Melx III and Ali Baba neck and neck for 5.5 Metre German Open

The 2023 5.5 Metre German Open is going down to the wire. Two wins on Saturday to Ali Baba (GER 125, Wolf-Eberhard RICHTER, Beata KALLKOWSKI, Bernd SELIG) and one to Melx III (GRE 5, Stavros PAPAGIANNOPOULOS, Yannis MITAKIS, Pavlos KAGIALIS) leaves them on equal points with just one race to sail. Manuela V (ITA 36, Guido TOMMASI, Marco ANESSI, Edoardo GAMBA) remains third.

Saturday didn’t promise much but, in the end, delivered fantastic conditions on the Starnberger See at Tutzing, with three races in a breeze building from 7 to 14 knots during the day and warm sunshine. A storm was on the way, but this time hit the club after everyone was safely ashore. It was a day with a lot of weather.

Ali Baba
Ali Baba

With the wind out of the north, Ali Baba got the best of the first two starts and led round both races to briefly take the overall lead. Melx III started on the back foot and with the short races, didn’t have enough time to make up the distance, and were even UFD in the first race of the day. In the third race, they managed to clear the line well and were ahead at the first cross to lead round and take the final win of the day. Both teams are now on 7 points with just one race to sail.

Melx III
Melx III

Löwi (GER 120, Susanne STRUTH, Nina ZIBUSCHKA, Maren HÜLSER) is in seventh overall after a string of fifth places. After nine months work, the team has brought an older boat back to full beauty and she is gleaming in the Starnberger sunshine.

Susanne explains, “We bought the boat, SUI 199, last September in Switzerland, and it worked pretty well when we tried it out in Brunnen last year at the Swiss Open. We gave it to a boatyard over the winter and put new gelcoat and new varnish and it’s been finished for about three weeks. We removed some old parts, backstays, some original parts that were 25 years old, restored some parts and added new cleats ad some new ropes. The painting was the biggest part as well as revarnishing the mast. It was a lot of work and it took nine months so we’re pretty happy we have finished now.”

“We just had the chance to put it in the water at home for one week and then then we came here. We are testing it right now. It’s going well and we are pretty happy with it. Light wind was a bit difficult, but with more wind it goes well and we get the chance to race with the moderns.

“It’s a 1996 build, but the shape is an old one from the early 1990s, and there is no trim tab, so they are not sure whether it’s a modern or an evolution, but looking more like a evo. But we don’t care, we are just sailing.”

It’s worth noting there are two full female crews at the German Open this week.

“We had four ladies who wanted to participate here and already had two boats as we were able to borrow the old Ai Baba from Wolfi [Wolf-Eberhard RICHTER] and found two other ladies who wanted to come with us. So we are here with two ladies crews, so that’s cool.”

Is there competition? “No, we’re just happy to be able to come and to come with two boats from the west part of Germany where there are not many 5.5s, so we are two and hope we can attract some other boats from our area.”


One of the classics in the fleet is special for two reasons. Alzira, GER 117, is a special boat, as it was the first 5.5 Metre built with a separate rudder, and is pristine as it was hardly ever used. Recently bought by Jörg Sonntag of Berlin, she is being used this week as part of an adaptive sailing programme to get people with disabilities into sailing.

Helmsman Stefan Volkman said, “Jörg Sonntag motivated me to join 5.5 classic sailing. We met at the Berlin sailing club VSAW where I sail 2.4mr boats and he asked if I was interested in joining a sailing team on a 5.5 boat and I agreed. The boat has minor adaptations to help me move with ease.

“And so I joined a three person team on a 5.5 boat at a Wannsee Regatta. It’s a different kind of sailing as a team than by yourself. You can learn lots. And then we decided to sail in the German open. And here we are.

“At first, it was a challenge to get used to the boat. But we work as a team, and so I’m able to focus on my part [and we help each other out]. 

“Sailing gives me a sense of freedom. It allows me to forget my disability. It’s no longer relevant on the water. I recommend everyone to give sailing a try.”

Inquire about 5.5 inclusion (adaptive) sailing at

Alzira (GER 117, Stefan VOLKMANN, Anett HEIN, Uwe HEIN) currently sits in 11th overall.

Following an excellent championship dinner on Saturday evening, Sunday begins with a traditional Bavarian breakfast provided by the host club, Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club. Only one race is scheduled for Sunday to decide the 2023 German Open. Cold weather has descended on Tutzing, and while wind is forecast, so is a lot of rain.

Results after 6 races: 
2 Ali Baba (GER 125, Wolf-Eberhard RICHTER, Beata KALLKOWSKI, Bernd SELIG) 7
3 Manuela V, (ITA 36, Guido TOMMASI, Marco ANESSI, Edoardo GAMBA) 18
4 No Stress (SUI 201, Jörg SONNTAG, Olaf SCHULZ, Jacob REK) 18
5 Striezi (GER 107, Johannes SCHMEDERER, Florian LAUTENSCHLÄGER, Gunter ERNST) 28
Full results:!/results?classId=9c05ee60-7e73-4885-a9eb-ca1268bcd5b2
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JPK 11.80 July 2024