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11th ACO Musto Skiff World Championships during Kiel Week - Preview

by Andreas Kling 15 Jun 2022 09:15 PDT 18-26 June 2022
Germany's best Musto skipper, Iver Ahlmann, is a force to be reckoned with in light winds on the Kiel Fjord © Sascha Klahn

Around 50 of the world's best single-handed sailors will come to the fjord to crown a new champion. In the second part of Kiel Week, parallel to the Olympic classes, the 11th ACO Musto Skiff World Championships will start. The top favourites come from Great Britain and South Africa.

When the Kiel boat builder and designer Dr. Joachim Harpprecht, alias Schappi, designed a fast planing dinghy for solo artists with trapeze and gennaker at the end of the last millennium following a call for tenders from the World Sailing Federation, the immunobiologist with a PhD had no idea that the Musto Skiff would return to its birthplace a good 22 years later for the World Class Championships. The original prototype of the skiff from 2000 is still in the Olympic harbour of Kiel-Schilksee today.

Great Britain remained the stronghold of the Musto Skiff, but above all Australia, whose sailors have to refrain from participating with a heavy heart due to the long, unclear pandemic situation and the horrendous container transport costs. "We will miss the Aussies, but we will present a first-class business card to the rest of the elite with the Kiel Week venue and the festive conditions," says the regatta representative of the national class association, Ralf Bussing, with conviction.

Of about 70 active sailors in Germany, more than two thirds are attending, including a steady stream of newcomers.

Their best has long held his own among the international elite, was runner-up in the European Championships back in 2011 and won Kiel Week 2020. Iver Ahlmann has since stood behind the Musto Skiffs like no other. As managing partner of the Büdelsdorf-based ACO Group, a leading international company for drainage technology and wastewater treatment, Ahlmann and his father Hans-Julius can look back on ten years of title sponsorship of the Musto Skiff World Championships. When the title bouts were awarded to Kiel for the anniversary after the Covid-related interruptions, the Ahlmann family did not hesitate to also support Kiel Week as a sponsor.

"Our claim has recently been 'we care for water', which fits very well with sailing," explains Iver Ahlmann, "and sustainability, which is also emphasised by Kiel Week, has always been ideal for our values." Three customer events during the regatta week, each with 30 guests, run under the motto "not only canapés, but also oilskins". Sailing on J/70 boats is the focus. With speedboats, visits to the Musto Skiffs regatta course are also planned. Because everyone wants to know how the ACO boss is doing.

Due to a lack of time, he considers his preparation "more like damage limitation" and does not have too many ambitions. Having become a father for the fourth time six months ago, plus building a house, Iver Ahlmann simply has other priorities besides managing the business. But he still wants to squeeze in a few training sessions, "otherwise I won't last through the races."

In the absence of defending champion Bruce King, Ahlmann sees the British Jamie Hilton, Dan Vincent and Robbie Wilson as the favourites, along with sailing pro Peter Greenhalgh and South African Andy Tarboton, the international class president. Strong-wind specialist Paul Dijkstra from the Netherlands is yet to win a major title.

They all, on the other hand, admire the sophisticated technique of Iver Ahlmann, who weighs only 68 kilograms and can always be counted on to be far ahead in light winds.

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