Second last day of racing meant waiting a while for breeze
Thin cloud cover prevented thermals from building up on the penultimate day of Kiel Week on Saturday, June 25th. The attempts of starting the races had to be postponed. The wind remained light, so the foil classes, Nacra 17 and iQFoils, were cancelled. The other classes managed at least a small program. In the Medal Races of the eight Olympic disciplines for Kiel Week on Sunday, crews from Australia, Finland, Great Britain, Italy and Germany (four times) are sailing as overall leaders in yellow jerseys.
With great composure, the British James Peters and Fynn Sterritt can let the Medal Race come to them. After a two-year break, they have just returned to the regatta course and are now in the lead: “I had a knee injury, and we used the time to work. Now we have our eyes on the 2024 Games”, Sterritt said. “The conditions on the course under land were difficult today, but fair. We like Kiel Week. It’s a great mix between sailing and partying.” Going into the final, the Brits are ahead of Denmark’s Frederik Rask and Jakob Precht Jensen and New Zealand’s Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie.
After a long wait ashore, the signal to go out came as a bit of a surprise to Thomas Plößel from Hamburg. Only in a fast sprint the interim crew of Sophie Steinlein made it to the boat, which the helmswoman had already rigged. The team left the harbor well behind the fleet. In the race, however, they turned the tables and sailed to victory. Although they only finished 14th in the last race of the day, they will go into the final race as the clear leaders ahead of Sweden’s Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler and Aleksandra Melzacka and Sandra Jankowiak from Poland.
With the change from the gender-separated Olympic disciplines to the mixed class, the German crews have got a good tailwind. In the new constellations the experienced athletes score impressively. The DSV squad will start the Medal Race on Sunday with a trio on the first three places. The couple Malte and Anastasiya Winkel lead ahead of Luise Wanser and Philipp Autenrieth and the freshly formed crew of Simon Diesch and Anna Markfort. Beaming, Anastasiya Winkel came off the water after two victories. “Our day today”, she rejoiced. “We just worked well together. Malte made good starts, I really saw the pressure. And when we were in front, we defended it cleanly.”
Australian Mara Stransky, who enters the Medal Race in the yellow jersey, has a completely new experience: “This is exciting, I haven’t had this before. It’s also great that my teammates have also made it into the final”, said the Olympic 14th from Tokyo. After top results in the first six races, however, she had to take a damper in Saturday’s race with a 21st place. “I started on the left and the race went over to the right. But before that I had a great week. Of course, you come here to win, but I didn’t expect it to work out so well.” Perhaps it’s also due to the surprisingly warm weather in Kiel. “The last time I was here, it was cold and rainy. I enjoy this atmosphere.” Ahead of the decisive final, she has a comfortable lead over Mirthe Akkerman from the Netherlands and Monika Mikkola from Finland.
BFD-festival at the Ilca 7: 21 sail numbers were noted by the race committee at the start under tightened conditions for the only race of the day and accordingly put the athletes on the list of disqualified. This also affected the top finishers. Especially annoying for Nik Willim, the man from Germany that sailed over the line as the supposed winner and was presented with the nasty surprise there: “Super annoying. With the victory I would have 14 points less on the account and could race for the overall victory on Sunday.” So it is currently fifth place and only a very theoretical chance of a medal position. Going into the Medal Race, Finland’s Valtteri Uusitalo is the leader ahead of Wannes van Laer from Belgium and compatriot Kaarle Tapper.
11th ACO Musto Skiff World Championship
Great Britain’s Rick Peacock, who has three fourth-place finishes as his best World Championship results so far, defended his lead at Kiel Week. In the tight wind on Friday he took the lead, on Saturday he fended off the attack of South African Andy Tarboton. However, the points gap became smaller before the final day. But Peacock can expect to win a medal this time. The trio of him, Tarboton and Peter Greenhalgh from the Great Britain pulled clear of the rest of the field.
“Very tight racing today. Winning the pin was the key. I managed it in the first race, but then a yellow flag. It was difficult with light winds to sail fast, and the current at the top mark seemed to make it tricky for starboard layline”, Peacock reported. Talaton agrees with him: “It was tough out there today – two races in light wind with some shifts thrown in the mix too. I was trying to keep it free and fast through the day and keep an eye on the fleet each beat. Some surface current made mark rounding and laylines very tricky.”
Peter Greenhalgh made the day’s exertions clear: “A long day with 6.5 hours on the water and 3.5 litres of hydration drink, but 2 light races that seemed to be good for me, but not as good as the unstoppable Rob Richardson, who carried his previous successes through to today! Plenty of tight racing at the front, and people all desperately trying to squeeze that extra bit of pace out of their boats to match Richardson. I’m looking forward to the final day!” Rob Richardson is a former 29er sailor and had the two bullets today: “It was a great day for me. I managed to win both races in the light winds, which actually suit me better. It was amazingly close racing, as Kiel continues to deliver. Hopefully, I will have a shot at getting a medal tomorrow.” He’s fourth ahead of final day.
J/24 and J/70
The wind may change for Kiel Week, but the top crews in the J/24 and J/70 classes remain ahead. Ireland’s Cillian Dickson caught “not the best day” on Saturday but remains at the top. “It was difficult conditions. Tomorrow we’ll focus entirely on ourselves and hope to take the win. It’s our first time in Kiel and we’re looking forward to sailing against the Germans and the Swedes. Kiel Week is an important event in the J/24 calendar”, said the helmsman, who leads Stefan Karsunke and Jan Kähler that are both from Hamburg ahead of the two remaining races.
In the J/70, Sunday will be a German-Danish duel. Due to a mistake in the last race of the day Carsten Kemmling from Hamburg let the Danes of Bo Bøje Pedersen come closer. Florian Spalteholz from Hamburg, the 2008 Olympic eighth in the Tornado, moved up to third place.
Day 9 of Kiel Week 2022 will be livestreamed on Sunday, June 26th starting with Medal Races of 8 classes at 13:00 (UTC +2). For streaming links, click here.
Text Credits: Kieler Woche
Photo Credits: ChristianBeeck.de / Sascha Klahn