Olympic glamour, exceptional sailors, America’s Cup flair, skywalk, speed sailing, Junior Worlds in the 470 class, the European Championship in the booming national sailing league class J/70 as well as the International German Championship of the offshore sailors, the Olympic Nacra 17 class and the Paralympic classes 2.4mR and Sonar: These are some outstanding titles at the Kieler Woche 2016 (18 until 26 June).
Approximately 4,000 active sailors from 50 nations will be presenting the whole spectrum of the sailing sport on ten race courses for nine days. The farewell of the German Olympic team leaving for Rio de Janeiro, the appearance of real top sailors and the whole supporting programme make the Kieler Woche a top class event in its 134 year.
‘Without the Olympic perspective the Kieler Woche will be focussing on its strengths: professional race and regatta management, embedded into a great event’, said the Head of Organisation Dirk Ramhorst at the Kieler Woche press conference in the Gaastra Showroom in Hamburg. ‘The cooperation with the city of Kiel and the federal state Schleswig-Holstein enables us to invest in the future of the sailing sport in Kiel and especially in Kiel-Schilksee; and we are very grateful for that’, Ramhorst is optimistic about the future.
Alex Thomson has announced to participate as one of the most famous international sailors at the Kieler Woche, which is organised by the KYC (Kiel Yacht Club) together with the NRV (Norddeutscher Regatta Verein), the HSC (Hamburg Sailing Club) and the VSaW (Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee, Berlin). Thomson’s skywalk is spectacular. The 42-year old is lifted up into the air with his kite up to 85 metres, flying above his yacht and then slowly gliding back down onto the water within 40 seconds. There is hardly any sailing video as fascinating as that of this skywalk. The top sailor, who did participate three times in the Vendée Globe Race, 2006 in the Velux 5 Oceans, 2007 in the Rolex Fastnet Race and 2008 in the Barcelona World Race, is planning to sail the Welcome Race in Kiel with his Imoca 60.
‘I have been at the Kieler Woche four times already. I love this event, the sailing festival. It was fantastic to gybe between all the old ships at the lighthouse. The Kieler Woche is one of the best sailing events in the world! Maybe I can come back in 2017’, said Thomson, whose final registration is still outstanding.
But Boris Hermann, winner of the Portico Global Ocean Race, has confirmed to show up. After sailing on ‘Esimit Europa2’ (2013) and on the trimaran MOD70 (2015), which is holding the Kieler Woche speed record, the 34-year old sailor from Oldenburg wants to experience another flush of speed and has registered for the Audi Speed Challenge on the final Saturday. Hermann wants to break all records from Kiel with a Kite Foil. With speeds of up to 30 knots, it is supposed to even leave America’s Cup yachts behind.
The farewell of the national German sailing team will probably be an emotional highlight. The crews representing Germany at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will say goodbye on the Audi stage in Schilksee (5:30pm) and later on in the lounge of the Kieler Woche partner Audi. The majority of them will be participating at the Kieler Woche regattas before leaving for Brazil. Fighting for the Kieler Woche medals and the prize money granted by the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein to the three top ranked in the Olympic and Paralympic classes, the sailors at the top of the German fleet will encounter the global elite of the sailing sport.
‘Sailing is inspiring – for the athletes, but also for the visitors. With our appearance at the Kieler Woche, we want to bring the fascination of our sport closer to the audience ashore and at the same time support the athletes in the best way’, says Johannes Polar, responsible for event and sport marketing at the AUDI AG, which is a partner of the Kieler Woche and the national German sailing team.
‘We keep our fingers crossed especially for our national German sailing team of course: Let the general rehearsal in Kiel be a success, and let there follow plenty of medals at the Games in Rio’, states the former Olympic participant in the Tornado and European Champion in the Star.
As soon as the announcement was on the internet, the first big names were on the list of participants: Peter Burling/Blair Tuke (New Zealand) and Mathew Belcher/Will Bryan (Australia). The four top sailors bring Olympic glamour and America’s Cup flair to Kiel. The invincibles: Peter Burling/Blair Tuke. The athletes from New Zealand have been dominating the 49er class since 2013 and did not loose any regatta series since then. The Kiwis did win the World Championship in the Olympic skiff class four times in a row, last time in the USA in February.
Just like the 49er stars from Down Under, the almost invincible 470 sailors will also be at the starting line. The Australians Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan are dominating in the two-crew dinghy. From 2010 until 2015 Belcher has continuously been the World Champion. After three titles with crew Malcom Page, three victories at the Worlds were following with Will Ryan. This year in Argentina, Belcher/Ryan were dethroned and had to take the bronze medal at the Worlds, but the Olympic series shall be continued on August. After the gold medal with Page (2012 in London), the gold medal with Ryan is now the aim.
But the top-class services offered at the Kieler Woche are not just for the top sailors. The Kieler Woche participants can again count on the Race Repair Service from the HSH Nordbank this year. The two Race Repair tenders can help the athletes in case of problems with material or breakdowns on the Kiel fjord. ‘There is furthermore the initiative ‘Good for Kids’ (‘Gut für Kids’) enabling as many children as possible in the North of Germany to be an active member in a sports club’, explains Katrin Steinbacher, press spokeswoman of the HSH Nordbank. They collected 123,000 Euro in total in the previous years. The donations are used to buy sports clothes and equipment for the 60 most popular sports clubs.
It is not just all about the Kieler Woche victory for the J70 sailors, but also about the European Champion’s title. ‘We are expecting more than 60 boats at the starting line in Kiel’, says the international class president of the J/70 Juergen Waldheim (Berlin). The one design class casts its spell on the sailors like hardly any other keelboat class.
