by Hermann Hell 7 Sep 09:01 UTC 5-13 September 2020 25 nations sail the Laser Radial Men Worlds at Kieler Woche © Klahn / Kieler Woche Tweet
Many things are different in the Kieler Woche 2020, but you can rely on the wind. Even after the shift to September, the sailors on the outer fjord are in good shape. After the strong winds and gusts on day two, the crews enjoyed themselves, converting mainly tactical skills into top rankings in medium to light winds.
“The wind was good until the rain started. After the big squalls it came to a complete standstill. That’s why we didn’t manage the full program in all classes,” reported regatta organization manager Dirk Ramhorst. Apart from sailing, Ramhorst also has an eye for compliance with the rules of hygiene: “We have the impression that it is well received. And our concept is effective. After five cases of temperature abnormalities, we made quick tests, but they were all negative”.
In the 505 fleet, there is no way around Wolfgang Hunger (Strande) and Holger Jess (Eckernförde). The serial winners of the Kieler Woche are also in 2020 the outstanding example of consistency. They finished all previous races in the top three, thus clearly taking the overall lead. Wolfgang Hunger is thus heading for his 23rd success. However, there was stress on the track for another reason: “On the first day we broke the mainsheet block in the second race, and a 1:2 ratio is not particularly suitable. Between the races we would therefore have to change something,” says Hunger. The competition could not make sufficient use of this mishap.
And on day two Hunger/Jess were hard to beat with the scores 1, 1, 3. “The third race was very inconsistent. We were once in first place, but sometimes we were only eighth. Therefore, third place is okay,” said crewman Holger Jess, who used every opportunity to compete with his helmsman: “We organized training sessions at Pentecost, participated in the Danish Championship four weeks ago and in the Swedish Championship two weeks ago”, said Jess. “We are thankful that Kieler Woche is being sailed and we are very motivated. Sailing across the fjord just for fun is a bit boring after all,” adds Hunger.
In the overall standings, the two have a small margin of points ahead of Kai Bertallot/Moritz Klingenberg (Kiel) and Stefan Böhm/Gerald Roos.
The missing regatta practice sees Contender World Champion Max Billerbeck (Kollmar) still struggling at the start. “I don’t really have to sail the first cross at all,” he said, annoyed by the respective placings in the three races at the first buoy. After that he started a comeback in each of the three races, making it to ranks 3, 5, 7.
In the overall standings, however, he dropped to fourth place behind his training colleague Eike Martens (Hamburg). “Eike has sailed strongly,” Billerbeck paid tribute. The Danes are acting without a flaw. Sören Dulong Andreasen and Jesper Armbrust have so far shared all six race wins among themselves. Andreasen is leading just ahead of his fellow native.
After a day with the German flag at the top, the fleet of the Europes once again presents itself in its usual red-white Danish outfit. Anna Livbjerg, the defending champion of the Kieler Woche, overcame her early start disqualification from the second race and is now at the head of a Danish trio with the rivals Simon Christoffersen and Frederik Blöcher. The best German is Johann Tammen from Kiel in ninth place.
An outstanding first day was followed by a good second day, but Batbold Gruner could not quite repeat the results of two wins at the beginning: “It still ended quite well, but I didn’t find my way into the mode today, didn’t have the speed of yesterday,” he looked at the results with a big portion of self-criticism. But the results were enough to defend the top position.
After ranks 5, 3, 4, the German Youth Championship of 2018 is leading, ahead of the Swede Erik Norlén and the Dane Magnus Heegard. “After so many regattas have been cancelled, Kieler Woche is extremely important”, says Gruner.
The youngsters make it difficult for the world champion: In the Radial, Dutchman Paul Hameeteman managed to pass Belgian top sailor Emma Plasschaert. Among the 81 participants, the two Benelux sailors fought a long-distance duel sailing in different groups. Hameeteman had a better control over his competitors, scoring 1, 1, 2, while the World Champion of 2018 was unable to win a race today and finished 2, 2, 5. In third place is Anna Munch from Denmark. She already has a Kieler Woche victory on her books – but in 2014 in the Europe class.
At the German Championship of ORC Offshore at the Kiel Week “Halbtrocken 4.5” of Michael Berghorn (Kiel) had to clear the top position in the group ORC I+II. After the long distance the first up-and-down races brought those yachts into position which have strong up-wind characteristics. In group ORC III, there was also a change in leadership from “Halbtrocken” of Knut Freudenberg (Flensburg) to the “Immac Fram” with helmsman Kai Mares (Dänischenhagen). Only the “Bostik Bad Boys” (Jan Schmidt, Flensburg) defended their opening lead in ORC IV.
The new front-runners in the ORC I+II are the European champions of 2019, the “Sportsfreund” with helmsman Gordon Nickel. This year, the team only put the boat into the water on Thursday and then trained together for the first time on Friday. “At the first jibe I still thought: “Oh, that’s going to be exciting! But then we quickly found our way around,” reported crew member and Class Association Director Bertil Balser. Balser had expected that the “Halbtrocken 4.5” could not be beaten at the start: “The percentage of reach courses on the long distance was too much for that. After two days the “Sportsfreund” benefits from its consistency (2, 3, 3, 1).
Jens Kuphal’s “Intermezzo” in second place overall put in a strong performance on the up-and-down courses (7, 1, 1, 5.5), but still drags along a seventh place from the long distance, which cannot be removed. “On the long distance really all courses which the boat does not like were included,” Kuphal said. “On the ups and downs we gave the right answer. If we make a perfect start, we have all the options in hand. Unfortunately, we had to clean up an early start in the third race of the day. Everything is still open in the championship, said the “Intermezzo” owner and the sporting level is very high in the ORC I+II. In the current ranking the “Sportsfreund” is leading before the “Intermezzo” and the “Halbtrocken 4.5”.
Back to last year’s superiority: This could be the motto of the “Immac Fram” in ORC III. After “only” a second place in the long distance race on Saturday, the crew was on track in the short races on Sunday. However, two victories and a longer break while waiting for wind were followed by a third place. So the title battle with the “Halbtrocken” for owner and helmsman Knut Freudenberg remains exciting. After winning the long-distance race, he also succeeded in the final up-and-down on Sunday. In addition, the Danish “Stony VIII” is still in the middle of the championship action.
How the results of the ORC III at the IDM final on Tuesday will affect the championship ranking will only become clear after including the class ORC IV. The small ships start in their own group and sail out their own Kiel Week Winner, but for the German championship there is a common ranking. And there it is according to calculated time. For the “Bostik Bad Boys”, who are perfectly in ORC IV, it seems that it is not yet enough for a top ranking in the combined classification.