Overseas teams work to topple German advantage
Published on August 19th, 2014
Kiel, Germany (August 19, 2014) – The race schedule at the SAP 5O5 World Championship has been burdened by an uncooperative weather system. Two races were completed on Saturday in strong winds, but Sunday and Monday were blown out, keeping the field of 170 boats onshore.
With the Germans Morten Bogacki/Lars Dehne leading, and today kept as a layday, the top Brits and Americans went training in search of some needed speed for the final three days of the championship.
Even by their own admission, the Germans are not looking as prepared for competition on home water as they would have liked, and some of the overseas competitors smell blood. Morten Bogacki and Lars Dehne may be in first overall after scoring an impressive 1,2 over the 173-boat fleet last Saturday, but the 2nd and 3rd placed teams from Great Britain and the USA went out in squally conditions to work on their boatspeed and close the gap on the top Germans.
Mike Holt has twice finished runner-up in the Worlds and has spent the best part of 30 years chasing his dream of a 505 world title. “We’ve run close in the past and we think we can go one better this time, we’ve been working hard and we’ll be making sure we leave no stone unturned,” he said. The British-born resident of Santa Cruz was partying hard with the rest of the fleet on Monday night, but was up early for a morning run before going into a tuning session with the third-placed Brits, Andy Smith and Tim Needham. Smith is a former Fireball world champion who is finding world-class pace in the 505. “We’ve always been fast in a breeze,” said Needham. “Now we’re fast in the light stuff, and we’ve come here to do the business.”
The 2008 World Champion from Great Britain, Ian Pinnell, is being crewed by American David Shelton. There was no sign of Pinnell in the boat park, but that didn’t deter Holt and his crew Rob Woelfel from hoisting the missing Brit’s sails. They took a photo of Pinnell’s crewless boat, ready to sail, and texted it to Pinnell, who had no choice but to get out of bed and get down to the boat park to go sailing.
With two races done, and a maximum of five remaining, the defending champions Claas Lehmann and Leon Oehme sit in 38th overall and see no prospect of being able to repeat their victorious moment in Barbados. “We are a light crew and over 20 knots of wind we don’t have the boat speed,” said Lehmann. “The title is almost impossible because we struggled in the first two races and we can only discard one of those from our score.”
Even the legendary Wolfgang Hunger is lacking a click of pace, although with crew Julien Kleiner he is still in 6th place overall. No one is discounting the five-time world champion who commented: “We try to do better, improve the boatspeed, do a better performance and we keep on fighting for a medal.”
Report by event media.