Carsten Kemmling is someone sailing at the top of the fleet in Germany. The journalist from Hamburg is part of the team of the NRV (Norddeutscher Regatta Verein), which has established four National Sailing League teams of almost the same strength. And while Olympic participant Tobias Schadewaldt did sail the NRV onto rank one at the first day of the National Sailing League, Kemmling did leave the competitors no chance at the Maior regatta in Kiel.
The nine-time German Champion, who is training for the Europeans and wants to switch to the sailing league mode after that, was enthusiastic in Hamburg: ‘There is nothing better than a one design class. For me it almost does not matter, which class it is, as long as there are enough boats at the start line. The J/70 is the first boat for a long time offering relevant fleets in Germany. That is extremely attractive. Thus the quality is high. But this boat really also is a lot of fun.“
But Kemmling, who can look back to two Olympic campaigns, is careful to predict anything about the Europeans: ‘It is difficult to rate oneself in comparison to the international professional teams. We are sure among the best regarding the manoeuvres, but we do not know, if the speed is enough. Top ten would definitely be a good result.“ Apart from the European title, the winner will be given a watch from the official Kieler Woche time keeper Tutima as well as a Gennaker.
Offshore International German Championship
For the tenth time, the ORCi yachts will be sailing to find their International German Champion in Kiel. The ORCi International German Championship will be starting on Saturday, 18 June, with a long-distance race over night. Six short races in three days will follow after that. Due to the following World Championship in Copenhagen (15 until 23 July), there will be World Championship feeling already in Kiel.
‘We did ask the participants via the organiser in Copenhagen and – remembering the successful ORC Worlds in Kiel two years ago – did motivate the sailors to use the ORC International German Championship in Kiel as a preparation. We are hoping to have big fleets accordingly’, states offshore course director Stefan Kunstmann.
In the fleet of multiple German Champions and World Champions, there will be a second all female crew next to the well-known ‘Tutima’ crew, the Hotquito Sailing Team with Anke Scheuermann at the helm. The inspiration for the project came from the participation of the team SCA at the Ocean Race. Siegfried Leithaeuser-Rieck, the owner of the 36 ft yacht (Finn Flyer 36), was looking for a women’s team and Anke Scheuermann was looking for the right boat.
Thanks to the ‘Tutima’ crew the project became reality. ‘A great boat for a girls’ crew. And we did manage incredibly fast to become a team and handle the boat, since we fit really well together – with our sailing skills and characters’, explains the 36-year old, who could already present the ‘Akka’ well at the German start of the offshore sailing season Maior with rank four in class ORC three.
‘Women can keep up with men. The girls from ‘Tutima’ did prove it many times already in the previous years, and we could also keep the men pretty much under control up to now. We will also learn it in heavy winds’, Scheuermann is optimistic about the International German Championship and the Worlds: ‘We have to be realistic! It is our first sailing season, and we are extremely excited, how thrilled people are about our project everywhere. Everyone of us invests a lot of time and energy into the project to ensure a fast training curve until the International German Championship and the Worlds.“
Matching the top quality on the water, the Kieler Woche is also offering new event sites ashore. Kiel continues its course offering an attractive Sailors Lounge, Kieler Woche Lounge, boot-club, an outstanding Audi Lounge and a top-class area of huge variety in Schilksee. This has been made possible by the partners Audi, HSH Nordbank, boot Duesseldorf and the support of the city Kiel and the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein.
And furthermore Kiel is presenting itself in a new outfit with a new Kieler Woche collection from Gaastra. ‘The collection consists of classical polo shirts as well as outerwear like fleece and soft-shell jackets, T-shirts for the summer, assessories like caps and also shorts. Altogether there are eleven women’s, twelve men’s and two kids’ items in the collection. We will of course be present at the Kieler Woche to sell our collection in this authentic environment’, says Oliver Frielingsdorf, CEO Gaastra International Sportswear.
The Kieler Woche collection is presented in the Gaastra stores, shop-in-shops, on the wholesale areas like at Pohland, Breuninger and P&C as well as in the webshop, as part of the marketing for the Kieler Woche. Gaastra is supporting the Kieler Woche with a longtime partnership.
‘Being a maritime lifestyle brand, the sponsoring of the Kieler Woche is a chance to lift up our nautical DNA and history onto a new level. The Kieler Woche is the biggest international sailing event and not just a fixed date in the schedule of the international participants and Olympic athletes, but also inspires over 3.5 million visitors each year with its unique entertaining programme’, explains Frielingsdorf.
Kieler Woche (18. until 26. June):
Part one (18. until 21. June): 29er, 505, Albin Express, Contender, Europe, Flying Dutchman, Folkboat, F18, Hobie 16, J24, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial (open), Musto Skiff, OK Dinghy.
Part two (22./23. until 26. June): 2.4mR (IDM), 420, 470 (F), 470 (M/both with JWC), 49er, 49er FX, Finn, J/70 (EC), J/80, Laser Radial (F), Laser Std (M), Melges 24, Nacra 17, Sonar (IGC).
Part three – Offshore (18. until 25. June):
Welcome Race 1. Race (Sat, 18. June) Kiel-Eckernfoerde, 2. Race (Sun, 19. June) Eckernfoerde – Kiel: ORC Club I-IV, Mulithulls 3 classes (>39 ft, 30 up to 39 ft, < 30 ft), Albin Ballad.
Senatspreis (Wed, 22. June): ORC Club I – IV.
Silbernes Band (24. until 25. June): ORC Club I – IV.
Offshore (Seesegel-) IGC (International German Championship):
Long Distance (Sat,18. June, until Sun,19. June): ORCi I – IV.
Kiel-Cup Alpha (Mon, 20. June, until Wed, 22. June): Short races: ORCi I – IV.
more info …. kieler-woche.de
by Kieler Woche