Brilliant conditions on Thursday opened the Olympic part of Kiel Week with eight different nations wearing yellow leader jerseys.
At the belated start of the second part of Kiel Week, the leading positions in the eight Olympic disciplines are internationally mixed. After a fantastic sailing Thursday (June 23) with an easterly summer sea breeze, three Germans as well as crews from Australia, Italy, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland are wearing the yellow jerseys of the leaders. The South African flag flies at the top of the 11th ACO Musto Skiff World Championship, with Irish, Polish and Germans ahead in three international classes.
Summer over Kiel fired up the wind engine and compensated the athletes in the Olympic disciplines for the unwanted rest day on Wednesday. With a full program, one race extra each, the race committee sent their classes over the course on the courses. They were able to rely entirely on the increasing breeze that Kiel Week weather chief Dr Meeno Schrader had forecast: “The sun can attack fully, and it does. This will generate a sea breeze that will increase steadily from three knots in the morning to 15 knots in the evening. Friday will be another cracker day with 13 hours of sun and even more wind.”
Even Olympic and World Championship gold glory isn’t enough to take the top spot in the 49er. Croatian Sime Fantela won gold in the 470 off Rio in 2016, then switched classes and became world champion in the 49er with his brother Mihovil in 2018. For Kiel Week, he started with two wins but then slipped and is now fourth behind Ireland’s Robert Dickson/Sean Waddilove, Lukasz Przybytek/Jacek Pisecki (Poland) and Lucas Raul/Emile Amoros (France).
Tina Lutz/Susann Beucke (Germany) started their final regatta in a way they could hardly have dreamed of. The Tokyo Olympic silver medallists, who will end their joint career in Kiel, started the action with a win. “Good start, right side,” Tina Lutz revealed the simple recipe for success. However, the duo, who did not sail the skiff again after the Olympics until Kiel Week, could not continue at this level. “The manoeuvres weren’t quite as zippy anymore. I’m pretty exhausted now,” Lutz said. The list after four races is headed by the Swedes Vilma Bobeck/Rebecca Netzler. Behind them follows a mixed team. Sophie Steinlein took two-time Olympic bronze medallist Thomas Plößel on board. Although the 49erFX is the Olympic women’s class, mixed and male junior teams are also allowed to sail at Kiel Week. “My crew has fallen ill, so I took the chance to gain experience with Thomas. I’m learning an incredible amount. You can’t learn more from anyone than from such a professional,” said Steinlein, who thus displaced Aleksandra Melzacka/Sandra Jankowiak (Poland) in third place.
For the time being, the strong German fleet in the new Olympic discipline has to take its place on its home turf behind the Swiss Yves Mermod/Maja Siegenthaler, who managed two victories. Behind them follows Luise Wanser, Olympic sixth from Tokyo, with Philipp Autenrieth. Theres Dahnke/Matti Cipra are third.
At the top of Ilca6, the Olympic women’s single-handed class, a trio is engaged in a close race – and Berlin-born Julia Büsselberg is a strong contender. After three races, she is third, just one point behind Australian Mara Stransky and level on points with Dutch Mirthe Akkerman.
In the absence of six-time Kiel Week winner and 2020 World Champion Philipp Buhl, Nik Aaron Willim took the stage to make his mark. With a win on the day and a third place in the three races, he took the overall lead and represented his teammate impressively. Nico Naujock (Germany) and Valterri Uusitalo (Finland) follow in second and third place. Buhl, on the other hand, is enjoying some time away from Olympic sailing. “I need some distance. Over ten years of non-stop pushing through two and a half Olympic campaigns without compromise and doing without pretty much everything else has made me very tired. I now urgently need my Olympic break. I want to regenerate, have fun, catch up on what I missed and sail Moth,” says Buhl.
