From the foiler to the classics, from the dinghy to the Swan
From the small one-man dinghy Laser 4.7 to the huge ClubSwan 50, from the Olympic highend foiler Nacra 17 to the classical yachts, from the Worlds qualifier of the National German Sailing Team to the traditional Aalregatta, from the inclusion in real live with the Eurosaf Parasailing European Championship as well as the Women’s Sailing Champions League to the eSailing, the Kiel Week (16. until 24. June) is offering the whole variety of the sailing sport.
"We again could gain or develop numerous highlights for the Kiel Week and are looking forward to the 136. edition of the Kiel Week", explained the Head of Organization of the Kiel Week regattas, Dirk Ramhorst, at today’s press conference in Hamburg. Together with Johannes Polgar (Event- and Sport Marketing Audi), who wants to represent Germany together with Carolina Werner in the Nacra 17 at the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo, Oliver Schwall, Project Director of the Nord Stream Race and founder of the Sailing Champions League of the Women, as well as Hauke Peters, who will be starting at the Laser Radial M Worlds, Ramhorst was giving an insight into what to expect at this year’s Kiel Week in the building of Helly Hansen.
Around 4,000 regatta participants, 1,800 boats, almost 400 starts, active sailors from more than 50 nations, 38 classes/disciplines, ten race courses on nine days - those are the numbers of the Kiel Week 2018, where 3.5 million visitors are expected, among them 400,000 visiting the sailing games in Kiel Schilksee.
Even before Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be giving the official starting signal with the typhoon for the biggest sailing event in the world on 16. June, fireworks will begin on Saturday morning in Kiel Schilksee and at the water front "Kiellinie". "We again have numerous highlights to offer. For example the last nomination of DSV participants at the Worlds in Aarhus will take place in Kiel, which will bring top sailors from Germany to the start line in Kiel. There are also the Laser Radial World Championship pf the men as well as the European Championship of the Para classes, who want to prove once more in Kiel after the Worlds last year, that sailing has to become again a Paralympic discipline in 2024 in Paris. We even have arranged our event on the offshore course as ORC Pre-Worlds and are hoping for numerous crews from the regions at the Baltic on their way to the Netherlands. As a debut, there will be the Aalregatta, which will probably attract hundreds of crews from the bays of Kiel and Eckernfoerde next to the wonderful classical yachts, so we can connect it to other similar big events in Germany", Ramhorst explained the highlights.
But it is not just going well on a sailing sports-level, we are also proceeding with partners and supporters. Next to the constant partners Audi, HSH Nordbank, and boot Duesseldorf, it could be announced at the boot Duesseldorf, that Rewe and Goslings join the Kiel Week as partners. Now Aida and Remondis will be also among the supporters. "Don’t be scared: We will not recruit new starting vessels and accompanying regatta tours from Aida. The topic to start on the leeward side would get a completely new meaning", said Ramhorst. "We want to further push the topic of sustainability of the Kiel Week. We have some objectives - from waste separation to the renunciation of plastic straws, usage of quickly decomposable coffee cups as well as the setup of a Kiel Week with as less paper and waste as possible", the Head of Organization added.
AUDI Sailing Arena and KielerWoche.TV
The AUDI AG is a partner of the Kiel Week in the ninth year. Johannes Polgar, responsible for Event and Sport Marketing at the AUDI AG, is emphasizing the close relationship. "This year Audi will again present itself to the participants and visitors as a sporting premium partner of the Kiel Week. In a close cooperation with the city of Kiel the major focus here is the sustainability concept. The Audi boathouse in the Olympic marina Kiel Schilksee will remain the central meeting point for the Audi VIP guests. There we will also present live boradcasts of the sailing regattas on KielerWoche.TV shown on a big screen in the Audi Sailing Arena. We are particularly curious about the outcome of the Audi e-tron Cup, a regatta upon invitation, for which we invited brand ambassadors and interesting personalities to Kiel. In order to enable a smooth event for all participants for the arrival and departure, Audi is supporting the trailer shuttle with 15 Audi Q7 e-trons. The city of Kiel can count on the proven VIP shuttle with ten Audi Q7 e-trons.“
Apart from that, current car models will also be presented as in the previous year. Among them is the new Audi Q8 as well as the first fully electronic Audi e-tron.
From the business suit into the Nacra 17
Johannes Polgar will only be looking after the Audi guests full-time until Tuesday, then he will step into the Nacra 17 with 40-year old Carolina Werner. The goal of the duo Polgar/Werner are the Olympics 2020. And in Japan, they want to win an Olympic medal. "It is no question, it is still an unfinished business for me", said Polgar.
It is his third Olympic campaign in the third boat class. After rank 8 in 2000 in the Tornado and a failed Starboat campaign, he changed into the flying Nacra 17 last year - for sure one of the most difficult boat classes to handle. "We are approaching the complex challenge in this new foiling class in a very systematic manner. We will first fully concentrate on individual successes during the process until the Worlds in Aarhus and only then look at the results’ lists. Everything else would be unrealistic. Until 2020 this is not a sprint, but a marathon and we are just on the first miles yet", Polgar describes the Olympic campaign.
