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RS500 World Championship at Travemunder Woche

by Heather Chipperfield 15 Aug 2016 14:41 BST 26-29 July 2016
RS500 Worlds at Travemunder Woche © Christian Beeck /

Fabulous sunshine met the 230 RS sailors and their friends and families at Travemunder Woche. Several of the UK travellers had truly horrendous travelling tales, such as 18 hours to go 5 miles approaching Dover port. Our RS100 sailor from Australia had actually had a shorter travelling time than some! Hats off to the guys who showed real character and perseverence through such horrible journeys. Once here, everyone relaxed into the 30 degree sunshine and the amazing festival that is Travemunder Woche. At the International party on Monday evening, National costumes, drinks and food were swapped and a represetative for all 16 nationals gave a short speech. My favourite was the bathtime tale from Sweden, the singing from the French, and Junior representing GBR and RS Sailing explained that as the event 'get you back on the water' guy - "If you Brexit, I fexit!"

Day 1 was abandoned due to no wind. Perhaps some of the exhausted travellers were pleased about this, giving them time to fully recover their equilibrium in the hot sunshine.

Day 2, and on course Foxtrott (RS200s, 400s and 500s), the racing started with true German efficiency bang on time. With around 7 knots and a lumpy sea, shift spotting and boat speed were all-important, leading to some snakes and ladders racing on the RS400 course. After 35 minutes of sailing, the wind packed up and the last few RS400s limped through the finish line. The RS200s and RS500s, having started the usual 5 and 10 minutes later, however, had their races abandoned.

The RS200s were 'whisked' across to the media course where, after a wait, they had 2 races in light wind. On Foxtrott, there was a long wait for a promised sea-breeze. During the wait, the RS500s disappeared to sail 2 races on the media course in the promised sea-breeze.

Alone now on Foxtrott, the R400's long wait was rewarded by a light sea breeze exactly when forecast.

Without the larger RS500 fleet to cater for, a shorter start line was set and, after 2 general recalls, the black flag was out. Clean away thereafter, the 400s got a further 2 good races in F2 wind, returning to shore an exhausting 8 hours after having left it.

Day 3, and the start was brought forward to an unsociable but sensible 1000hrs to make the most of the forecast wind. Again, a timely start in F2, which after 15 minutes into the RS400's race pipped up considerably, surprising some of us! A further 2 races in similar on and off and shifting wind kept everyone on their toes.

Steve Restall & Chris Stubbs continued to dominate the RS400s after 6 races, with a steady 2,3,2 on day 3, and 3 new race winners - Stewart & Sarah Robertson, Jon & Nicky Heissig and David & Rebecca Brown - changed the order considerably.

In the RS500s, Swedish Martin & Axel Johanssen put in a steady 2,2,4 keeping them at the top of the results after their two day 2 bullets. Italian Federico Maccari (out of the coach boat and into the dinghy) and Stefano Costini had a great day 3 with two first places.

In the RS200s, the domination of Josh Metcalf and Mille Alcock continued with a further 2 bullets, giving a clear 10 point lead over Jack Holden & Amy Yeoman.

Several sailors from all fleets gathered in the evening sunshine to watch the RS Aero River Racing in front of tall ship 'Passat'. A great spectacle, where the rules book appeared to have been thrown firmly out of the boats!

Report from Martin Johansson, SWE51

Just half a day's drive and we were already at the Worlds. Usually we need 24+ hours to reach exotic RS events. Expectations about Germany were not as high as for Southern Europe, but were we wrong! Travemünde appeared to be a lovely small town with excellent location for sailing as well as for holidays - not to mention the great RS venue just in front of the beach.

All RS classes gathered on a huge lawn just in front of the shoreline with plenty of space for boats, Dutch party-tents and British camper-vans. On the beachwalk the race committee had placed the SAP media center with tracking and live coverage from RIB's and drones together with live commentary on a huge screen - spectacular! Broadcasting from a short course with intense racing -this is how to get the public informed and interested in sailing and really fun for us as well.

The racing: first day no wind, we didn't even leave the parking, but for the one's really eager to race we still had the welcome party, where everyone performed, as usually, over expectations. The Swedes started the party with their national hymn "Helan går" accompanied with vodka and herring followed by the lovely dressed French team singing folklore and serving cheese. Lots of funny speeches including "Prins Harry poop in the bathtub" and Brexit jokes from the Brits.

Day two started with two abandoned races but late afternoon we got some wind!! Finally we got the racing going and the final day we had 4 races on the short media course with all the media coverage you can imagine including live on water broadcasting and interviews. Great racing!

All week we had really tricky conditions with pressure nowhere and everywhere, wind-shifts, gusts and no wind. The race committee worked really professional and managed to give us fair sailing - well done.

We are looking forward to the next Worlds, and wherever it will be, we already know it will be GREAT. See you at the next Worlds (if not before).

Overall results can be found here.

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