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Kiel Week 2019 - Day 2: 75 races in dream-like conditions

by Kiel Week 24 Jun 2019 03:41 PDT 22-30 June 2019
The largest fleet starts are the Laser Radial on day 2 of Kiel Week © Christian Beeck /

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.

For the participants in the eleven international classes on the triangular courses, the Sunday was in any case a splashing pleasure. A steady easterly with F4-5 did cause considerable waves in the bay of Strande. A speed rush on the spinnaker and gennaker runs down the waves was guaranteed, but it was also a strenuous day. Especially on the inner courses, the waves rolled in from the east meeting the crossing waves of the shipping channel and the accompanying regatta boats, so the upwind course became hard labour. And with 75 starts overall, the race organizers on the different race courses and start groups did deliver a huge program.

At the European Championship of the OK dinghy, the duel between the two-time World Champion Fredrik Lööf (Sweden) and Jan Kurfeld (Wismar) is continuing - with a clear advantage for the Swedish sailor. The leading sailor in the world ranking is leaving no doubt with his scores, that he wants to defend his European's title from the previous year. A fifth place is now Lööf's discard result. After that followed three firsts and one second. Jan Kurfeld did manage a win at the start. But after that he always was behind Lööf in the ranking. But with six points difference in the middle of the championship, the fight for the title is not yet decided. Jan says, "I did start too defensively, after having been disqualified for early starts at the Worlds. Afterwards, I always made my way forward. The speed is fine, I am on the same level with Freddy here. The motto for the next two days is: Attack!"

After a dry period of six years, it is looking good for Wolfgang Hunger (Strande) to again win the 505s in Kiel Week. And he can rely on the support of Holger Jess (Eckernfoerde). The two sailed together between 1997 and 2007 in the 505 with seven victories. Afterwards they took separate ways. Hunger did win six times with Julien Kleiner after that, Jess did win twice more with Meike Schomaeker and Michael Quirk. Since the Worlds this January, Hunger/Jess are again a team - apparently a success combination. After six races with four victories they are clearly showing the international competitors from six nations their transom. "In the first race we did not have the optimum speed, but after that we can be very satisfied", said Hunger, and Jess added: "If you have been sailing together for such a long time, it is easier to adapt again to each other. In all-round conditions it's going very well." Wolfgang Hunger implied, that the possible 22nd victory in Kiel is of some importance for him: "The last Kiel Week title is already a while back. So we are trying hard."

The clean record of Heiko Kroeger (Hamburg) in the 2.4mR did get a small mark in the sixth race. After five victories in a row, the Paralympic sailor from 2000 got trapped in a duel with the two-time Olympic medal winner Ulli Libor (Hamburg) at the end of the second day. So they lost sight of Antti Kokkala on the other side of the course. The sailor from Finland used the chance to slip through and bring home the victory before Kroeger and Libor. But this changed nothing in the clear overall lead of Kroeger followed by Kalle Dehler (Greifswald), Kokkala and Libor.

Youth Sailing Champions League

"In general we did pick up well," Konstantin Steidle, Finn Kenter, Tom Lembcke and Patrick Hasse from the Bodensee (Lake Constance) Yacht Club Ueberlingen were happy about the second day of the Youth Sailing Champions League, which takes place at the Kiel Week. After eleven races, they were in second overall with two points less than the leading team. "We did not make big mistakes," summed up the four sailors. After each race you know what you could have done better. But: "We often go into the right direction and are not slow." With a small mistake with a false start in the last race they lost the lead in the overall ranking for now. Tomorrow, on the last day for the J70 youth teams, they are hoping for a lot of wind. Their goal is the finals and to defend the title. While Konstantin and Patrick have already been sailing the Youth Sailing Champions League together last year and won it, to defend the title, they have two new team members on board - Tom and Finn - but despite not much training they are already an experienced team.

Nord Stream Race

The Nord Stream Race 2019 started in Kiel. Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder joined the Nord Stream Race Regatta and officially opened the international competition when he fired the starting gun. The international fleet got under way with a spectacular start, as the competitors begin their battle towards Copenhagen. The 50 sailors on five racing yachts are expecting a hard competition in strong wind without sleep, as they sail along at top speed during another very short night.

The good wishes that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder had addressed to the yachtsmen at the gala dinner the evening before were well received by the sailors. On the rough and cold Baltic Sea each team is highly and professionally focused; everyone wants to win and post the first important points on the scoreboard.

Shortly before the start, Sven-Erik Horsch, the skipper from Team Germany gave an insight into the tension among the teams: "Everyone is very excited now. It will be tough. We try to keep the emotions out of it and approach the challenge very professionally. But we will speak about emotions in Copenhagen again, and maybe I will tell a completely different story after the strong race we're about to experience tonight."

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