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2023 Kiel Week, Day 3 - More challenging light winds in Kiel

by Andreas Kling 10 Jun 2023 20:49 BST 17-25 June 2023
Germany's 49erFX pair Scheel/Feilcke in action leading after two races - 2023 Kiel Week, day 3 © Kiel Week /

The third day of Kiel week saw good racing in the early morning and late afternoon on Monday (19 June) after some delay during the rest of the day as the seabreeze and the gradient fought each other.

In the 470 class there are three top German crews - World Champions Luise Wanser and Philipp Autenrieth, European Championship runners up Simon Diesch and Anna Markfort and Malte and Anastasiya Winkel who are selected for next month's Marseille Olympic Test regatta.

But the elite trio are so far being overshadowed by young Theres Dahnke and Matti Cipra who now lead the fleet after having sailed six of their eight races series. After Monday's two wins and a fourth - which is their discard to date - Dahnke and Cipra have two points in hand over Diesch and Markfort. To date the 470s have seen light winds only, not more than nine knots of pressure over any of their six races.

"Normally we don't like light winds, but here it fits for us. It is easier in the light to work your way out of difficult situations. And when we were in front, it was very relaxed sailing," said Theres Dahnke. The duo was unable to train for the first two and a half months of the year due to a shoulder injury to crew Cipra. Nonetheless they were already on an upwards trajectory at the European Championships but faltered when they blew a spinnaker. Their absolute target now is the World Championships in The Hague where they need to make their mark. It is all very well showing their potential at Kiel Week but it only at the worlds that they can be selected to the top German squad.

The 49erFX class were on the morning showcase arena where they contested two decent races - marginal twin wiring - before the gradient breeze was burned off by the rising mercury and competition ground to a halt, Race 3 abandoned and the fleet brought ashore. Top of the table after two races are Kiel's Maru Scheel and Freya Feilcke who won both their races.

"Finding free lanes not doing too many manoeuvres but using the shifts well those were the keys today," reported Freya Feilcke. "Our starts were not so good our speeds were good. But all we are focusing on now is making the medal race."

Many of the top level Nacra 17 duos are in Marseille this week at a training regatta but Italy's young Margharita Porro and Stefan Dezulian, runaway leaders, and Singapore's second placed Justin Liu and Denise Lim are quietly quite pleased to be still ahead of Germany's Olympic bronze medallists Paul Kohlhoff and Alicia Stuhlemmer who lie third after six races.

"The wind is not so easy but for us with a from the four races today is pretty perfect." Grinned Dezulian, crew on the leading boat, "We seem to have good speed, especially upwind. We are able to turn the first mark in a good position then it is about managing the fleet. It is going better than we expected. The most difficult thing is thinking about the bronze medallists behind us but for us we are just happy to have such a good day."

Last year Finland's Valtteri Uusitalo finished third here in the ILCA 7 class seven points behind his compatriot, winner Kaarle Tapper. This year he is determined to follow Tapper on to the top step of the podium. Already this season Uusitalo has finished second at the Allianz Regatta in Holland after leading early on. Today he scored a 1 and 6 to lead the massive, full to capacity ILCA fleet which only managed two races today and had a third abandoned.

"I enjoy the conditions here. Now it was pretty tricky with the wind, but I am here to train for the World Championships. I have a good rhythm now and we have got some good guys in our squad," said Uusitalo. Finland also have Nooa Laukaanen in third after just three races.

In the 49er Class the USA's Andrew Mollerus and Ian Macdiarmid hold top position after a 12, 5 today. Racing for Malta, German born Richard Schulteis and Brittany's Youenn Bertin just teamed up six days before this regatta but lie third so far, reeling off an impressive race win in 11 kts of breeze. Schulteis was previously a top 29er helm who has won that youth class here before. "We got the shifts right most of the day but won the race with a port start and tacked on the corner, gybe set and we were away. We got a discard in the first race but otherwise we have two fifths which is not bad considering we have only sailed six days together. We were rivals before and Richard lost his crew so we said, 'why not?'. We would like to get to the worlds and see how we go," said the French crew Bertin.

Kiel Week always draws a big, strong International OK dinghy fleet and several competitors here will go directly to the OK World Championships next week at Lyme Regis in England. Among the most devoted of Kiel Week OK racers is Thorsten Schmidt of Cologne, Germany who has been to 32 Kiel Weeks in the OK missing only one since 1990.

"I love to meet my friends here and race against them. The week has changed a bit since we used to race just one race a day. We never started before 1200 hrs and so we could manage to have a few beers each evening and still be good to race. It was much more relaxed but now we enjoy being in the Olympic part of the week, we have our fun." 'Chuckles' Schmidt who has twice finished 5th here.

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