Please select your home edition
Edition
Lennon Thermalite 728x90 3

SAP 505 World Championships at Barbados Yacht Club Overall

by Kimball Livingston on 4 May 2013 27 April - 3 May 2013

Dodging turtles, dodging bullets to become World Champions

Claas Lehmann and Leon Oehme lived the longest day of their sporting lives on Friday - and came away champions. With Lehmann steering and Oehme out on the trapeze wire, they went to the line of race nine of the 2013 SAP 5O5 World Championship as one of three teams with a chance at the title, all of them German, all of them veteran, one of them a five-time champion who would have been the house bet to win.

No one else in the 69-boat fleet could crack the top three, no matter what. Tensions ran high, ratcheted higher by a delayed start, and then—

"Both my opponents got poor starts," said Lehmann, in his other life a surgeon from Hamburg. "Right away we knew we had a shot, but it's a long race. So much can happen. We wanted to be safe in every move, and then-"

And then they touched a mark while rounding, and that's a foul. The penalty is to execute a 360-degree turn. In reality, Lehmann and Oehme had enough in the bank to take their penalty many times over, but the higher reality is that, when you've dedicated yourself for years and decades to racing one kind of boat with one tribe of people, who become your people, and you're finally on the threshold of winning the big one, it comes down, Lehmann said, to being "just too nervous."

No bother. The pre-race leaders, Cologne attorney Stefan Boehm and crewman Gerald Roos, were fighting in the pack for clear air. Five-time champion Wolfgang Hunger, a physician from Kiel, was doing better but not by a lot. Lehmann and Roos had been early race leaders, but it did not matter one whit that two boats had passed them. This wasn't about race nine. It was about the 2013 World Championship. Oehme told his skipper, "Just settle down and sail." On the last leg of the race, even knowing that the left side had been heavily favored most of the time, Boehm and Roos headed to the right, just to roll the dice. "We would have done the same thing," Lehmann said, but instead of applying a tight cover, he worked back toward the middle of the course and called it good enough. American Mike Holt and crewman Carl Smit dashed out with a big lead to take first for the race, and Australian Sandy Higgins was out of touch in second, and they were welcome to it, and then—

Right in the middle of the celebration came word that Boehme and Roos believed they had been prejudiced at the start by a marker boat moving at an unsteady speed. Boehm was requesting redress. Suddenly, Claas Lehman and Leon Oehme might as well have been back on the racecourse, looking over their shoulders, and then-

It was over. The regatta's international jury took a full hour to consider the request but declined to overturn the results on the water. Lehmann and Oehme, who'd had a few instances of turtle dodging during the week—Barbados is an important breeding ground for hawksbills—had dodged their last bullet.

Boehm, who dropped out of race nine when he determined that the outcome of the race was already settled, came second in the final standings. Hunger was third, completing the all-German top three.

As usual at a regatta featuring SAP Analytics applied to racecourse data, the biggest rush to the computers in the SAP Sailors' Lounge, to try to sort out the why's, leg by leg and tack by tack, came from the less-consistent finishers in the middle of the pack. It's one thing to think you know something, quite another to see it through the data.

The fleet of 62 boats that raced on Friday was bolstered by one new arrival, a 5O5 shipped from California for locals Jason Tindale and Robert Povey, so that Barbados would have an entry. Their only practice in an unfamiliar boat consisted of leaving the beach an hour ahead of the pack, so their 51st place finish honorably represented host Barbados Yacht Club.

Full overall race results can be found here.

Related Articles

New XPS Aluminium Alloy
Introduced by Seldén for their dinghy spars Seldén Masts Ltd is delighted to announce the introduction of their new XPS (Xtra Proof Strength) aluminium alloy. Posted on 6 Sep
505 UK Nationals at Hayling Island
USA triumph once again on UK waters Hayling Island Sailing Club welcomed the 505 fleet at the 505 UK Open National Championship 2017 - a glamorous club, hosting a prestigious class! The UK 505 class were very happy to welcome travelling boats from Australia, USA and France. Posted on 18 Aug
Are you getting the results you want?
Championship Success For P&B Sails What a month it has been for P&B Sails! The continuous developments made by the loft over the winter have paid dividends with our customers and race team reporting blistering performance as they compete at their events. Posted on 9 Aug
Kieler Woche day 4
Seven nations celebrating victories The first 14 Kiel Week titles on the triangular courses in Kiel-Schilksee have been decided. After the decisions in the international classes, the Germans can celebrate four victories in their home country. Posted on 20 Jun
Kieler Woche day 3
Weather expert on top form The coordination between the Kiel Week race organizers and the weather expert Dr. Meeno Schrader is working well. The meteorologist with a diploma had already recommended on Sunday evening to postpone the starts on Monday. Posted on 19 Jun
Kieler Woche day 2
Balancing act through the weather systems Sun in Kiel-Schilksee! What was the visitors' pleasure, was causing concerns for weather experts and the race committee. Because the predicted West wind was endangered to collapse by the thermal influence of the solar radiation. Posted on 18 Jun
Kieler Woche day 1
Dream start for the international classes A full program for the first day of the international classes at the Kiel Week. Head of Organisation Dirk Ramhorst could look back at an opening day after five hours, which was really random. Posted on 17 Jun
P&B's season continues
With success in a number of classes It has been a busy time for P&B. Members of our team have been competing at events around the globe and with several success stories at events such as SMELT 2017 and the 505s at Lake Garda. Posted on 8 Jun
505 Riva Cup at Fraglia Vela Riva
An almost indescribably perfect venue Sunny skies and great breezes made for the perfect playground for 45 5O5's at the 2017 edition of the Riva Cup and Italian leg of the Euro Cup. Posted on 1 Jun
The best laid plans...
We talk to Tom Gillard about his disrupted 2017 season Tom Gillard finished 2016 in style, winning the Fireball Worlds with Richard Anderton, but this year started with a serious blow to Tom's campaign after learning that Richard needed an operation on his knee that would put him out of action for a year... Posted on 15 May