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Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - YY LEADERBOARD

Fast, competitive racing after light winds at Kiel Week

by Andreas Kling 23 Jun 2023 20:26 BST 17-25 June 2023
Brilliant racing in the 29er Euro cup on Friday at Kiel Week © Kiel Week / ChristianBeeck.de

Competitors at Kiel Week 2023 had no reason to complain on Friday (23 June) after light, faltering winds in the morning on Kiel's outer fjord gave way to sparkling late afternoon gradient breezes which produced fast, competitive racing for the eight International classes competing.

The day proved to be split nicely for 168 29er Eurocup racers who had a couple of exacting races in a shifty 6kts breeze which died away midmorning. Racing on the media showcourse live streamed on KielerWoche.TV - the afternoon races in 14-16kts saw the young crews at full stretch, a chance for the more powerful pairings to shine.

Ireland's Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge of Dun Laoghaire's National YC extended their overall lead in the 29er fleet to three points after winning two of their three races today. The sister-brother pairing who were runners up in the overall Eurocup last year now have four wins from six starts in their seven race Qualifying Series. But the level of competition now ramps up into the weekend as the huge fleet splits to gold, silver bronze and emerald divisions.

The Irish duo are looking to a top result in Kiel not least because they have had to reduce their racing programme this season due to educational commitments and so will forego a full Eurocup tour in favour of focusing on Kiel, the Worlds and Europeans.

"The winds really started to die and there was a leftover chop and that made it really hard to keep the boat moving fast, at times the wind was coming from all sides." Said Clementine, who explained what she feels their strengths are as sister and brother team, "I think we have a good feeling for the boat and we know each other's movements we know how the other reacts."

"There are a few arguments but that is a normal teen brother sister thing, but we are always over it quickly, we get passed them very quickly." Smiles brother Nathan. "But on the water we have good communication all the time."

Polish pairing August Sobczak and Krzysztof Krolik and Brits Charlie Gram and Sam Webb are second and third eleven and twelve points back.

Ukraine's Dimak Karabadzhak sits proudly under the best of the ILCA 6 open fleet counting a perfect three wins tally in the 146 strong fleet. Karabadzhak is back on waters where he recently tasted success. Three weeks ago, he won the YES regatta here in ILCA 6.

"After the YES regatta, we were in Italy, had a good training and took part in the Italian championship," reports the 16-year-old, who says he has not been back to his home in Ukraine near Odessa for seven months. Together with his coach Denis Khashina and his ILCA compatriots he has been organising training and races in Europe out of Italy. The Ukraine sailors have travelled to Kiel been organising training and races in Europe out of Italy. The Ukraine sailors have travelled to Kiel Week without their coach. "He is in Spain for the Optis World Championship," Karabadzhak explained.

While the Ukrainian sailors try to stay focused on their sport, they do also try to maintain regular contact with friends and families back home. "This is not always easy because there are always bomb scares and warning there."

In July, the Ukrainian sailors are planning a rapid return home to finally reunite with their families. After taking part in the World and European Championships in Poland, they want to travel across the border to their homeland to see their families and give them a long overdue hug. They want to stay there for a month and then return to Italy. "Our friends and families are fighting for freedom at home and here we are promoting peace," remarks Karabadzhak.

Germany's 2019 world champion Max Billerbeck is now ten points clear in a Contender class which is replete with world and European champions. Australia's current world title holder Mark Bulka, a four times winner, is looking for more breeze but he remains stoic and objective "I'm one of the bigger guys, it was light just four or five knots at times and so it is good practice just trying to keep up." Commented Bulka who has just raced at the Dutch Nationals and will race the Danish nationals before seeking to defend his Worlds title in Denmark in early July.

Germany's 470 Olympic squad sailors continue to dominate the J/70 Internationale German National Championships. Malte Winkel and Theres Dahnke who are usually rivals from opposing duos are sailing together on the leading boat which has now won four from six races and is 16pts clear of Switzerland's Stefan Seger in second and Sweden's Eric Linden, third.

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