The Kiel Week 2022 of the surfers begins as the regatta 2021 ended: with victories of Sebastian Koerdel. Last year’s World Championship fourth place finisher dominates the action off Kiel. After a less than successful European Championship on Lake Garda in May (20th place), the home appearance should be balm for the soul. After seven races, his record is flawless with seven victories. Ethan Westera (Aruba) brings Caribbean flair to the top group of surfers as second ahead of Fabian Wolf (Hamburg).
The female counterpart to Koerdel is Lena Erdil. Like him, she is supported by the NRV Olympic Team from Hamburg and has a firm grip on the competition on her home turf in Kiel. With four wins in six races, she is on course to defend her title ahead of Denmark’s Laerke Buhl-Hansen and Alisa Engelmann from Lake Constance.
The Nacra 17 catamarans are constantly making new evolutionary pushes in Olympic cycles. Having evolved into a foiling class after the 2016 Games for Tokyo, this year the configuration has been changed so that the cats stand out of the water not only under gennaker but also on the upwind courses. This is made possible by the individually adjustable rudder foils, which can be used to create a stable flight mode. For the athletes, however, this also means getting to know a completely different class. “It’s learning all over again,” says Santiago Lange from Argentina, Olympic champion in 2016. He didn’t dare make a prediction about who will succeed best in the learning process by Marseille 2024: “Kiel Week is a first step into the new Olympic phase. The level in the field is very high.”
After the first races, it seems that the Italians did their homework best. Early on they got on the foils and showed stable flight phases. As a result, reigning Olympic champions Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti lead ahead of 2019 World Champions Vittorio Bissaro/Maelle Frascari and Britain’s double 2020 and 2021 World Champions John Gimson/Anna Burnet. “We tried to do everything the same as before. However, we have only been back in training for about a week because Caterina was injured for a long time,” reported Ruggero Tita.
11th ACO Musto Skiff World Championship
A Contender sailor saved the day of the Musto Skiff performers on Wednesday. After a long, and futile wait for wind on day one, Joachim Harpprecht provided splendid entertainment for the World Championship fleet. The boat designer told of how he designed the Musto Skiff over 20 years ago. The first beginnings went back to experiments in the early 1990s on Lake Garda. For this purpose, the prototype of the skiff was exhibited.
But the time for socializing came to an end on Thursday when the race committee asked the 44 athletes to take to the water for four races. At the top, the predicted contest developed between the large fleet of the British and Andy Tarboton. The South African put the finishing touches to a successful day with a win that sees him ahead of Rick Peacock and Robert Richardson at the top. Best German is Iver Ahlmann. “It was dream conditions – unfortunately not mine. Medium wind and wave I can’t do so well. Tomorrow it will probably be even more difficult. The top of the field presents itself as expected,” said Ahlmann. Top rider Tarboton is still cautious: “You can’t win a regatta on the first race day, but you can lose it! I felt my key for the day was to sail in clear air and sail the boat hard. Getting on the front row of the start was another goal, in a good fleet it is very difficult to come back from a bad start.”
After the first day in the group races, two duos tied on points are joint leaders among the 84 crews. Poland’s Jan Zamojski/Kacper Wojczulanis took two wins in the blue group, while Berlin’s Johann Emmer/Jannis Liebig operated in parallel in the yellow group. Valentina Steinlein/Lea Adolph (Munich) followed just one point behind.
The tops of the two J-classes are dominated by superior teams. In the J/24, the Irish around Cillian Dickson were not to be beaten on the first day of the regatta. With a perfect winning record in three races they are clearly ahead of Stefan Karsunke and Jan Kähler (both Hamburg).
Carsten Kemmling and his crew also opened the Kiel Week with a flawless hattrick: three starts, three wins – and an almost relaxed start for helmsman Kemmling: “Due to Corona we had to change the crew. Luke Willim took over the tactician position and made such precise announcements that I only had to steer according to the tales in the sail.” Two good starts formed the basis for two start-finish victories. The crew then decided the third race on the last leg to the finish when they passed the leader Lukas Feuerherdt (both Hamburg). Feuerherdt is second in the overall ranking ahead of Bo Pedersen of Denmark.