Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Kieler Woche 2009: Less Wind but More Match Racing

Elliott 6m Match Race: Katie Spithill (Aus). Image copyright okpress/Kieler-woche.de

by Hermann Hell

Another day of light winds has upset the schedule of the 127th Kieler Woche. Once again, it was only the Women’s Match Racing event which was able to start this morning and the race committee worked hard to complete their program before the quarter-finals on Tuesday. The 49er and the 2.4 mR with two and three races were the only other Classes which could sail today. All other sailors had to enjoy the sun on the dock and wait. “The wind did not increase in the way we hoped it would this morning, but we look forward to a better weather forecast tomorrow. It is very sad, especially for the Star and the Finn, which have only sailed one race so far”, said Jobst Richter, Chairman of the Kieler Woche Race Committee.

With two more races on the scoreboard the 49er fleet is now able to split into a gold and silver fleet for tomorrow. The best performers today were the Danish brothers Peter and Sören Hansen who won both of their races. With five races completed the 49ers are able to discard their worst result so the Hansen’s discard their OCS from race 3 and move to the top of the leaderboard. The Hansen’s are follow by ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings leaders, Paul Campell-James and Mark Asquith (GBR) who are on equal points with Lennart Briesenick-Pudenz and Morten Massmann (GER) and the Croatian team of Pavle Kostov and Peter Cupac.

49er AUS 1051 Euan McNicol and Sam Newton. Image copyright segel-bilder.de/Kieler Woche.

The 2.4mR fleet completed three races today. The first race of the day was won by Kol Barend from the Netherlands with overnight leader Jens Als Andersen (DEN) taking second place. Race two went to 2000 Paralympic Sailing Competition gold medallist and multiple World Champion Heiko Körger (GER) with Great Britain’s Megan Pascoe finishing second and Luke Lawrence (GER) taking third place. In the six race of their series and the last of the day, another Paralympic sailor finished first. Thierry Schmitter (NED), bronze medallist from Sydney, led from Heiko Kröger (GER) in second place and Jens Als Andersen (DEN) in third. With one discard on the leaderboard the top three are Jens Als Andersen (DEN), Heiko Kröger (GER) and Thierry Schmitter (NED). “Jens Als Andersen sails very smart and clever here in Kiel. I know him very well from the Olympic Games in Sydney where he won the silver medal and I the gold. But we will have two more days and I think I have chance to beat him”, stated an optimistic Heiko Kröger.

The action continued for the women’s match racers and the second stage round robin repercharge was completed to decide the final two teams in the quarter-final. The fifteen teams who did not qualify from the first round robin were split into two groups with the winner of each group taking the last two places in the quarter-final tomorrow.

It was another day of light wind sailing for the Elliott 6m and another long day on the water for the race committee, on-water umpires and sailors alike. Group D, with seven boats, was the first to finish and for many it was over to the rule book to confirm which of the teams would qualify! Julie Bossard, Lucinda Whitty and Silvia Roca all finished their day with four wins from their six races but it was Bossard who claimed the place in the quarter-final. Working back through the results of the round robin to break the tie it was eventually the results against Anne Le Berre which decided the final order. Of the three teams, Bossard was the only one to beat Le Berre so the quarter-final place is hers. Roca takes second place in the round robin as she was victorious in her match against Whitty.

The final place in the quarter-final was again decided from a tie. The eight teams in Group E each team sailed seven races and the Australian team helmed by Katie Spithill finished with six wins, tied with Ekaterina Skudina’s Russian team. After an early blip, losing her first match to home favourite Ulrike Schuemann, Spithill, the 2007 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship silver medallist, posted a clean sweep of victories for the rest of the day, including therefore the match against Skudina. Spithill takes the final place in the quarter-final joining the six other teams who qualified yesterday. The skippers line up is: Lucy MacGregor, (GBR), Nicky Souter (AUS), Paula Lewin (BER), Renee Groeneveld (DEN), Silke Hahlbrock (GER), Genny Tulloch (USA), Julie Bossard (FRA) and Katie Spithill (AUS).

There were no races today for the Laser, Laser Radial, 470s, RSX, Star or Finn fleets.

Racing continues in Kiel tomorrow, the forecast indicates there will be enough wind in the morning to start on time and that it will increase during the day but the pressure is now on to complete enough races to enable the Medal Races to be completed.

Besides the ISAF Sailing World Cup competition, Kieler Woche has even more to offer. Three high class international championships (the X-35 Worlds, the X-41 Europeans and the SAP Europeans of the 505) and the virtual Kieler Woche online are other highlights of this year’s event, which again brings together all varieties of the sport from cutter sailing to surfboard, dinghy and offshore yachts, disabled sailing events and the famous windjammer parade.

Kieler Woche 2009

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