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Kieler Woche 2021 - Anton and Johann Sach win 29er Euro Cup

by Kieler Woche 13 Sep 2021 10:16 BST 5-11 September 2021
Four Kiel Week 2021 winners from North Germany: iQ-Foiler Lena Erdil and Ole Schweckendiek (both Kiel) from the ILCA-6 class (right) as well as the Zarnekau 29er Euro Cup winners Anton (2nd from right) and Johann Sach. © Sascha Klahn

Anton and Johann Sach, 13 and 16 years young, from the small village of Zarnekau in North Germany have won the 29er Euro Cup at Kieler Woche 2021.

In the new Olympic windsurfing class iQ Foil, "gold" went to the top favourites Lena Erdil from Kiel and Sebastian Kördel, who lives in Tarifa, Spain - in the women's event after a hard fight, in the men's vastly superior.

Agata Barwinska from Poland won the women's Olympic ILCA 6 class early. Her counterpart in the men's international class was also lonely top: Ole Schweckendieck from Kiel. First place in the J/70 and J/24 went to teams from Hamburg. Dirk Ramhorst from the Kieler Yacht-Club, the head of the organisation, was very pleased with the entire event.

Almost 3,000 sailors from 23 nations came with more than 900 dinghies and keelboats, sea-going yachts and "flying" windsurfing boards to 21 competitions of the nine-day Kieler Woche 2021. "The turnout was good in view of the date being moved to September," said Ramhorst, who wants to announce all Olympic disciplines again in 2022 in addition to the international classes. The focus this year was already on the iQ Foilers, which brought windsurfing back to Kieler Woche after a nine-year abstinence and will be there for the first time at the Paris Games in 2024.

Sebastian Kördel a class of his own

He came, flew and won: Sebastian Kördel could probably only have beaten himself at the premiere of the iQ Foilers. Eleven bullets out of 16 starts, which offered gripping pictures in partly fresh winds, was not the whole truth. A few standard penalties for forgetting to check out, for example, did not prevent the World Championship fifth from building up a 15-point gap to Nico Prien from Kiel and 23 to Fabian Wolf (all NRV Hamburg).

"The weekend was ideal, with south-westerly winds and almost no sea grass on Course Juliett," says Sebastian Kördel, "an advertisement for Kieler Woche and our class." After nine years without windsurfing, the top sailor had pleaded to start in Kiel at all costs and as a milestone on the way to the next Olympic sailing competitions in Marseille, France 2024. Kördel: "Actually, I was pretty knocked out after the World Championships in Silvaplana in August, but it was important to me to show the flag here for the iQ Foilers."

After Corona test also a doping test

"I won", cheered Lena Erdil to her boyfriend as she returned to the harbour after the last race. Still carrying the sail out of the water over her head, the Kieler Woche winner in the iQ Foil class was intercepted directly by the Nada (German National Anti-Doping Agency) for doping control. That is also part of winning. After a few teething problems, the top favourite from the German Sailing Team's perspective squad rolled up the field from behind and won nine of 16 races.

Lena Erdil who lives in Kiel clearly passed Theresa Steinlein, who has chosen Lake Garda as her home. With a certain twinkle in her eye, she had originally suggested "moving the Kieler Woche iQ Foil competition to Lake Witten" (a freshwater sea about an hour driving from Kiel-Schilksee, the editor), but was then "very satisfied, with the conditions on her doorstep. "And on the traditional date at the end of June, the seaweed has not grown that long yet," Erdil said. Aleksandra Blinnikka from Finland came third.

"Kiel gave us a wonderful welcome"

High praise for the regatta on the water came from ILCA 6 winner Agata Barwinska: "It was a great week, but very challenging. We sailed eleven races in four days in very tricky conditions. But Kiel welcomed us wonderful: beautiful on the water, but also sunny and varied on land." The Polish was able to enjoy it a little longer than her competitors as she didn't even have to compete in the final race. Behind her, Hannah Snellgrove of Great Britain took "silver" ahead of Maxime Jonker of the Netherlands, the best sailor on the final day. Julia Büsselberg (Berlin) had to settle for tenth place as the best German.

They have known each other for 13 years but have been sailing together for less than a year. At their fifth regatta ever, Anton and Johann Sach won the Kieler Woche and for the first time followed in the footsteps of the multiple overall winners, father Christian and uncle Helge Sach, whose catamaran class F-18 was not announced this time. Even before the finish line of the last race, the 16-year-old trimmer took his three-year younger brother in his arms - at full speed under gennaker on the skiff for which the two seem to be made. With a sovereignty and coolness that is second to none, the young "sacks", as they are affectionately called in their Kiel-based training group, extended their narrow lead of three points from the previous day to eleven points ahead of the Swedish mixed crew Hedvig and Hugo Liljegren.

