Thursday, 16 June 2011

Kieler Woche : 60 nations and 3 million visitors

Kieler Woche, 18th to 26th June
60 nations, three million visitors and the whole range of sailing

by Hermann Hell

129 years old and one of the world’s regatta classics – yet Kieler Woche (18th to 26th June) keeps churning out new ideas year by year, setting new trends for the future of the sailing sport. And year by year, its numbers keep soaring to record level. Take 1500 crews from 60 nations who will be racing on the courses in 37 Olympic and international classes, add the big boats on their off-shore courses, and frame all this with a great summer festival in the city of Kiel – these are the ingredients for an irresistible event which attracts about three million visitors each year.

This year’s media focus will certainly be on the races of the Olympic disciplines (from 18th to 22nd June), in which the German athletes will set out to win a ticket to the 2012 Olympics on their home waters. For the international sailing stars, the event will be like a dress-hearsal for the European Championships in Finland later on. Kiel will also be the final stage of the Sailing World Cup, and after the Kieler Woche races, we will know the overall winners in the ten disciplines of the seven-stage series.

Kieler Woche 2011 will also be a showcase for the fast skiff and catamaran classes. The regatta organizers have been quick in welcoming these modern sailing disciplines at the Kieler Woche. The Outer Fjord will see the exciting races of the Musto Performance skiffs, which were designed in the 1990ies by Joachim Harpprecht from Kiel, and the class has rapidly developed since then in the U.K. The 29erXX’s will have their Kieler Woche debut – a class with Olympic aspirations for the 2016 Games. And after competing here in 2000, it will be the A-Cats’ return to the Kieler Woche race courses, too.

The Tornado races will even be taking place right in the heart of the festival activities in the city centre. According to a brand new concept, short races are scheduled to happen in wind speeds between one and 30 knots and enfold their drama immediately before the eyes of the audience at the Audi Sailing Arena on the Inner Fjord. ITA president Roland Gäbler (from Tinglev, Denmark) has invited ten crews to present an action-filled show on the water in front of a stage on which rock concerts will round off the racing activities.

Seaworthy multi-hulls will also be part of the Kieler Woche regatta activities. For the first time, they will be at the starting line of the opening race from Kiel to neighbouring Eckernförde. Among them will be two-time Olympic Champion Jesper Bank from Denmark, who will be sailing his brand new Carbon³, a 40-foot trimaran built for record hunting on the North and Baltic Seas.

The Kieler Woche yacht crews will not only be eager to set new records, but also win titles. The ORC rating classes will be determining their national offshore champions off Kiel, the Farr30 crews will fight for the European Championship and the Gold Cup winner will even be the best X-99 worldwide.

Regatta Dates Kieler Woche 2011

18 - 22 June: Olympic Classes / ISAF Sailing World Cup
(470, 49er, 2.4mR open, Women Matchrace/Elliott 6m, Finn-Dinghy, Laser, Laser radial W, Neil Pryde RS:X, Starboat)

23 - 26 June: International Classes
(29er, 290erXX, 420, 505, Contender, Dragon, Europe, Flying Dutchman, Folkeboat, Formula 18, H-Boat, Hobie 16, J 24, Musto Performance Skiff, OK-Dinghy, Platu 25)

18 - 26 June: Offshore
18 - 19 June: Welcome Race from Kiel to Eckernförde and back (ORCi, ORC-Club), Offshore IDM
20 - 22 June: Kiel-Cup Alpha (ORCi), Farr 30 Pre-Europeans, X-99 (German Open)
23 - 24 June: Silbernes Band, long-distance (ORCi, ORC-Club), Offshore IDM
25 June: Senatspreis (ORCi, ORC-Club), Offshore IDM
18 - 22 June: Kiel-Cup Foxtrott (Albin Express, CB 66, J-80 (German Open), Laser SB3, Melges 24 (German Open), Streamline
22 June: Kaiserpokal (final race of all Kiel-Cup groups)

23 - 26 June: Farr 30 European Championship
23 - 26 June: X-99 Goldcup
18 - 25 June: Offshore IDM (Welcome Race, Silbernes Band and Senatspreis)
20 - 22 June: X-99 German-Open, Kiel-Cup Alpha
20 - 22 June: Farr 30 Pre-Europeans, Kiel-Cup Alpha
18 - 22 June: Melges 24 German Open, Kiel-Cup Foxtrott

Kieler Woche