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Kiel Week: OK European Championship, Olympic top fights and ocean racers

by Kiel Week 17 Jun 2019 22:30 PDT 22-30 June 2019
Italians are dominating in Kiel. Matilda Talluri and Guido Gallinaro were defending their leading position in the U19 ranking also in the last race. The third one of the successful trio is Cesare Barabino (picture) in the U17 ranking ©

One highlight of the Kiel Week 2019 (22. until 30. June) will be already at the start. For the start of the Aalregatta, the Welcome Race and the Kiel Cup on Saturday, 22. June from 9am, there will be also some former ocean racers, 15 catamarans and trimarans as well as the ClubSwan 50 yachts, that cannot be overlooked, among the 150 yachts on the inner fjord in Kiel.

It is the opening of a Kiel Week, that traditionally offers the whole spectrum of the sailing sport from the classics to the Olympic Nacra 17, the ClubSwan 50 to the rather short Laser 4.7, the offer of the new Olympic discipline "Double Hand Offshore Mixed" to the 2.4mR to the Youth Sailing Championships League. And on top of that, the Kiel Week also offers a great variety of social and cultural highlights. Approximately 4,000 active sailors from more than 50 nations are expected for the Kiel Week anniversary (125. edition in its 138. year).

From the Kiel Week to St. Petersburg

From 23. June until 5. July, the Nord Stream Race will take place for the eighth time with a glamorous start during the Kiel Week. Five sailing clubs from five countries will be sailing the 1000 nautical mile regatta from Kiel via Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki to St. Petersburg.

The prelude in Kiel is not to be ignored. On Saturday, the 22. June, the ClubSwan yachts will be sailing on the inner fjord among the fleet of around 150 seagoing yachts participating in the Aalregatta, the Welcome Race or the Kiel Cup at the start of this year's Kiel Week. After that they will continue on Sunday sailing to Russia on the Baltic with several stopovers. The regatta is creating a link between the countries at the Baltic - for sports and culture. The Nord Stream Race is an exceptional regatta on the Baltic Sea. The participating clubs are the winners of the national sailing leagues from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

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For the 125th anniversary, Kiel will be even more international. For the first time, the Danish Marselisborg Yacht Club/Sailing Århus has joined the organization team of the Kiel Week (22. - 30. June).

And it was agreed with World Sailing to invite active sailors from so-called "emerging nations" to the Kiel Week. World Sailing is taking over flight costs, Kiel is organising charter boats, registration fees and accommodation. Mariel Nikolova from Bulgaria and Deisy Nhaquile (Mozambique) have been invited as two sailors this year. The two Laser Radial sailors will be starting on all nine days of competition. In the first part until Tuesday, Nicolova and Nhaquile will start in the open series, after that, from Wednesday til Sunday, in the Olympic part of the Laser Radial class. "The goal is to support the active sailors from the emerging nations. It's about assistance, not the entire financing", said Nadine Stegenwalner, who as Vice President of World Sailing is responsible to strengthen the worldwide sailing sport. The national association has to nominate the athletes. "We want to help the talents to proof themselves in the continental qualifier races and maybe participate at the Olympics. But there will be no Wild Card, of course", stated Stegenwalner. The two athletes will be looked after by Rob Holden in Kiel, the Training Manager of World Sailing.

The third approach for more internationalization is the closer cooperation with the European association EUROSAF in the areas of jury and race committee. "This year we will extend our exchange program and invite more jury members as well as more race officers to the Young Europeans Sailing and the Kiel Week", said Dirk Ramhorst.

Promoting inclusion

The close cooperation between the Kiel Week and the former Paralympic boat class 2.4mR remains unchanged. The class was first admitted to the Kiel Week in 2002; since 2008 it is being sailed as an open class. Internationally the integration of the Para World Sailing Championships at the Kiel Week 2017 was taken by with huge interest and brought much praise from the international sailing world. "It is one of our main objectives that sailing will be part again. There is no sports being more suitable for inclusion", said Kim Andersen, President of World Sailing, looking at the Paralympics. The starting signal from Kiel aiming at fhe IPC cannot have been overheard, states the highest representative of the sailing sport. "Many thanks to Germany, many thanks to Kiel." "We need an inclusive society with fully barrier-free environments enabling people with disabilities to do sports and experience safe and fair involvement." Kiel can offer all that in the barrier-free marina in Schilksee, explained Andersen.

It fits to our Kiel Week image, that there will be also a "Mixed Inclusion Trophy" for the first time this year. The team ranking was initiated by Ulli Libor (NRV). The double Olympic medal winner (1968 silver, 1972 bronze in the FD with Peter Naumann) and current boss of the 2.4mR class is standing up for the inclusion class always bringing forward new ideas. The IMMAC group is sponsoring the trophy. The notice of race is for a mixed team consisting of a woman with disabilities, a man with disabilities and a man without disabilities. "At the moment one team from Great Britain and three teams from Germany have registered", said Libor.

Strong competitors in the 49er

In the 49er, the duel like 2016 for the German ticket to the Olympics has long become a fight of three teams. Tim Fischer/Fabian Graf (NRV) have joined the bronze medal winners from 2016 and current World Cup winners from Miami, Erik Heil/Thomas Ploessel, and Justus Schmidt/Max Boehme (Kiel/European Champions 2015). The sailors from Hamburg could qualify for the national German ticket at the World Championships in Århus (Denmark), where they won the bronze medal, one place before Heil/Ploessel. The three German crews, who just became fourth, fifth and tenth at the Europeans, will meet the winners from the previous year in Kiel, Jonas Warrer/Jacob Jensen. For the Danish sailors, Kiel 2018 was only the third regatta sailing together. Warren, Olympic winner from 2008, now has found the routine with the 20-year old Scotsman, even if rank 19 at the Worlds on their home territory in Århus was not really meeting their expectations. Lukasz Przybytek/Pawel Kolodzinski (Poland), who became third last year in Kiel and sixth at the Europeans this year, have also registered to come to Kiel. Hot candidates for the victory in Kiel are Sime and Mihovil Fantela from Croatia, who did win the Worlds' title in Århus.

