Kiel lining up for some tense showdowns in the international classes
Germany’s world-famous regatta has been delivering some sensational sailing conditions this week, as the international classes complete their penultimate day of competition....
Kieler Woche, known to the English-speaking world as Kiel Week, has long been a game of two halves. It’s the only way to fit so many hundreds of different boats on to the Kieler Fjord across the nine days of competition. It was the penultimate day of competition in the ‘international classes’, the mostly Corinthian dinghy classes sailed by keen weekend warriors, with a smattering of Olympic pedigree thrown in for good measure.
A good example of the mix of backgrounds can be found in the OK dinghy class, the hiking singlehander that is holding its European Championships as part of Kieler Woche. Freddy Lööf has won multiple world and Olympic medals in the Finn and Star classes, including gold in the Star at London 2012, but now is relishing a return to the grass roots of dinghy racing in the 4-metre OK dinghy, designed back in 1956. “It’s great to go back to the basics of sailing, I’m really enjoying the simplicity of OK sailing,” said the decorated Swede. He’s also doing rather well, even managing to haul himself from the middle of the 91-boat fleet to recover to second place in one of today’s races. Discarding a 5th and counting all his scores in the top two, Lööf is surely uncatchable going into the final day of competition, 16 points ahead of France’s Valerian Lebrun.
Another faster singlehander back at Kieler Woche is the high-performance, trapeze asymmetric powered Musto Skiff. In the strong winds of Sunday, Paul Dijkstra was untouchable, winning all four races. “I’m not sure what I was doing right,” said the flying Dutchman. “I’ve never had a day like that before. I’m looking around me and wondering why I’m going so fast!” Today, with the wind a little lighter, Dijkstra was not so invincible and lies in second place behind Rick Peacock, a former 49er World medallist from Great Britain.
One of the other skiff fleets here is the 29er, holding its Eurocup event in Kiel with a massive entry of 118 boats. The final day is going to be a humdinger, a four-way battle for the podium with just three points separating four young crews from Germany, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Currently it’s Jonas Schupp and Moritz Hagenmeyer who hold the top spot, but will the Germans be able to fight off the attack from the Nordic nations?
In the foiling fleet, Adriano Petrino from Switzerland holds a five-point lead over fellow Moth sailor Max Lutz. In the Contender trapeze singlehander, Christoph Homeier of Germany holds just a two-point advantage over the Dane, Soren Andreasen. Another Dane, Anna Livbjerg, enjoys an almost unassailable lead in the Europe singlehander, where the women and men are racing each other.
Racing in J/70 sportsboats, Bodensee Yacht Club Überlingen won the second edition of the Youth SAILING Champions League after three days of sensational racing at Kiel Week in Germany. Regattaclub Oberhofen from Switzerland was runner-up ahead of Flensburger Segel Club in third place.
Kieler Woche, which takes place from 22 to 30 June, divides into two halves. The first half which began today is all about the international classes and is mostly about keen amateur sailors competing against each other. Across the whole nine days, Kieler Woche will host more than 4,000 sailors from 60 nations, competing in more than 1,900 sailing boats.
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