Anton preferred to ride a BMX bike

"We then stopped attacking when we were pretty sure it would be enough," says the duo, who play ice hockey similarly well and were not sure for a long time whether to emulate their father.

Anton preferred to ride a BMX bike, but in the meantime, Helge Sach texted his brother: "Watch carefully, maybe we can still learn something from them." Now Anton is one of the youngest Kieler Woche winners ever and is already looking forward to the German Championships in Berlin. What Christian Sach told them to do before the final? "Just no pressure!" And indeed, they were a little nervous going into the day. "It was too tense at the beginning," said Johann, their lead levelled by the Swedes, the third sibling crew Jens-Christof and Jens-Philip Dehn-Toftehøj from Denmark (third) breathing down their necks. A day's win and rank three were a confident response.

Back on shore, there were pats on the back from many sides and proud supporters, above all Schleswig-Holstein's state coach Thomas Rein, who had contributed a lot to the success. On the harbour apron, all Sachs enjoyed the Kieler Woche close to normality. "The atmosphere on the mile ashore and the organisation all around were just as unique for us," Johann Sach said enthusiastically. When they pulled off the sensational victory, mother Kirsa sat with younger daughter Frieda between the gastro stalls in Schilksee in front of the Kieler Woche TV monitor and could not hide a few tears of joy. "But I didn't do anything," she fended off congratulations - yet without her, the best 29er youngsters of Kieler Woche 2021 would not have existed.

No one got past Ole Schweckendiek

Kiel's Ole Schweckendieck demonstrated an unusually clear superiority right from the start in the international men's ILCA 6 class. He led the field from the first to the eleventh race and did not let anything slip at any time. "On Sunday it worked out well again despite not so constant wind. All in all, it was not easy because there were also many other good sailors, but compared to a world championship, again not so difficult. In any case, I am very happy to have won the Kieler Woche again," said Schweckendiek.

As the other J/70 positions were still being fought out on the course, the Hamburg winner Claas Lehmann was already "marching into the shower". Lukas Feuerherdt from Team Hamburg West could no longer catch up with him. And Carsten Kemmling (also Hamburg) suffered from fluctuating performances. Two, 17, two was only enough for "bronze" after the bullets at the beginning due to further slips. "Satisfaction already, after we had failed so narrowly," Lehmann remembers the missed victory in the previous year.

Special prizes for inclusive teams

In the class, there was an inclusive classification with special prizes. The first prize went to Klaus Rocholl from the Möhnesee Yacht Club and his crew, which included two athletes with physical disabilities. Second place went to the Bat Sailing Team with two visually impaired people from the sailing department of FC St. Pauli. The Deaf Team with Markus Halle at the helm, in which deaf and hearing-impaired people competed, was pleased with bronze.

The pilot project "Living inclusion on the regatta course", by the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein had initiated this. For all three teams, one thing is certain: "We will continue to train and come to Kiel again. And maybe we will be more inclusive teams then."

The cards were reshuffled in the J/24 class with three races to finish, but the prizes were distributed according to Saturday's standings. Fabian Damm and his team remained in the lead ahead of Stefan Karsunke and Manfred König, all from Hamburg.

Lead foot on the "Rarotonga"

They reached the finish line after 18 hours, 24 minutes and eight seconds, two hours and 20 minutes after the fastest yacht for the Silver Ribbon over 136 nautical miles calculated on ORC I and II. But Christoph Mählmann at the helm of Werner Lemmel's Swan 46 "Rarotonga" (Elbfreibeuter Club) won it.

"It was clear to us that we had to start well to prevail. That worked: one second after the starting gun we were on the line. The conditions and the interaction of the crew were super. And after 25 years on the 'Rarotonga', we know exactly where the throttle is," commented the helmsman.

The "Moana" from the host Kieler Yacht-Club as First Ship Home under skipper and owner Hanno Ziehm came seventh. Rasmus Töpsch from Strande near Kiel was also superior with his JPK 10.10 "Sharifa" as winner of the ORC III/IV group. With 30 starters, the Silver Ribbon was a strong finish to the offshore event, which will again play a significant role at the 128th Kiel Week in its 140th year from 18 to 26 June 2022.

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