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The eternally young traditional class

Gold Cup of the Nordic Folkboats as a championship highlight at the Kiel Week

For 80 years now, the Nordic Folkboats have been shaping the picture on northern European regattas. Robustly defying every strong wind even on open seas, they beat upwind with a huge mainsail and small jib against steep waves – 1.8 nautical miles long. These are the traditional rules of the unofficial World Championship. To mark the class’s milestone birthday, the Gold Cup 2022 will be held at Kiel Week from June 17 to 21.

A man standing on a sailing boatGold Cup defender Per Jørgensen and his Danish crew at Kiel Week 2017.

When the Lübeck consul Hagelstein donated the first, 800-gram cup made of pure gold in 1963, the time of the Kieler Yacht-Club (KYC) immediately started in Travemünde. Because the Gold Cup of the Nordic Folkboats is – like the America’s Cup – a competition of the clubs. It was kept in a safe and was not allowed to be engraved; the winners list is on a parchment roll. Bruno Splieth signed in first with handball legend Hein Dahlinger and Frieder Heinzel in the “Daddel” crew. At the same time, he donated a wooden Folkboat given for the winners to the youth sailors of the KYC.

Three sailing boatsNordic Folkboats in wing-on-wing style in the international part at Kiel Week 2018.

As a result, the stronghold of keelboats on the Kiel Fjord, where around 150 ships are registered in the Kiel fleet, has been strengthened. For Kiel Week 2022, KYC is hosting the Gold Cup for the fifth time after 1975, 1977, 1980 and 1988. After the Gold Cup was cancelled twice due to pandemic, those responsible want to pick up where they left in 2019. Back then 53 Crews take part in Aarhus when Denmark’s Per Jørgensen became the Cup’s defending champion by half a meter at the finish line. “We have set ourselves a target with a minimum of 50 entries,” says Sönke Durst, Sports Director of the German Folkboat Association. By the end of April, 39 crews had already registered, many from Denmark as well as Sweden, Finland, Great Britain and Estonia in addition to the host country.

Three men sitting on a boatAt Kiel Week 2018 in the yellow jersey of the leaders: German Folkboat Sports Director Sönke Durst at the helm, here with Marc Rokicki and Ulrich Schaefer crewing.

“We have scheduled the Nordic Folkboats as a championship highlight in the first part of Kiel Week on course Foxtrott,” says Head of Organization Dirk Ramhorst, “and we want to celebrate the Gold Cup with a ceremonial march-in of the nations to the hot rhythms of a samba band.” The measurement already starts on Friday (June 17) prior Kiel Week, before up to eight races are scheduled on four racing days until Tuesday (June 21).

Among the local co-favourites is the “Ylva” trio under helmsman Ulf Kipcke, who won the Gold Cup for KYC in 2000 and 2015 after Horst-Stefan Schulze aka Mozart (1990). “Everyone has sailed less than usual for two seasons now, but we train every Tuesday, and our boat is in perfect shape,” says crew member and father Dieter Kipcke, looking forward to the home race. Sparring partner Walter Furthmann and his “Paula” team from the Strander Yacht Club are also to be reckoned with, he says.

Three men sitting on a boatHelmsman Ulf Kipcke from Kieler Yacht-Club and his team of “Ylva” are aiming for their third Gold Cup victory.

Sönke Durst, who at least already achieved “bronze” at the Gold Cup with the “hasta la vista” for the Laboe Regatta Club, is still courting more of the best active sailors from Great Britain. Additional incentive for the long journey offers the Trudelmauspokal on the weekend before (June 11/12) as warm-up in Laboe at the opposite Kiel Fjord coast. This was already a feeder regatta four years ago. And the Kiel Week was won in 2018 by Sönke Durst. Perhaps bronze can become gold after all.

Many sailing boatsClassics beating upwind – the Nordic Folkboats hold the Gold Cup at Kiel Week as their unofficial World Championship.

All pictures by: Kieler Woche/christianbeeck.de 

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