Danish Dynamite and Samoa double start

Changing mood in Kiel-Schilksee: The second half of Kiel Week marks the hour of the eight international classes. High tension is guaranteed, as the regatta is the showdown between numerous world and European champions. However, the sailors were able to take it a little easier at the start of their four days in Kiel. After the height of summer, thunderstorm cells announced themselves, which allowed a maximum of two races. But on Friday, with four races in all classes in westerly winds and only 20 degrees, it should be twice as busy.

Some of the athletes are competing at this Kiel Week for the second time. They have changed classes or are starting with the same boat, but in a fresh field. Vaimo’oi’a Ripley is one of them. The 34-year-old from Samoa is sailing ILCA 6, a class that is being organised as an Olympic discipline for women in the first half of Kiel Week. Now the young male athletes are also allowed to take part, using the competition as preparation for their Olympic career. And Vaimo’oi’a Ripley also wants to gain experience – experience for the Olympic Games in Marseille, where she is eligible to compete via a wild card.

Kiel Week is a completely new experience for the Samoan. Last Friday she arrived from the other side of the world north of New Zealand. And on the Kiel fjord, she first had to acclimatise in a special way, wearing three layers of sailing gear on the first day. With more warmth on the following days, she was able to take off at least one layer. “Thank you Kiel for the sun. It’s better suited to the conditions in my Pacific homeland.”

The double appearance in Kiel is not only the best way to prepare for the Olympics in sporting terms, but also to get used to the European weather and breathe in some Olympic flair. “It’s very special to sail here, where the 1972 Olympic Games were held. You can feel the magic.”

After Kiel Week, she wants to continue on to Warnemünde Week, then visit Hamburg with her family, train on the Alster and then travel to France. Before that, she showed that her learning curve is going steeply upwards. While she finished second last in the Olympic women’s field, after the first day in the open class she was in a good midfield position (82nd out of 157 starters). For the time being, Finland’s Monika Mikkola is in the lead with two bullets.

After two races, Johanna Brinkmann from Biggesee is in the lead in the beginner class of the Olympic dinghy, the ILCA 4. Whether she is already dreaming of the five rings is not known.

Heiko Kröger brings great Kiel experience to the event. The 2000 Paralympics winner has already won Kiel Week gold 14 times in the 2.4mR. And he is not afraid to do it again. Britain’s Megan Pascoe announced that she would give him a tough fight with a view to the World Championships at the beginning of August at the same venue. However, day one was clearly in Kröger’s favour: with two wins in a row, he holds the top position in the fleet of 31 boats in the inclusion class ahead of Pascoe.

In the other classes, the Danish participants are performing at the highest level and showing that they are vying for the unofficial title of the strongest nation at Kiel Week. And they are well in the race.

The leader in the OK dinghy is Bo Petersen with two clean wins. The Danish 2022 European Champion is heading for his fourth Kiel Week triumph and is also looking forward to different sailing conditions in the coming days: “I like it when the wind changes. The secret of the Danish team’s success? We go out on the water three or four times a week at home.”

The Danebrog is also at the top of the Contender rankings – unsurprisingly! After all, the man in first place, Jesper Armbrust, is the 2022 European champion and his first rival, his compatriot Sören Dulong Andreasen, won the World Championship last year.

Top one in the J/70 is another Dane: Frederyk Hvalsö set the first exclamation mark in the fleet of 48 crews. However, the second race could not be completed. The race committee cancelled the race due to a thunderstorm warning and sent the participants ashore. This also applied to the J/24, in which Hamburg’s Peter Langhans came out on top ahead of veteran and multi-talented Frank Schönfeld (also from Hamburg).

In the former Olympic discipline of the Flying Dutchman, there are signs of a successful rematch of the World Championships after day one. The Hungarian record-breaking world champions Szabolcs Majthenyi/Andras Domokos achieved a double victory to kick off the event. They relegated the reigning world champions Kay-Uwe Lüdtke/Kai Schäfers (Berlin/Hanover) and the world bronze medallists Kilian König/Johannes Brack (Hanover) to the chasing positions.

Click HERE for results.

M.O.S.S Australia
JPK 11.80 July 2024