Please select your home edition
Ancasta Botin Fast40

Kieler Woche 2018 - Day 1

by Andy Rice 17 Jun 2018 04:25 PDT 16-24 June 2018
Kiel Schilksee center of the world´s biggest sailing regatta ©

Sailing events don't come any bigger than Kieler Woche, Germany's legendary regatta which this year plays host to host more than 4,000 sailors from 60 nations, competing in more than 1,900 sailing boats.

However, day one of the regatta was dogged by bad weather after the heavens opened over the numerous race courses and played havoc with the breeze. Then again, the inaugural event of the brand new Women's Sailing Champions League opened well, with the international teams completing three heats in the identically matched fleet of J/70 keelboats.

Top of the pile at the end of Saturday are two Danish crews, Hellerup Sejlklub skippered by Trine Abrahamsen who scored three bullets, followed by the Royal Danish Yacht Club skippered by former Olympic representative Henriette Koch who notched up an almost perfect score of 2,1,1 in their heats.

In the 60-boat Contender fleet, two-time German Champion Volker Niediek bounced back from a bad start to take the race win after climbing through the fleet. "It was not good at the start. I was wearing new gloves which were a bit slippery and I let the mainsheet slip out of my hand." This dumped Niediek in the water but once he'd recovered his composure he used the massively changing breeze to his favour. He had a hunch about the right hand side of the beat paying and when it did, he climbed to fourth place by the windward mark. He then rode the front of a rain squall to surf into the lead and, even when the wind turned 180 degrees inside out, Niediek did just enough to cling on for the race win. "It went really well for me, even though the conditions were really difficult."

The single-trapeze boat continues to attract big numbers, even if the design by America's Cup legend Ben Lexcen is now more than 50 years old. "It's a nice boat to sail," said Niediek, "it can be handled without much effort, and has a bit more horsepower than other dinghy classes. The trapezing is challenging, but not as much as other skiffs and we have all ages represented, from youth sailors to the over seventies."

In the Hobie 16 fleet, Jens Goritz and Kerstin Wichardt won the only race of the day and came ashore with mixed feelings, both wanting to race more yet also frustrated by the wildly unpredictable conditions on the water. "I'm not sure why we were sent ashore. I thought you could sail," said Goritz said, although his crew added: "We were quite happy that we no longer had to go through those wind shifts."

Race director Dirk Ramhorst described the impossible task for the race committee to find sailable wind conditions between the weather fronts that passed over Northern Germany today. "One of the fronts caught us out. There was also a bit of thunder and rain, although with no real risk to the competitors. We then sent the competitors ashore before the second front struck, and when it arrived it was actually quite fierce." Ramhorst says the plan is to catch up with the schedule in the coming days.

There are many regattas within the regatta of Kieler Woche, such as the Women's Sailing Champions League already mentioned. Kiel also serves as the start of the Nord Stream Race, a 1,000 mile stage-race held in identical ClubSwan 50 racer-cruisers which will be racing towards St Petersburg in Russia over the coming weeks. Kieler Woche is also proud to host the World Championships for the Laser Radial Men, and the Eurosaf European Para Sailing Championship.

Kieler Woche, which takes place from 16 to 24 June, divides into two halves. The first half which began today is all about the international classes and is mostly about keen amateur sailors competing against each other. Then from Wednesday onwards is the turn for the Olympic competitors to do battle with each other. The entry lists are chock full with some of the greatest young sailors in the world, particularly so this year because many Olympic aspirants are using Kiel as their final warm-up regatta before the big event of the season, the World Sailing Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, five weeks from now. Competitors have come from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and the USA to race on the Olympic waters of Munich 1972 as they build up towards the Tokyo 2020 Games two years from now.

Related Articles

Kiel Week day 9
Logan and Oscar have won gold in Kiel Week after one of the tightest medal races ever seen Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn have won 49er gold at Kiel Week after finishing second in a very tight medal race. The conditions, couldn't have been better, with weather blowing in the teens and the air temperature up in the late 20s. Posted on 30 Jun
Kiel Week day 8
Przybytek and Kolodzinski in pole position for 49er Medal Race Lukas Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski go into Sunday's 49er Medal Race with a 1-point lead over New Zealand's Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn. Posted on 29 Jun
Kiel Week day 7
Danish bang the corner to make the best of a tricky FX day After a week of moderate to strong breeze at Kiel Week, day eight of the multi-class regatta brought much lighter winds and a significant change of pace. Posted on 28 Jun
Kiel Week day 6
'Maelle overboard' hands Nacra lead back to Kohlhoff Italy's world-beating Nacra 17 sailors were leading the race and the regatta until a woman overboard incident that has handed the advantage back to a local team.... Posted on 27 Jun
Kiel Week day 5
Phillips 49er brothers running hot in tropical Kielifornia On a hot and windy day in Kiel, the Australian Phillips brothers tore up the track to be leading the world-class 49er fleet after day one of the Olympic classes. Posted on 26 Jun
Kiel Week day 4
Hunger quenches his thirst for a 22nd title The international classes concluded the first half of Kiel Week today, with a German legend winning the 505 title after a few years in the wilderness. It was searingly hot in Kiel-Schilksee today, with temperatures touching over 30 degrees. Posted on 25 Jun
Support for emerging sailors at Kiel Week
A chance to start on the road to the Olympic Games Mariela Nikolova is from Bulgaria, Deisy Nhaquile from Mozambique. Both fulfill the criteria to receive the support for sailors from emerging nations and travelled to the Kiel Week. Posted on 25 Jun
Kiel Week day 3
Lining up for some tense showdowns Germany's world-famous regatta has been delivering some sensational sailing conditions this week, as the international classes complete their penultimate day of competition. Posted on 24 Jun
Annie Lush sailing on Einstein at Kiel Week
Annie is part of the Offshore Team Germany Ocean Race campaign "I hope to make it right and bring the boat on a good course", says Annie Lush smiling. It is a great honor for the British sailor, who is living on Mallorca, to baptize the Open 60 with the name "Einstein". Posted on 24 Jun
Kiel Week day 2
75 races in dream-like conditions Kiel Week probably needs to hold back, otherwise it might be running out of superlatives. After the perfect Saturday, a Sunday of champagne sailing did follow. And this trend is supposed to go on. Posted on 24 Jun
SOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90 BottomNaiad 660x82px_SuperyachtGul 2019 GAMMA Footer