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Offshore title fights on world championship courses

Whether Kiel-Cup with the Up&Down races and Coastal races or the long distance Silbernes Band: Kiel Week (June 17 to 25) offshore races correspond 1:1 to the courses of the ORC World Championship (August 4 to 12) on the exact same grounds. "There can’t be a better general rehearsal for the World Championships," says PRO Offshore Eckart Reinke (Kieler Yacht-Club).

Owner Michael Berghorn brings a second professional on board to reinforce his "Halbtrocken 4.5" crew. Photo: Christian Beeck/Kieler Woche

Reinke still expects an enormous run on the long distance overnight race from Friday to Saturday. He expects about 50 participants and a highlight in terms of competition. Because those who take part in the weekend races, the Aalregatta and the Silbernes Band, hardly have to take a vacation for it, says the 58-year-old.

50 starters in the Kiel-Cup and 25 entries in the Silbernes Band left room for improvement in terms of quantity five weeks before the competition. The quality was different: All three Kiel-Cup winners from two years ago, the "Halbtrocken 4.5" (Michael Berghorn/KYC/Miles 45 Custom/ORC I), the "Sydbank" (Torsten Bastiansen/Flensborg Yacht-Club/X-35/ORC II) and the IMMAC-Fram (Kai Mares/KYC/Italia 9. 98/ORC III/IV), as well as the Kiel Week winners of 2022, the "Intermezzo" (Jens Kuphal/Berliner YC/Landmark 43/ORC I/II) and the "Halbtrocken" (Knut Freudenberg/SV Flensburg/First 36.7/ORC III/IV).

This year, the World Championship will give an enormous boost to the German offshore scene, Bertil Balser, chairman of the German Regatta Association for Offshore Sailing, is certain. "MaiOR, Kiel Week and probably also the IDM in Travemünde will benefit from the World Championship in Germany," says the North Sails man, who is stepping aboard the "Intermezzo".

Not yet present at the MaiOR, Jens Kuphal from Berlin steers his co-favorite Landmark 43 "Intermezzo" to the Kiel Week and wants to win the Kiel Cup. Photo: Christian Beeck/Kieler Woche

When he competes, he is one of the favorites: Michael Berghorn. The Hamburg native, who starts for Kieler Yacht-Club, is the 2021 World Champion as well as the 2022 European Champion. "We already experienced the strong competition at the season opener ahead of Kiel," Berghorn is cautious with regard to Kiel Week and continues to upgrade. Regular crew member Jes Gram Hansen from Denmark is joined by Frans Hinfelaar (Netherlands) as the second professional on board the "Halbtrocken 4.5". The match race specialist has a name especially in the J-Class.

"In addition to the ORC highlights, I still have a few J/70 regattas on the schedule. It’s going to be a really hot season," says Berghorn, who founded the club Halbtrocken Sailing e.V. and has provided it with two J/70s - after all, he is also using the initiative for his own recruitment of young talent, including at the first Corinthian World Amateur Championships on Lake Garda (June 01 to 04).

This year, Knut Freudenberg is also on the water a lot with his "halbtrocken" - without 4.5, although the Flensburg native belongs to the Corinthians, in other words, the amateurs. "If someone on board wants to get money, I will quit. We want to have fun together," says Freudenberg, who loves double hand and full crew equally. "We’ll sail straight from the Double Handed European Championships from Elsinore to Kiel Week and start at the Kiel-Cup with the full crew." Of course, this is a good general rehearsal for the World Championships, but he wouldn’t mind a title defense either, explains the Flensburg native. "In good wind we have a chance, in light wind the Italia yachts are superior," he of course knows his First 36.7 inside out.

The Wulfes from Bremen-Hemelingen will have another family reunion at Kiel Week: Andreas Wulfes is a regular guest in Kiel this year with the Xp38 "Passion X". He sailed for many years with his daughters Jessica and Jennifer, who are now part of the women’s crew of the X-332 "RubiX", a network of 30 offshore sailors in cooperation with the Hamburg Sailing Club. Jennifer Wulfes is one of four female helmsmen, while her older sister Jessica trims the spinnaker.

Last year’s sovereign winner Jens Kuphal with his Landmark 23 "Intermezzo" was still missing from the results list at the MaiOR, because as a partner of Guyot environnement - Team Europe with co-skipper Robert Stanjek he concentrated on the world regatta The Ocean Race - not so at Kiel Week. The Berliner is one of Germany’s most dedicated ocean sailors, and the owner always steers his yacht himself. Along with Balser, Max Gurgel will definitely be on board. The multiple German ORC champion as well as in the match race is bought in to make boats faster.

One person who is particularly looking forward to Kiel Week and the World Cup on his home turf is Kai Mares. The man from Dänischenhagen was only in action on the Mediterranean last year with the "Immac Fram". "It was instructive there against completely different opponents that we didn’t know before." The goal now, he says, is to repeat the victory in 2021 in the Kiel-Cup. "It’s nice to see more young faces and new boats on the course as well," Mares said, referring to "Freya" (Nick Heuwinkel/KYC/X-35), "RubiX" (Eshana Müller/HSC/X-332) and "Matchbox" (Torsten Habich/ASV Wismar/MAT 1010). Mares itself also has a young crew on board.

The line-up will also include experienced veterans such as Klaus Peter Boock with his "Quattro" (Schwentine Fahrtensegler/X-332), a regular guest at Kiel Week, and Jürgen Klinghardt (LYC/NRV/SKWB) with his "Patent 4", an Italia 9.98. The former vice world champion is the reigning International German Champion.

With a victory at the MaiOR Torsten Bastiansen already showed the season goals of his "Sydbank" team. Photo: Christian Beeck/Kieler Woche

For Torsten Bastiansen with his "Sydbank" (Flensborg Yacht-Club/X-35) the regattas on the Kieler Förde are part of the annual compulsory and freestyle program. Here the Dane has collected many successes. Kiel Week winner in 2021 and second in the previous year are on the books. And with a victory at the MaiOR, Bastiansen has underscored where his journey is headed this year. 


Offshore Races of Kiel Week: 

  • Saturday, 17. June: Aalregatta (Kiel – Eckernförde)

  • Sunday, 18. June: Aalregatta (Eckernförde – Kiel)

  • Monday, 19. June – Wednesday, 21 June: Kiel-Cup

  • Thursday/Friday, 22.-23. June: Senatspreis

  • Friday/Saturday, 23.-24. June: Silbernes Band

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