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Kieler Woche 2021 - Kiel Cup for ORC class

by Kieler Woche 10 Sep 2021 15:57 BST 5-11 September 2021
In a light breeze on the Bay of Strande, the athletes in the Kiel Cup completed three races and crowned their best of Kieler Woche 2021. © Sascha Klahn

The Kieler Woche winners 2021 in the Kiel Cup of offshore yachts are Michael Berghorn with the "halbtrocken 4.5" in the ORC I group, Torsten Bastiansen at the helm of the "Xen-Sydbank" after ORC II and Kai Mares, who led the "IMMAC Fram" (ORC III/IV) to the highest podium.

Four races in light to very light breeze offered an unusual challenge for all participating crews.

Only the early bird catches the worm! At sunrise, race officer Peter Doeppken had warned the sailors to start the first race of the day on the final Kiel Cup Wednesday (8 September) shortly after 9 am. At least the big boats didn't have too far to go. Instead of the usual course next to Kiel's lighthouse, they sailed in the Bay of Strande. Only there was the light southerly wind in the morning enough for a difficult but fair competition. "We shortened the first race," said Doeppken, "the conditions were certainly at the lower edge of what was sailable, but on the last day we'll try everything we can."

After the windward mark into the doldrums

Especially as there was only one race on Monday, which was also held in light winds. The shortened short race was the undoing of the newly crowned ORC I world champion Michael Berghorn from Kieler Yacht-Club, Germany. At the windward mark, tactician Jes-Gram Hansen recommended taking the near-shore side of the course downwind towards Schilksee - and ultimately directed the "halbtrocken 4.5" straight into a slack hole. "I would have made the same decision, because the side on the start cross of the successors was still the better one," the owner and helmsman took his Danish pro in his defence. As the Mills 45 was the fastet ship of the whole field, quite a few chasers had their doom in mind and chose the other side to the open sea.

Three victories on the day were "only" enough to win the group

"We wanted to gybe and get back to the others, but by then it was too late," said Berghorn, who in the end had a fourth place in the results list in addition to his three bullets and could not discard it. That was only foreseen after five races. Nevertheless, it was enough for the Kieler Woche victory according to ORC I ahead of the Dutch Ker 46 "Van Uden" of Gerd-Jan Poortman and German Lars Hückstadt's XP-44 "Y-Day". But the newly born overall ranking after ORC I and II was lost to the "Xen-Sydbank" of and with Torsten Bastiansen living in Flensburg, Germany.

Clubhouse Prize of the KYC to Flensburg

The Dane was rewarded with the Clubhouse Prize of the KYC at the award ceremony, a handsome silver cup. "That's quite prestigious, beating the world champion of the big ones," said a delighted Bastiansen, who kept a flawless clean sheet in his own classification group against the Farr 40 "Farr-Lässig" of Michael Schulz from Lower Saxony, Germany. "Reading the course correctly was the be-all and end-all," said Bastiansen with a twinkle in his eye, who still wants to win the hat-trick at the Blue Ribbon in Flensburg and the international German championship title in Olpenitz at the Baltic Sea later this season.

Ideas needed, to revitalise offshore racing

Like the winner according to ORC III/IV, Kai Mares from Kiel with the Italia 9.98 "IMMAC Fram", everyone agrees that a healthy future for sea sailing seems to be in danger. "The development has gone downhill, not least because of Corona," said Mares, who left a loyal Kieler Woche participant behind him with the "halbtrocken", a First 36.7 owned by Knut Freudenberg (GER). In total, there were only twelve yachts in the Kiel Cup. Few regattas in general in the 2020 and 21 seasons have caused word-of-mouth to collapse. Especially in Germany, the sailing scene seems weakened. "In the Olympic Sailing Center Schilksee alone, there are numerous yachts that could take part," knows Dirk Ramhorst, the head of the Kieler Woche regatta. For the winter, networking is the order of the day and any ideas for revitalising the scene are welcome.

On Thursday (9 September) the second part of the Kiel Week starts at 1 pm. The wind forecasts are gradually becoming more favourable with around three Beaufort from the east. The 99th Star Class World Championship will continue until Saturday.

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