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GJW Direct 2020

Exciting Medal Races in prospect at Kiel Week

by Andreas Kling 20 Jun 2023 21:47 BST 17-25 June 2023
Enjoying Kiel Week by winning his first attempt ever: Michal Strumnik (Poland) in the OK Dinghy © Kiel Week / ChristianBeeck.de

As Kiel Week moved through the final phase on Tuesday (20 June) and another day of light to moderate, shifty challenging breezes, it was even more difficult to stay consistent over a long day of intense competition as the race management teams sought to deliver a full programme of races. While in the Nacra 17 class Italy's Margharita Porri and Stefano Dezulian are more or less assured of the Kiel gold medal key, tightly fought classes like the 470, 49er and the ILCA 7 which have a high calibre entry promise exciting medal races on Wednesday (21 June).

Among the first of the winners to be crowned at Kiel Week 2023 was International OK class debutant Michal Strumnik from Poland who at 40 years old is one of the 'youngsters' in the 35 strong class. "I have always wanted to come here, it's great that it's worked out so well" said Strumnik, who has chosen Kiel Week ahead of the World Championships which start shortly in England. "Unfortunately, I don't have enough time for the worlds. I'm planning to go to the European Championship in autumn on Lake Garda." In second Denmark's Thomas Gabs was at only his second Kiel Week. In 2021 he finished 21st, now he made a big leap. "I am very happy. There were not easy conditions with shifting winds and choppy waves. And the Polish guy was just too fast."

In the Nacra 17 class Italy's Margharita Porri and Stefano Dezulian already have the Kiel Week title well within their grasp after winning all four races today to earn a 17 points lead going into the Medal Race but the young duo want to finish with a flourish, looking for a big victory in the double points finale in which they expect to see more wind than has been seen all week so far.

"We are so happy. The goal here was to do well but we did not ever expect to get all firsts today for example as the conditions were so tricky." Smiled Porri who grew up racing on small lake outside of Milan. "Tomorrow my dream was actually to do more races as there should be more wind than we have had so far to understand better our speed as we have only had light winds. But the goal now is just to get another first in the medal race."

Porri has sailed many classes including the Open BIC, the RS Feva and the 29er in which she won the class here before, then Waszp, 49erFX and now the Nacra 17.

In the 49er class the Polish leaders Lukasz Pryzbtek and Jacek Piasecki are guaranteed a medal after counting a consistent 3,5,4 from Tuesday's four gold fleet races. They can only be denied gold by their second placed compatriots Dominik Buksak and Szymon Wierzbicki who are nine points behind. Canadians Arie Moffat and Ryan Wood moved up to third whilst the USA's Andrew Mollerus and Ian Macdiarmid, overnight leaders, dropped to 10th after they compounded a 26th with a BFD disqualification in the last race of the day.

"The conditions were very tricky today, sometimes the right was good, sometimes the left, so it was all about getting good starts and reading the wind well. We made good starts. This has been a tough regatta as it has been all light winds, usually we have strong westerly winds but, hey, it has been the same for everyone." Said helm Pryzbtek who has done more than ten Kiel Weeks and finished runner up here a couple of years ago.

The 470 Medal race will feature seven German crews battling for ultimate bragging rights on the Kiel fjord. The young outsiders Theres Dahnke and Matti Cipra hold a two points lead going into the medal showdown even if Malte and Anastaysia Winkel finished strongest with two wins on Tuesday.

The ILCA 7 class were racing into the evening to catch up on lost races.

The Medal races are all shown live during Wednesday on kieler-woche.de.

Other classes which finished on Tuesday were the 420s which saw Germans Lysander Winter and Constantin Bötsch win by five points. In the 2.4-metre Italy's Antonio Squizzato held off the challenge from second placed Ben van Cauwenbergh of Belgium with Germany's indomitable Heiko Kroeger in third.

Full results available here.

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