Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Lehtinen (Finland) has a close encounter in the Womens Match Racing. Image copyright Kieler Woche.
by Hermann Hell
The wind disrupted racing at Kieler Woche again on the third day of this event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup. Only the 49er, 2.4 mR and the Womens Match Racing competition could finish races today. "We tried to get all classes on the water today but every time we thought we could start the wind dropped again," Jobst Richter, Chairman of Kieler Woche explained. And the forecast for tomorrow promises not much more wind. In this case Jobst Richter and his team may take the decision to cancel the races for the 2.4 mR, who have completed nine races in Kiel, to use this course, which is close to the shore and shows promise of a chance to sail fair races for the other classes.
49ers: It was another long day on the water in very light airs for the 49ers. They did manage two more races and the leader board resembles a real battle between the British and the Danes. Leaders at the beginning of the day, Chris Draper and Peter Greenhalgh scored an eleventh in race six but recovered with a second in the last race of the day to lead the gold fleet by three points from the Danish crew of Emil and Simon Toft Nielsen who have recorded very consistent results with a win and a third for the day and a lowest score of seventh all week. Chris Draper said, "It was around 2-5 knots with very disturbed water, an unstable breeze with a lot of traffic. We lacked boat speed in the first race but in the second we had a good start and more boat speed."
The Nielsen brothers sit on 23 points, eight points clear of the chasing pack of four boats on 31 points including two more British teams, another Danish crew, and Swedish and French teams. The fleet is very close and in these conditions one small mistake can be very costly. As Draper (GBR) confirms, "All the best teams are here except for the other British teams, the Aussies (Outteridge and Jensen and the Sibello brothers from Italy, most of the top crews are here.
Womens Match Racing: The gold group of the Womens Match Racing provided a couple of surprises today. Former leaders Lucy Macgregor (GBR) and Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) had a bad day, losing all three of their flights whilst world number two, Claire Leroy (FRA) has revelled in the light conditions winning all three of her flights sailed. Also in the mix is Genevieve Tulloch (USA) winning both her races and the flying Finnish team skippered by Silja Lehtinen who won two of her flights, losing her first race of the regatta to Claire Leroy. The race committee were still trying hard to finish the group stages at 19.00hrs in the evening but eventually had to postpone until the morning.
2.4 mR: That you can trust in the wind conditions on the 2.4 mR course, was shown to be true again today. Three more races today and now nine in total. Still in the lead is Megan Pascoe (GBR) but close behind by two points is Heiko Kroeger (GER) who has improved his performances during the last two days from sixth place to second and in contention to win his fifth Kieler Woche. "We have this year a very strong competition here in Kiel with a lot of former world champions and medallists from the Paralympics. You can see that they are very professional so it is not easy to win here against all these good sailors," Heiko Kroeger said.
Mens 470: With three races sailed the 470 class was still waiting for more races due to the lack of stable wind on course Bravo. Down in 17th place but with ambitious plans for Weymouth 2012, Lucas Zellmer and Heiko Seelig (GER) are trying to comeback into the game. "For our 2008 campaign for the Games in Qingdao we were not perfectly prepared. Now we start for 2012 with more days out on the water. We need to experience as much as we can, we have a training group with some Spanish teams," explained Lucas Zellmer. But the comeback for Lucas Zellmer and Heiko Seelig who have two times placed second in the European championships, will not be that easy. Some young German crews in the 470, like Morten Bogacki and Jens Steinborn and Mathias Schmidt and Florian Reichsstädter, are well on their way to becoming top international crews.
Womens 470: The Womens 470 fleet also spent most of the day ashore waiting for the sea breeze to fill in, but to no avail. Another team that has been producing very promising results in the 470 classes are the Singaporeans. Siobhan Tann, currently lying in 15th place in the Womens 470 fleet at Kieler Woche said of the long waiting ashore. "In Singapore we are quite used to it because the wind is quite light where we sail at the National Sailing Centre on the East coast, so we just learn to stay alert ad play our games ashore, keep hydrated and eat."
Laser and Laser Radial: Both the Laser and Laser Radial fleets were unable to complete any further racing today. Two time world champion and 2008 winner of Kieler Woche, Tom Slingsby of Australia leads the Laser fleet in Kiel with three wins in the first three races. He came to Europe to compete in the ISAF Sailing World Cup events in Medemblik, Kiel and Weymouth and to compete at the world championship in the UK. He said: "I like Kiel but I am more of a strong wind sailor, typical Australian conditions." He went to say he preferred the system of keeping the sailors ashore until the conditions were right, "it is all about quality not quantity" he said. Slingsby explained the Australian team qualification system, "To be part of the Australian Sailing Team you need to qualify which involves being in the top ten in the worlds or another grade 1 ISAF regatta, so the level is high. We have off the water psychologists, physiotherapists, physiologists, dieticians, nutrionists and the Australian Institute of Sport, which helps the priority sports in Australia."
Slingsby said that his goal was to come to Europe to train and prepare for the world championships in September. He says the level of competition is very high here, the current Olympic and world champion Paul Goodison (GBR) is very strong and that the young Croatian and German teams here are improving fast. He said of his own training programme, "I was lucky to have Michael Blackburn (AUS) as a training partner, we train and work together and were number one and two together." On his objectives for the future Slingsby was very assured, "Its gold or bust for me. I went to China as one of the favourites but did not do well. Before the Olympics in China, if you asked me would I take the silver, I would say no, it is all or nothing and even though I came away without a medal, if you ask me the same thing the day before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, I would give you the same answer."
Laser Radial: It was also another long, frustrating day ashore for the Laser Radial fleet. The Danish team have a strong Laser Radial team with two boats currently in the top three, Alberte Holm Lindberg and Sarah Gunni. Annette Lundoe, one of their younger team members who was sailing at her first ISAF Sailing World Cup event at Kieler Woche explains: "We try to keep moving, try not to sleep, fix our boats. At these times you can see who is good and who is bad at concentrating. We help each other on the water as a team, to get into gear. We have a very strong team in the Laser Radials from Denmark."
There was no further racing for the Finns and Star classes today. Racing continues tomorrow with the medal races live in front of the harbour at Kiel on Wednesday 23 June.