"The most important thing for us is that we managed to get that far without major injuries and the learning curve is continuously rising steeply upwards. Meanwhile we stand quite safe on the foils and can lift the head more and more out of the boat to be able to tackle the strategical/tactical challenges. The mixture of experience and fresh dynamics on board is a major strength of our team", explains Polgar, who will be starting for the NRV Olympic team.
Together with Paul Kohlhoff/Alica Stuhlemmer (Kiel Yacht Club) and national coach Marcus Lynch, who has a lot of foiling experience from the GC 32, the training is running at full capacity on a national level. On top comes the partnership with Iker Martinez (Spain). The Volvo Ocean Race skipper has already won Olympic gold and silver in the 49er. Now he is aiming at winning a Nacra 17 medal with Olga Maslivets in 2020. The bronze medal at the World Cup in Hyères (France) shows that the Spanish sailors are on the right track.
Polgar/Werner cannot yet present those successes, but the marathon has just started. And the team is persistent and a good match on a personal level. Johannes Polgar describes Werner, who also has Olympic experience, with the following words: "Jojo is a very ambitious sailor and an entire sportsman. He has the right attitude for the performance sport and a great character. And he is a very good team player, I can count on him by 100 percent.“
Being called "wonder kids" after their rank 13 in Rio de Janeiro together with Paul Kohlhoff, there now is way more routine on board. After the Kiel Week and the Europeans in Gdynia (Poland) the Worlds in Aarhus (Denmark) is this year’s main objective, a stage of the Olympic marathon. Carolina Werner is hoping that Johannes Polgar will have as much time as possible for her and the Nacra 17. Answering the question, whether she can "hand over" Johannes Polgar to Audi at all with this objective, she is clear: „As less as possible. “
Qualifying for the Worlds for the National Sailing Team
It is not just in the Nacra 17, where they are fighting for tickets for the Worlds in Kiel. Frederike Loewe and Anna Markfort want to repeat their victory in the 470. The two 24 year old sailors did win Gold in Kiel in the Olympic two-man dinghy last year. With a victory in Kiel the ticket for the Sailing Worlds in Aarhus would be guaranteed. Altogether there are three female crews fighting in the 470 to be allowed to represent the German colors in Denmark. Last year, the pharmacy student and her crew, who did become a professional soldier after finishing her studies, were leading the fleet.
In the men’s fleet, Simon Diesch/Philipp Autenrieth (Wuerttembergischer YC/Bayerischer YC) as well as Malte Winkel/Matti Cipra (Schweriner Yacht Club/Plauer Wassersport Verein) fro the DSV perspective squad are among the favorites fighting for the Worlds’ tickets.
"We are happy, that the German Sailors Association DSV is setting up the qualification races at the Kiel Week. It demonstrates the close collaboration between Kiel and the DSV", the Head of Organization of the Kiel Week Regattas Dirk Ramhorst is happy. He is hoping for many top sailors using the Kiel Week as Pre-Worlds.
In any case, the top of the German sailing fleet will again be present at the start line in Kiel-Schilksee in 2018. With an equal point score in the qualification ranking, the best result in Kiel will decide.
Apart from the German Olympic sailors Jurczok/Lorenz (Berlin/49erFX), Lutz/Beucke (Kiel/49erFX), Buhl (Sonthofen/Laser), Schmidt/Boehme (Kiel/49er) and Heil/Ploessel (Kiel/49er) in the Olympic classes, the best Laser Radial sailors will also be competing in Kiel-Schilksee in the second pat of the Kiel Week.
WC: 80 Radial Laser from 27 nations
After harmonious and good cooperation at the Laser Youth World Championships in the 4.7, Radial and Standard 2016 in Kiel-Schilksee, there will be the next cooperation between Kiel and the Laser class association. From Wednesday, 20. June until Sunday, 24. June, the Radial men are fighting for the Worlds’ title. "The cooperation was good, so that we are pleased to again organize a WC together", said Sven Christensen (Point of Sailing) and Eric Faust (President of the International Laser Class Association) in unison. After three qualification days, the final races of the gold, silver and bronze fleet will be following on the weekend. More than 80 Radial Lasers from 27 nations will show up at the start line in Kiel.
Nord Stream Race: starts in Kiel
Like Johannes Polgar, Oliver Schwall (Hamburg) also presented a double-functionality at the Kiel Week press conference in Hamburg. The former Tornado World Champion (1993) is the Project Director of the Nord Stream Race, which will start at the end of this year’s Kiel Week, and founder of the Women’s Sailing Champions League, which has its world premiere at the start of the Kiel Week.
