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Kieler Woche 2021 - Part II Update

by Kieler Woche 10 Sep 06:43 PDT 5-11 September 2021
Sebastian Kördel lived up to his role as the top favourite in the iQ Foilers and was only narrowly beaten in one of five races. © ChristianBeeck.de

After a nine-year break, windsurfing is back at Kieler Woche. 24 athletes from five nations are competing for victory in the new Olympic iQ Foil class (2024 in Paris) for women and men.

The first leaders are Sebastian Kördel, who lives in Tarifa, Spain, and Theresa Steinlein from Germany. In the former Laser Radial, now still Olympic class as ILCA 6 for women, Agata Barwinska from Poland leads unbeaten ahead of Hannah Snellgrove from Great Britain. Julia Büsselberg (Berlin) is third.

In a good ten knots of wind from easterly directions, the surfers completed five races and the women four, because their last one was abandoned when the breeze dropped. Sebastian Kördel ahead of Nico Prien, both surfing for the same club Norddeutscher Regatta Verein Hamburg, are in the lead. Kördel managed a start-finish victory four times. Only the third race was won by the pursuer. Fabian Wolf from the German sailing associations junior squad follows in third place. The trio almost always pulled away from the field right at the start and fought out the top placings among themselves. "The wind was excellent, but at the beginning we had a lot of seaweed on the course that hindered us," reported Nico Prien.

Theresa Steinlein in front of Sophia Meyer

For the favourite Lena Erdil (GER), things did not go optimally. She struggled with technical problems right from the start and was only able to deliver her usual performance in the last race with a win on the day. With a one-point lead, Theresa Steinlein took first place ahead of Sophia Meyer, both Germans. Just one point behind Meyer, Finland's Aleksandra Blinnikka surfed into third place, both also claiming one race win each. "For me, the light wind was optimal because I am relatively lightweight," said Steinlein with satisfaction.

Julia Büsselberg wears the purple jersey of the third best sailor in the Olympic ILCA 6 class on Friday. The Berlin-based sailor improved from eleventh to fourth to third at the start of the second leg of Kiel Week 2021 and is so far living up to her own expectations. "My season went very well," said the 21-year-old, "I also want to finish on the podium here." Büsselberg won the Swedish and Spanish International Championships as well as Warnemünde Week and claimed a top ten finish at the World Cup.

She does not consider Poland's Agata Barwinska, last year's European Championship bronze medallist, who is leading with a flawless clean sheet, to be unbeatable. "In the first race I was too clumsy at the windward mark and got three 360 penalty turns," said the best German, "after that I couldn't keep up with her." Afterwards, both sailors went through the leeward gate at the same time and "Agata was lucky on the right side with a wind shift." In the non-Olympic men's competition, Ole Schweckendieck from Kiel is leading.

Big discards weigh on the competition

Hannah Snellgrove from Great Britain is in second place overall with two second places, but already has a 16th place as a discard. Even more "baggage" is carried by fourth-placed Mirthe Akkerman (Netherlands), a black flag disqualification.

Only 13-year-old Anton Sach and his 16-year-old brother Johann caused a small sensation on the first day of the 29er Euro Cup. The duo from Lübecker Yacht Club won the first race of the yellow group and followed it up with second and fourth place. This puts the two from Northern Germany third behind the leading Danish brothers Jens-Christof and Jens-Philip Dehn-Toftehøj and equal on points with Robbert Huisman/Frank Boer from the Netherlands.

Victory on the day at the premiere "already a cool feeling"

"It was a cool feeling to cross the finish line first," said Johann Sach, "but our strongest race came afterwards." There they were only tenth on the starting cross, but consistently worked their way forward. Fourth place at the end is also something to be proud of - on the first Kieler Woche ever for the two sons of Christian and nephews of Helge Sach, who already won Kieler Woche for the first time 40 years ago in the 470. "On Friday, we will meet the Danes in the group," Johann Sach is looking forward to the comparison. His counterpart, the crew, is already 23 and recently won World Championship bronze in Valencia, Spain.

The top crew in the fiercely contested J/70 class around skipper Carsten Kemmling was initially "off course" in the first race and finished only 20th. "We had fitted a new mast mount after the European Championships, which obviously deflected the compass," analysed the Hamburg-based sailor, "one of several construction sites", which was only enough for midfield. A wind shift on the first upwind beat did the rest, "and then we couldn't really move forward in the strong competition."

Two day wins with old compass holder

The team then shone with two start-finish victories and took over the overall lead, as the worst race is already discarded after three races. "It was actually quite easy then," said Kemmling, "we got off to a good start and were already ahead at the windward mark." However, the thick discards on their backs put the team under pressure from then on not to allow themselves any further slip-ups.

Karsunke in front with 1, 1, 2

A minimal supremacy was established by Stefan Karsunke and his crew in the J/24 class. However, after two bullets, Fabian Damm & Co. managed to show the tail to their opponents. The gap in the overall standings is only one point. Third is the six-headed women's crew with Lynn Wolgast at the helm (all Hamburg, Germany).

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