The trainings partners Schmidt/Boehme also belong to the candidates to win a medal. Diego Botin/Lopez Marra (Spain) and James Peters/Fynn Steritt (Great Britain) are among the 74 competitors from 27 nations, fighting together with Schmidt/Boehme for the Kiel Week victory. At the Europeans at the midth of May, the sailors from Great Britain did finish on rank two and the Spanish team did finish on rank three in the overall European ranking and were thus before the German competitors. When fighting for the Olympic ticket, hopes are pinned on the Spanish sailors in their home country, while Peters/Sterritt have extremely strong competitors. Dylan Fletcher/Stuart Bithell are the current European Champions (only Peter Burling/Blair Tuke from New Zealand have been faster).

America's Cup Glamour in the 49er

Wherever they are showing up, they are the favorites: Peter Burling and Blair Turke.The sailors from New Zealand are a class of its own. At the Olympics in London, they won silver, four years later gold in Rio and in between 2013 and 2016 all four World Championship titles as well as 27 regattas in a row. They have been the unbeatables. And the flag bearer of the national team from New Zealand in Rio 2016 and Sailor of the Year 2015 and 2017 is topping that even more. Burling wins the America's Cup in 2017 with the Emirates Team New Zealand as the youngest skipper of all times. After that the participation in the Ocean Race followed and rank three with Brunel. More is not possible. The success story of the 27-year old exceptional sailor is nearly endless. Burling is already on the list of the World Champions in the 420 as a 15-year old - of course as the youngest World Champion of all times. Further successes at the Worlds and medals in the 420, the Moth and the Youth America's Cup did follow...

In 2016 Burling/Tuke took part in the Kiel Week regatta and won. The favourite for 2019 seems to be pretty clear.

In the Nacra17, Paul Kohlhoff/Alica Stuhlemmer and Johannes Polgar/Carolina Werner, hoping to go to Japan for Germany, will meet the duo Iker Martinez (2013 Kiel Week winner with Tara Pacheco) and Olga Maslivets (Spain). After the gold medal (2004 in Athens) and silver (2008 Beijing) the former Sailor of the Year is now looking for a new challenge in the Nacra17. The four-time Olympic participant Olga Maslivets is a crew with Olympic experience for the Spaniard. Orinally from the Crimea, the female sailor, who participated in the Olympics four times as a surfer and became fourth in London 2012, first started for Ukraine, after the takeover of the Crimea by Russia and now she is starting for Spain.

Thomas Zajac/Barbara Matz from Austria have also been in the front rows in the previous years in Kiel. The bronze medal winners in Rio did win the Kiel Week in 2017 and became second last year.

In the Laser Radial of the women, the big favourite is coming from Denmark. The bronze medal winner from Rio and winner of last year's Kiel Week, Anne-Marie Rindom, did finish on rank three at the Worlds on her home territory in Århus and at the Olympics. She thus has a placement on the podium almost for granted. Winning the title at the European Championships in May she was again demonstrating her abilities.

Two titles in one go

By defending the title of Kiel Week winner in the OK dinghy, Jan Kurfeld would have the title as European Champion at the same time, because the international class is sailing its European Championship during the Kiel Week. The favorite in Kiel is star gold medal winner Frederik Loof (Schweden).

The junior class 420 is another one of the 15 international classes showing up at the Kiel Week, regularly showing up with one of the biggest fleets. This year, participants' numbers might even grow, since the European sailing association will have the finals of the EUROSAF 420 Circuits at the Kiel Week (since Thursday, 27. June).

Champion League for the young generation

With the Youth Sailing Champions League (22. until 24. June) the best young sailors of the European league clubs will be meeting eachother during the Kiel Week. Up to two teams from all countries having a national sailing league, are entitled to start. Denmark, Germany and Italy, which have already their own youth league, are allowed to nominate three teams. So far 28 clubs from eleven countries have registered.

German campaign for the Ocean Race

Two decades after the last German participation and the triumph of the "Illbruck" and 20 years after the legendary finish in Kiel, the German colors shall be represented again for the first time at the race around the world 2021/22 for the Ocean Marathon. Star boat World Champion Robert Stanjek as Team Captain and Team Manager Jens Kuphal are the engines of the projects and have established the structures of the Offshore Team Germany (OTG), which will participate in the next edition of "The Ocean Race".

Ocean Race atmosphere at the Welcome Race?

New hopes for a German participation in "The Ocean Race "could bring back the glamour of Ocean Race yachts to Kiel. After the baptism of the Imoca60 of the Offshore Team Germany at the day before the start of the Kiel Week, skipper Robert Stanjek and his crew will be starting at the Welcome Race. In the wake of the future circumnavigators, yachts of the Ocean Race past could also sail from Kiel to Eckernfoerde.

The makers of the future edition "The Ocean Race" are planning to do a promotion tour with two VO65 yachts through Europe - a visit to Kiel and Gothenburg are on the tour schedule for the summer. And on top of that the "CJ Legend" has its mooring in Kiel since this year. The 72 feet boat sailed the Whitbread Round the World race in 1989 and is now offering tours on the Baltic Sea. And the Welcome Race is in the focus there. And even the former "Illbruck", the German winning sailing yacht from the race 2001/02 is still sailing on the Baltic. The agency Speedsailing from Rostock is going on tour with it. The way to Kiel is only a short distance. A meeting of the Ocean Racers from all generations for the start of the Kiel Week seems to be possible.

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