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Kieler Woche 2018 - Day 4

by Andy Rice 20 Jun 2018 00:51 BST 16-24 June 2018
Norwegian team Mathias Berthet/Alexander Franks-Penty dominated 29er-class with eight bullets and a 21 point lead © Sascha Klahn / Kiel Week

25-knot winds delivered a barnstorming conclusion to the first half of Kieler Woche, as the international classes raced towards the climax of a thrilling regatta.

Day 4 of Kieler Woche - and an exhilarating final day for the international classes, with strong winds gusting up to 25 knots. In the 117-boat 29er fleet, Matthias Berthet and Alexander Franks Penty from Norway were a class apart. They dominated with eight victories from 13 starts. Behind them the Finnish duo of Ville Korhonen and Robin Berner secured second place ahead of the Swedish Team of Oscar Engström and Hugo Westberg in third place.

The 29ers were one of many highlights as the international fleets concluded the first half of Kieler Woche. In total, 700 boats contested the first four days over eight courses, with a total of 280 races held thus far. And to think we're only half way through the world's biggest sailing regatta!

Today was also the day to see which of the old world-beating duo would prevail over their former sailing partner. Wolfgang Hunger and Holger Jess have won three 505 World Championships together, but this week were competing in different boats. The stronger conditions ended up suiting Jess, who this week was crewing for Australian helmsman Michael Quirk. "Last Thursday we put the boat in the water for the first time and trained for two hours," said Jess, proud of his achievement. "Today's strong wind suited us, we just got faster and faster." Going into the final race, however, any of five crews could still win overall. The tactics of Quirk & Jess were clear: to start conservatively and rely on their searing boat speed.

The Australian/German combination was certainly going quick and rounded the first mark in good shape, although hot on their heels were Hunger and his crew Julien Kleiner. But when Hunger went for the spinnaker set, uncharacteristically he capsized and it was game over for the multiple World Champion who has also won Kieler Woche 21 times. This wouldn't be the 22nd occasion for celebration. Stefan Böhm and Gerald Roos won the final race ahead of Quirk and Jess, who took overall victory by just 2 points from Stefan Köchlin / Andreas Achterberg (Germany) and the French team of Philippe Boite / Mathieu Fountaine. Hunger / Kleiner had to settle for fourth place.

It's been a 10-year wait, but Christoph Homeier is champion of Kieler Woche once again in the one-man trapeze dinghy, the Contender. "This was a good preparation for the European Championships on Lake Garda. I have a new mast, and the setup is going very well," said Homeier. Behind the German was second-placed Dane Jesper Nielsen followed by German sailor Jörg Schlienkamp in third overall.

Kilian König and Johannes Brack were set for victory in the Flying Dutchman until disaster struck in the penultimate race. With the wind gusting to Force 6 or 7, the mast buckled and sheared off about half a metre above the deck, bringing their solid regatta to an unfortunate end. Kay-Uwe Lüdtke / Kai Schäfer from Berlin were unstoppable in the stormy winds, scoring three bullets and finishing on equal points with the Bojsen-Möller brothers from Denmark. However the tie-break went in Germany's favour, relegating Jørgen [the FD Olympic Champion of 1988] and brother Jacob to the runner-up spot. Hungary's Szabolcs Majthényi / Andras Domokos came third ahead of the previous leaders König and Brack.

In the Formula 18 catamaran fleet, Germany took the top three places with Martin Friedrichsen / Björn Wendel beating Dieter Maurer / Katrin Oldenburg by five points.

In the 107-boat Laser 4.7 fleet Cesare Barabino was a class apart. After a 4th place in the opening heat last Saturday, the Italian never finished outside the top two in any race. He finished on just 16 points compared with the 57 points scored by the Dutch runner-up Paul Hameeteman who finished just four points ahead of fellow countryman Niek Kampherbeek.

Race Director Dirk Ramhorst summed up the first half of Kieler Woche: "There are two very important days in such an event: the first and last day. The first did not work out with the difficult wind but after that we had near perfect conditions." It has certainly been a spectacular and very demanding first few days on Kiel Bay, with high waves and strong winds.

On Wednesday, the intensity of Kieler Woche grows even higher. With four international and eight Olympic classes, the EUROSAF parasailing European Championships in two disciplines and the Laser Radial World Championship, there is plenty of excitement yet to come.

You can check out all the results here.

Kieler Woche, which takes place from 16 to 24 June, divides into two halves. The first half was all about the international classes and is mostly about keen amateur sailors competing against each other. The second half of the regatta begins on Wednesday with the Olympic fleets beginning their competition. Across the whole nine days, Kieler Woche will host more than 4,000 sailors from 60 nations, competing in more than 1,900 sailing boats.

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