New Moon leads 5.5 Metre German Open

The 2018 5.5 Metre World Champions, New Moon II (BAH Mark Holowesko/Christoph Burger/Peter Vlasov), lead after the first day of the 2021 German Open at the Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee (VsaW) in Berlin, Germany.

Girls on Film (GBR Peter Morton/Andrew Palfrey/Matt Cornwell) is second with Otto (NOR Bent Christian Wilhelmsen/Lasse Berthelsen/Luka Strahovnik) third.

The event began with the traditional long-distance race round the Wannsee and the Haval with several navigation errors leading to several lead changes in the fleet of 14 boats.

With a quite changeable breeze averaging around 6-7 knots and very unsettled weather with rain showers and sunny spells, it was quite an interesting race that ran for two hours, with some long legs. Frequent showers also brought stronger wind, especially out of the start.

With the start line set just off the clubhouse, Otto got away first and led towards the first mark, but a navigation error meant a big bear away and a lead change to Criollo (GER 30, Andreas Christiansen/Felix Christiansen/Julius Plass).

Girls on Film with Aussie Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey aboard in second – Robert Deaves pic

The big interest for the day was how Peter Morton’s new Girls on Film was going to perform in her first race. After a bad start, she had moved up to second behind Cirollo, as the fleet entered the Haval. A large ferry and an even larger barge were passing and she made it across to the northern shore, while most of the fleet were on the southern shore.

Girls on Film was soon in the lead but New Moon II (BAH 24, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov), on the other side of the barge, got much better pressure to take the lead, with Girls on Film a close second and Otto eventually recovering to third.

New Moon II and Girls on Film extended on the fleet and had a very close battle, closing to a few boat lengths at the end of the first lap. From then on New Moon II covered closely and extended for the win. Otto broke free of the chasing pack for a comfortable third.

Christoph Burger, from New Moon II explained their day, “We all had a pretty good start, all heading to the first mark, with a bit of confusion which one it was, and we eventually all found it and the race started at zero again.

“Then it was a long upwind and then some big barges came past and split the fleet to the left and the right. We were lucky to have the lower angle and fresher wind and opened the angle on the barge while the guys on the left of it were closing it, so they had to tack off and that hurt them and benefited us.

“We separated from the fleet and had a nice battle with Morty, with his new boat Girls on Film, which is great to see. In the end we managed to pull away, covering him a bit as well and got a win, so a good way to start the series.”

Australian, Andrew Palfrey from Girls on Film, was happy with the new boat’s first race.

“It was our first race together since the Worlds in Sydney. It was a cool day actually. We’ve just done Cowes Week so kind of used to orienteering now, so it was fun.

Criollo led at one stage – Robert Deaves pic

“We had a pretty bad start and we stalled the boat which was interesting and just parked it a bit. Luckily for us the leading boats went to the wrong mark and that gave us an avenue back into the race and from there we had a really good battle with New Moon.

“We are quite happy with the speed in the light air. The boat is not really designed for the light stuff, but we were hanging in just fine. It was a good day and a funny old race track so happy to walk away with a second place and looking forward to some more light wind racing in this beautiful location over the next couple of days.

“Definitely the weakest point is when it goes light. We have a bit less sail area, a bit more wetted surface, and it’s a cut off at 4-5 knots, but when we got to 6-7 knots and over and were hiking the boat performed quite well, I think.

“The difference between this Quigley design and the middle-aged Wilke hulls is that we are geared to a little more wind. It’s a bit longer, a bit straighter and the penalty for that is less sail area. But we’ll find out what the cut off is when we get stronger wind.

“But a good and encouraging start today,” the Australian ended.

Racing in Berlin continues on Saturday and Sunday.

Results after long distance race
1 New Moon II (BAH 24, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) 1
2 Girls on Film (GBR 42, Peter Morton, Andrew Palfrey, Matt Cornwell) 2
3 Otto (NOR 68, Bent Christian Wilhelmsen, Lasse Berthelsen, Luka Strahovnik) 3
4 Momo (SUI 229, Dieter Schön, Markus Wieser, Thomas Auracher) 4
5 John B (BAH 22, Gavin Mckinney, Lars Horn Johannessen, Flavio Marazzi) 5
6 Ali Baba (GER 84, Wolf-Eberhard Richter, Beata Kallkowski, Uwe Schwarick) 6

Full results: https://www.manage2sail.com/en-US/event/GermanOpen22qm55mR2021#!/results?classId=8e1da5d0-5ef8-4b63-af6d-309d408ccddb

Robert Deaves

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