Sunday, 3 July 2011

Stormy Start to Warnemünder Woche

Die Molen vor Warnemünde wurden heute heftig umspült. Image copyright Pepe Hartmann.

Nieger Uemgang does not fail to delight despite storm and rain – Sailors have to stay ashore

by Nadja Arp

"We brave wind and rain – for the sake of the WARNEMUENDER WOCHE", with this pithy words Jürgen Seidel, Minister of Economics, Labour and Tourism of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, opens the 74th WARNEMUENDER WOCHE in a short and concise way. Long speeches and the extensive opening program had to be sacrificed due to the bad weather: too stormy and too wet! It was too much wind and wave even for the sailors: all the races of the day were called off after an initial start delay and ban on departure. Only the participants of the Niegen Uemgang braved wind and weather and delighted hundreds of visitors.

Annett Nickolait, meteorologist of the German Meteorological Service, did not give much hope to the excited Racing Committee on the morning of the first day of regattas in the second largest sailing event of Germany: "Unfortunately, I have to inform you that the extensive low pressure area from Poland is bringing strong winds of up to 40 knots and steady rain. There might even be a thunderstorm as the evening approaches". Still hopefully, the Head of the Racing Committee, Uli Finckh, postponed the start by two hours – but unfortunately all the races of the opening day were called off, affecting all boat classes. "The German Meteorological Service couldn’t forecast any weather improvement. Also the wind conditions are supposed to change only in the late evening", Finckh explains.

Der Wassermann war natürlich bei diesem Wetter in seinem Element. Image copyright Pepe Hartmann.

That is really too bad, taking into account that the kick-off day of the event was scattered with international highlights. 250 sailors from 23 nations, including Israel, Australia and Singapore, were waiting eagerly for the start of the Laser Europa Cup. Amongst them was Franzi Goltz, who just won the fourth place in the Kieler Woche, and her German main competitor concerning the Olympia ticket, Lisa Fasselt, who lives in her adopted city of Rostock.

Mit dem Kran vom Warnemünder Segel-Club wurden bis in den späten Abend Boote gewassert. Image copyright Pepe Hartmann.

"Life begins at 40 knots", is a cool saying among surfers – but the weather conditions were even too difficult for the board athletes of the newcomer class BIC Techno: "One of the crucial factors for not letting them start were especially the intimidating high waves", Steffen Kinzl, Principal Race Officer of the Alpha track of the BIC’s, states.

Even the offshore crews of the WARNEMUENDER WOCHE had to cancel their Warnemuende Cup. "A storm with winds up to 40 knots in combination with the wave is also difficult for big boats. The risk for men and material is just too big", Uwe Wenzel, person in charge of the sea track, clarifies. 40 sea miles were to be sailed today by 35 boats between 8 and 13 meters in the Warnemuende Cup.

Auch heftiger Regen und Sturmböen konnten die Begeisterung nicht trüben. Image copyright Pepe Hartmann.

The forecast for tomorrow looks actually a bit more brightful: "The wind is supposed to decrease. The organisation team decided to start at 11 a.m. just as planned, and, additionally, to have one race more", Finckh concluded the first race day of the

The participants of the traditional Niegen Uemgang didn’t give into the bad weather and the adverse conditions: "Everyone can do it with the sun’s out, but we walk even in rain", Inge Regenthal of the Warnemuender Verein cheerfully explains. "It is astonishing that so many people came to applaud us even in this bad weather", she stated pleased. But there was nothing happening for the beach handball players on this Saturday: with gusts of up to 8 beaufort and heavy rain they had to call off all their games at the beach at 11 a.m. and put off the participants and spectators for tomorrow.

Die Band "The Marching Saints" sorgte mit ihrer Musik für gute Stimmung. Image copyright Pepe Hartmann.

"The event 2011 is definitely entering the history books", Lutz Scheibe of the "Machern" (organizers of the race) declares. After all the races on the regatta tracks were finally cancelled at noon, the Waschzuber crews started their program. The teams themselves and the organizers of the traditional event decided to solely present the show part to the 800 people in the audience. As the event was called off unalterably at 2 p.m. due to the bad weather condition, the Waschzuber "Atominos" of the club "Die Eisenbahner" from Rostock and its captain Hagen Böckler were declared the winners of the race by Neptune.

Warnemünder Woche