Bringing people back to the race course

Published on January 19th, 2022

While Kiel Week in Germany has a long history as a prominent event from Olympic campaigners, it goes well beyond that. Considered the largest sailing event in Europe, it is also one of the largest public festivals in Germany, attracting millions of people from within and neighboring countries.

For the regatta, the Olympic classes are joined by many other dinghy one design fleets but also handicap keelboat racing. However, recognizing a downward trend among these bigger boats throughout the region, except for casual mid-week evening races, an effort to relax the Kiel Week format hopes to bring people back to the race course.

“Several of these potential participant crews do not yet have a measurement certificate for their boats,” says Eckart Reinke, Head of Offshore. “They have been sailing according to Yardstick up to now. This is now possible on a trial basis for the next two years, in addition to the official ORC measurement, for the entire Kiel Week.”

The racing format is also being revised to be more inclusive, with the three-day Kiel Cup featuring only two races per day instead of three. The first will be an up-and-down course over about two hours; the second will take three and a half hours around fixed marks on Kiel Bay which will require navigation.

“New formats were requested in surveys as well as more challenge, adventure and net race time per day,” Reinke says, in line with a majority identified by national organizations which are seeking to attract people back to the race course. Doublehanded racing will also be included.

With racing offered for Yardstick (similar to PHRF) alongside ORC handicaps, the idea is to make it easy to participate, with hopes that this involvement could get more teams excited about taking the plunge to get an ORC certificate.

“Recreational fun was named at the top of the surveys, along with sporting value,” reports Reinke, with these changes aiming to create a sense of community to grow participation.

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