Tornado Speed Sailing - Audi Sailing Arena, Kiel Week
by Andrew Dowley on 29 Jun 2011
Tornado Speed Sailing - Audi Sailing Arena, Kieler Woche.
Tornado Speed Sailing - Kieler Woche 2011 © Claus C Plaass
Close to the large crowds and starting on time in every wind condition, the Formula 1 of sailing, the ultra fast Tornado catamaran held a total of 27 short, action packed races in a seven day period during this famous sailing regatta.
The event, held in the Audi Sailing arena in the centre of Kiel proved difficult due to the unfortunate light winds and therefore the Tornados were not flying around as intended. However, Friday provided gusts of 30 knots which allowed the sailors to pull enough stunts which were then rewarded with standing ovations from the audience.
The Audi Sailing Arena was the only race course at Kieler Woche close to the land where the audience could get involved with the racing, seeing every move the sailors made. Live tracking was also provided for them to watch the progress on the big screen. The concept worked, even with the heavy shipping traffic passing through the race course. The audience were holding their breath while watching the maneuvers the sailors made to avoid collisions adding more action and thrills.
Every day German TV stations were creating reports on the Tornado in the Audi Sailing Arena. Unfortunately, the live TV reception antenna was hit by bad weather on the first day putting it out of action for the rest of the week. Before that the eight Tornados were being streamed live onto the Internet.
On the journey between the boat park and the Audi Sailing Arena the Tornado sailors took guests of the sponsors and partners of Kieler Woche for a ride they won't forget. Around 80 people took part during the seven days. Every guest put on a trapeze harness and flew over the waves hanging out the side of the Tornado. It was a great experience and an unforgettable adrenaline rush for the lucky few who came on board.
The sailors made good money from entertaining the guests and taking them sailing on the Tornado.
We also had the return of a Tornado legend, Dr. Rene Schwall for the second half of the week. He has not raced the Tornado since the Olympics and winning his bronze medal in Sydney. Lack of experience since 2000 didn't stop him taking victory in two of the races.
Rene sailed with Odefey Maren, one of the many new female sailors in the Tornado Class.
Since the announcement of a Mixed Multihull the Tornado Class has attracted many new female sailors who want to follow in the footsteps of Carolijn Brouwer, sailing as part of a Mixed Tornado team at the Olympic Games.
Winner of the Kieler Woche 2011 were the team of Heiko Soehl and Thomas Noll (GER), who sailed well throughout the series, a well deserved victory after 27 races. They were crowned champions just before the Saga concert. This team have already successfully sailed together for years and can now sail their career with a crowning victory during Kieler Woche.
Team Gaebler, current World Champions were second at the end of the event. They were unfortunate and were hit with a material failure on the last day of practice which destroyed their boat, luckily this was then hastily repaired over two days. The Tornado World Championship winning boat is now not usable in future events and they are on the hunt for a new Tornado for the upcoming Tornado Championships.
Overall the outcome of the Kieler Woche Speed Sailing was terrific. In every race the crowds were shown fantastic sailing action and entertainment. Together with Audi and the Kieler Woche partners and a dedicated team from the Kiel Yacht Club, we have successfully delivered a World premiere set to the spectators and media alike. It was a great success for all involved.
Kieler Woche website
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