"After the successful new edition of the Nord Stream Race last year - under the motto ’Connecting Baltics Through Sport’ - we are happy to have our debut at this year’s Kiel Week. The five new ClubSwan50 from Saint Petersburg Yacht Club will be an eye catcher for fans, sailors and spectators", stated Schwall.
The plans are, that the 15 meter long yachts with their 24 meter masts will be participating in the Welcome Race and maybe in the ORC Baltic Pre Worlds (Kiel-Cup, Monday to Wednesday).
At the second Sunday, the yachts are leaving for their 1000 nautical mile long trip, leading via Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm (Sweden) and Helsinki (Finland) to St. Petersburg (Russia). The five crews are expected to get there around the 6. July.
World Debut: Women’s Sailing Champions League
Regarding the league sailing, innovations are still driven by Germany. After Konzeptwerft from Hamburg has invented the format of the National Sailing Leagues six years ago and driven that model to become a European success story with the Sailing Champions League being the highlight, first events for Women’s and Junior Champions Leagues shall take place this season. The kick-off event for the Women’s Sailing Champions League will be part of the Kiel Week (16. until 18. June), that for the Youth Sailing Champions League is planned for the Travemuende Week (27. until 29. July).
At the general meeting of the ISLA (International Sailing League Association) in December last year, it was decided to expand the Sailing League and set up an event for women. Now the date has been set for the Kiel Week. Up to 24 crews from 17 nations are expected to show up on the media course in Kiel-Schilksee on the first weekend of the world’s biggest sailing event to take part in the sailing competitions under the observation from the cameras of KielerWoche.TV.
Each of the 17 national associations organized in the ISLA can name up to two women’s teams, who will then send four to five sailors to Kiel. On top of that, the organizations of ISLA and Sailing Champions League GmbH can grant wild cards for the event. They will sail in the known format with six to eight boats of the type J/70 on the race course Golf. 60 short races are planned for the three days. A part of those races will be transmitted live on KielerWoche.TV with tracking and analysis by SAP Sailing Analytics.
"The Champions League of the women is an exciting new format. Integrating it into the Kiel Week is promising exciting races and a future orientation for the sailing sport for women. The format is a logical step in the development of "gender equality", which is also being put into practice by the IOC in Tokyo 2020", stated Johannes Polgar from Audi, partner of the National Sailing League and the Women’s Champions League.
Aalregatta: With Yardstick to Eckernfoerde
With the successful reintroduction of the "Aalregatta" for the Kiel Week, the Kiel Yacht Club and the Sailing Club Eckernfoerde 2017 did follow the offshore sailors’ wish and were immediately successful. This year, the organizers are hoping for a new record in registration numbers.
After the Aalregatta was sailed with the Kiel-Rating in the first year, the yachts will be classified according to Yardstick in 2018. "We want to make the participants know their measurement rating", said Race Director Ralf Paulsen. Since most participating yachts already have a Yardstick rating, they can now hand them in for the Kiel Week regatta. That offers more transparency for the classification. The Yardstick value is gained from empirical observations and is being used as a "Gentleman’s Rule" for more than 30 years. The Yardstick system is lowering the entry barrier into offshore sailing. The organizers, who are announcing all other Kiel Week regattas - except the Aalregatta - for ORC Club and ORC Int. measured yachts, did again follow the wish of the active sailors and shook off their timidity regarding the Yardstick.
As a further service for the active sailors, the organizers want to offer a bus shuttle on Saturday evening and Sunday morning between Eckernfoerde and Kiel and back. Since many sailors want to get back to Kiel Schilksee on the evening right after the Aalregatta, buses shall take over the shuttle after the prize giving ceremony. The exact transport time for the regatta from Eckernforde back to Kiel on Sunday will be announced later. First of all, we are waiting for the feedback from the active sailors.
Virtual races and Kiel Week App
Next to the 38 classes / disciplines, that are competing on the water, Kiel is also offering eSailing. Thus you can experience and sail the Kiel Week also virtually, another demonstration of its special innovative strength among the international sailing events. First start to qualify for this new virtual highlight at the Kiel Week will be 2. May. The virtual medal race will then be in parallel to the medal races of the Olympic classes on the second Sunday.
To make this possible, the Kiel Yacht Club did work together with the French game developer Virtualregatta.com to place the Kiel Week logo in the game Virtual Regatta Inshore for the event. The final races during the Kiel Week will be sailed on ten computers, a big screen in Kiel-Schilksee and on J/70 keel boats with gennaker. "On the final weekend there will be a commentated virtual medal race", said Ramhorst, who as a long-term digitization manager has declared the digital topics his special hobbyhorse. "And we are building an app for the sailors and their companions, and want to make the app a companion of the sailors. We provide binding information about the events, programs, flag signals as well as jury protests etc. And everything personalised for the sailor", explaied Ramhorst the new development, that is supposed to replace having to walk to the blackboard or the flagpole thanks to the partnership with Accenture.
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