Penultimate action at Kiel Week
Published on September 12th, 2020
Kiel, Germany (September 12, 2020) – Day three of the Olympic classes at Kieler Woche offered sailors and spectators a thrilling spectacle. While traditional sailors and recreational skippers cruised out of the inner fjord for the windjammer parade, the catamaran, skiff, and dinghy sailors fought for victory on the windward-leeward courses of the outer fjord in shifting winds, strong gusts and rough waves.
“It started moderately, then became very challenging with gusts of over 30 knots. But we managed to complete almost all the races according to plan,” reported regatta organizer Dirk Ramhorst.
A challenge for the race organizers was the sail-past of the windjammer parade. “Some ships went through the regatta course and found out for themselves just how fast a 49er or Nacra 17 can be in these conditions. Fortunately nothing happened. But this has to be communicated better in future,” said Ramhorst.
For the final day he expects a sunny day with even more wind, which will probably keep some participants from starting.
Bumpy as a potato field, the course on the inshore track for the 49erFX was challenging to say the least. In changeable winds with short waves, the skiff women delivered a Formula One show at high speed, including plenty of capsizes. Good scores were hard to come by, with only a few teams showing consistent top results. Above all were the local team of Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke. Racing on their home turf, they have not had a single slip in the entire series of eleven races. Victory in the last race catapulted the Germans into first place overall. So they can go into the final day with complete peace of mind, with the champagne on ice. In terms of qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, they can no longer be caught up by the twelfth-placed competitors Victoria Jurczok/Anika Lorenz. “We are lost for words,” said an elated Susann Beucke. “We are super happy with the day, we have exceeded our possibilities. From the outside it looked easy. But from the inside, it didn’t feel like that at all. We have been quivering with nerves. We have been under tension for months. Tonight we are celebrating something special in our circle of friends and family.” Tina Lutz added: “I am completely exhausted. After fulfilling the Olympic criteria, a Kieler Woche victory would be the icing on the cake.” Their pursuers Stephanie Roble/Maggie Shea (USA) are, however, only one point behind, ready to pounce on any error. On the other hand, the points cushion on the third-placed British team of Charlotte Dobson/Saskia Tidey is already quite comfortable.
The longer the day lasted, the more violent the conditions became. The skiff men experienced the full fury of the Baltic weather as starters of the late shift. Nevertheless the gold fleet with the 26 best teams completed four races. The German World Championship second-place finishers, Erik Heil/Thomas Plößel, showed that they know how to deal with strong winds despite a lack of training time. With two wins, but also a 16th and a 13th place, they climbed to fifth place overall. While the previous runners-up, the Poles Lukasz Przybytek/Pawel Kolodzinski, were hit hard and washed back to tenth place, the Danes Jonas Warrer/Jakob Precht Jensen remain in first place despite moderate results – now followed by Bart Lambriex/Pim van Vugt (Netherlands) and Lucas Rual/Emile Amoros (France).
After the early start disqualification of the Swiss Nils Theuninck in the first day’s race, Nicholas Heiner (Netherlands) is heading for a seemingly certain Kieler Woche victory. The Finn World Championship bronze medallist of 2017 and former Laser World Champion (2014) completed his top series by finishing in 2nd, 1st, 1st place and now only has to finish a solid race in the two remaining races on the final day to keep Nils Theuninck and the Argentinean Facundo Olezza at a distance.
The young Hungarian Maria Erdi found herself struggling in the difficult conditions of Saturday, but held on to her podium place going into the final day. Marit Bouwmeester (Netherlands) seems to be unchallenged in the top position, because the second placed Danish Anne-Marie Rindom is already 12 points behind. Further back in the Radial fleet, the best Germans will be competing for important points in the Olympic qualification process. Tomorrow’s racing will be critical before they go to the European Championship in Poland in October, which will finally decide on the German nomination for Tokyo. Now in 7th place, Hannah Anderssohn (Warnemünde) has almost caught up in the qualification battle with Svenja Weger (Kiel) in 13th place.
In the strong wind and choppy waves of Melbourne, Philipp Buhl crowned his career in February by winning the World Championship title. During Kieler Woche he showed that he is still able to handle strong gusts, even if he does not feel in world championship shape at the moment, according to his own assessment. Scores of 3, 5, 1 lift the German to second place, sandwiched between the British sailors Michael Beckett and Elliot Hanson.
The Nacra 17 fleet was pushed to its limits in the challenging conditions of Saturday. But the Italians Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti seem not to know this limit, and flew to three victories. They showed a consistency that no other team from the leading group could match. And so the Italians can only beat themselves before the final on Sunday. Even the World Champions John Gimson/Anna Burnet (Great Britain) have only a tiny mathematical chance of winning. The German home team, Paul Kohlhoff/ Alica Stuhlemmer, hold third place with a five-point buffer on the Austrian team in fourth.
Racing is planned for September 10-13.
Source: Kieler Woche