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Dream start for 8 international classes at Kiel Week

by Andreas Kling 22 Jun 2023 13:06 PDT 17-25 June 2023
The 168 junior 29er skiffs started their Euro Cup series regatta at Kiel Week in four groups on two courses © Kiel Week /

After the Olympic disciplines were completed Wednesday eight international boat classes took over the reigns on Kiel's regatta courses on Thursday (22 June). In light easterlywinds and sunshine, they all sailed three races each - the full planned programme.

The 165 strong 29er fleet is split into four flights for the qualifying stages for their Eurocupseries regatta. Two fleet leaders count two firsts and a discard. Ewa Lewandowska and hercrew Leon Sapijaszko from Poland have the same scoreline as Irish siblings Clementine andNathan van Steenberge. The 29er Eurocup overall silver medallists last year top their fleetafter two wins and a third today. Norway's Storm Kopperud and Philipp Forslund are thirdone point short due to a DPI after the first day.

"It was a pretty tough day to start with as the pressure was coming down the course ondifferent sides, it was really all about linking up the pressure and sailing a simple race. Thelast race we had some difficulties at the windward mark but other than it all went to plan."Said crew Nathan. The duo were at Kiel Week last year and finished 15th.

"We have done an awful lot of training and racing since then so we are hopeful of a top 5here." Said the 19-year-old from the National YC on Dublin Bay.

While the 29er Irish siblings have sailed together a year and Nathan has four years in the 29er under his belt, the Spanish leaders of the Flying Dutchman class Fran Martinez and Pepe Ruiz share sixty years of service in the former Olympic high performance class.

They already made the long drive from Cadiz in the south of Spain worthwhile when they opened their first ever visit to Kiel with two wins and a seventh. Martinez is from Torreviejo on the Mediterranean and has raced the FD for 40 years and Ruiz from Cadiz on the Atlantic coast has 'only' 20 years crewing in the Flying Dutchman.

"It was light today but great racing on the Baltic. It is fantastic. We come here to race at the best level and it is. We have done the worlds in Germany and finished 13th when they were in Spain we were third. We love the class and racing here." Smiled crew Ruiz.

Germany's Max Billerbeck as more than 10 Kiel Weeks under his belt in the Contender and a best place finish of third. He opened his account with two wins and a third to hold the early lead. Australia's Mark Bulka lies fourth, counting two thirds.

"The last race was my best, the first two starts were bad. This is a good fleet and everyone can sail so it is not easy to be consistent." Billerbeck said. Germany's Paul Ulrich has a perfect scoreline the ILCA 6 open fleet whilst GBR's John Emmetis fourth after the first day in a field of 146.

In the German J/70 championships three races were sailed for the 53 strong fleet. German 470 helm Malte Winkel racing this week in the one design keelboat with Theres Dahnk e lead after Day 1 counting a first and a second. Michael Grau and Carsten Kemmling and their crews are second and third. Winkel noted: "If you mess up the start like we did in the third race, it's a lot of hard work in this class to get back to the front." Michael Grau, 2019 German Champion and German Open winner in 2021, felt the same.

After their 1, 3, 3, Grau said their boat speed is good but their tactician Florian Thoelen added, "It wasn't easy to steer with the small waves and with a lot of seaweed on the course."

Racing continues until Sunday (25 June).

View full results

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