairman of Kieler Woche Race Committee who presented a 'Kieler Woche of highlights' at the press conference in the newly restored Kiel Yacht-Club-Hotel.
Kieler Woche has even more to offer: three high class international championships (the X-35 Worlds, the X-41 Europeans and the SAP Europeans of the 505), the debut of the new Olympic women's class Elliott 6m and the virtual Kieler Woche online are the highlights of this year's Kieler Woche which again brings together all varieties of the sport from cutter sailing to surfboard, dinghy, offshore yacht up to the integration of disabled sailors and the famous windjammer parade.
On the starting line: three times gold and a German youngster
The ISAF Sailing World Cup (SWC) brought to life and presented in Kiel last year will without a doubt be this year's sporting highlight during Kieler Woche 2009. The cup comes back and the sailing world is looking at Kiel where for the first time also the new Olympic boat class 'Elliott 6m' will be hosted within the event.
A total of 22 crews from 11 nations have entered. Lucy Macgregor (GBR) in the leading position of ISAF SWC ranking list, second placed Mary Rook (GBR) as well as Australian Katie Spithill and Olympic-Fourth Ulrike Schümann who finished second at ISAF SWC in Medemblik/Netherlands, are well-known favourites.
But besides the Schümann-crew and the experienced match race sailor Silke Hahlbrock (6th place at the Worlds 2008), a third German crew is fighting for match race recognition: Svenja and Janika Puls together with Nele-Marie Bock.
Together with the other Olympic disciplines the womens' match race will also begin on Friday, 19 June with a practise race. First start will then be on Saturday at 11 am. All Olympic classes will be racing until Wednesday, 24 June. From Thursday, 25 June until Sunday, 28 June the International classes will be on the starting line. Offshore races will take place from 20-28 June.
Besides match race other classes including the Laser Radial, Laser, Finn and Star have a strong field of competitors in Kiel as well. Best chances of winning in the Laser Radial class should be gold medallist (Qingdao/2008) Anna Tunicliffe (USA). As current leader of the SWC ranking list she will compete against second placed Tina Mihelic (CRO) as well as third placed Page Railey (USA).
In the Laser class gold medallist (Qingdao/2008) Paul Goodison will be meeting SWC first placed Nic Thompson (both GBR).
Finn-sailor Edward Wight (GBR) is not only in the leading position of the SWC ranking list but is also winner of Kieler Woche 2008. He will be sailing against silver medallist (Qingdao/2008) Zac Railey (USA) and silver medallist (Athens/2004) Rafael Trujillo (ESP) who also finished last year's Kieler Woche as second.
Stars in the Starboat - German fleet is on its way
As every year in the Star class it will be a reunion of the best. Due to the European Championship taking place in Kiel two weeks later, the Star-elite will be in Kiel for three weeks. Olympic Champion Ian Percy/Andrew Simpson (GBR), leader of the SWC ranking list Xavier Rohart/Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA/bronze medal 2004), Andrew Macdonald/Brian Faith (USA/second of SWC ranking list) as well as European Champion Marc Mendelblatt/Marc Strube (USA) - all entered at an early stage.
The twofold gold medallist Robert Scheidt/Bruno Prada (BRA), the Swedes Fredrik Lööf and Johann Tillander (bronze 2008) might be joining the group of competitors.
Also the strong German fleet has hopes to finish successfully: Alexander Schlonski/Frithjof Kleen (NRV/third of SWC in Medemblik/Netherlands), European Champion of 2008 Robert Stanjek/Markus Koy (Berlin/Hamburg/NRV), youngsters Johannes Babendererde/Timo Jacobs (Lübeck/NRV), Matthias Miller/Benedikt Wenk (Constance/VSaW) as well as the new constellation of Olympic participant (Tornado) Johannes Polgar and America's Cup participant Tim Kröger (Hamburg/NRV).