by Hermann Hell
Kieler Woche races get underway from 22nd to 30th June 2013. The kick-off, even for a sailor like Jochen Schuemann, will be a very special challenge. When the three-time Olympic champion and two-time America’s Cup winner skippers Esimit Europa 2, the biggest yacht ever to take part in Kieler Woche, he will have to steer her clear of the more than 100 yachts that will crowd at the starting line of the Welcome Race.
Esimit Europa 2 - Kieler Woche 2013
The starting gun will be fired on Saturday, 22 June at 9.30 a.m. off the Hindenburgufer shoreline. It will be the Baltic debut of the 100-foot yacht, and Esimit will literally tower above the rest of the fleet. With a mast height of 44 metres, she is only a metre shorter than the German naval training vessel Gorch Fock. When the 30.5 long yacht will unfold her full sail area of 820 square metres, enough to cover two basketball courts, she should have difficulties in keeping to the speed restrictions of Kiel Fjord: This Maxi is one of the fastest boats of the world.
'It’s by far the biggest yacht ever to race at Kieler Woche. Jochen will have to act with utmost care,' says offshore director Eckhard von der Mosel. Esimit Europa 2 should have almost reached Eckernfoerde when the Olympic classes take up racing at 12 noon off Schilksee. From 22 to 30 June, about 4,500 sailors from 50 nations will dot the waters of Kiel Fjord.
Athletes will fight for Kieler Woche medals in eight Olympic sailing disciplines, among these the two new Olympic classes 49erFX for women and Nacra 17 for mixed crews, in the paralympic 2.4Metre, in 17 international classes such as the /one one-design class of Germany’s biggest boatyard Bavaria, as well as in 18 offshore classes (ORC/ORC-Club, one-design and multihulls). The world’s biggest sailing event will receive more public attention than ever before because of the comprehensive and innovative use of media.
The upcoming fight in the Laser Standard between Germany’s 'Sailor of the Year' and 2012 Kieler Woche winner, Philipp Buhl, and five-time Olympic medal winner Robert Scheidt from Brazil will be one of the Kieler Woche highlights – but there will be many more.
The women’s 49erFX class will be studded with strong Australian and German top sailors. As many as four German crews will be fighting for national supremacy in the women’s skiff - and all of them will race in Kiel, among them the fresh winners of the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cups off Medemblik, the Netherlands, Tina Lutz/Susann Beucke (Bergen/Strande). Last year, the former Opti world champion Lutz from Bavaria and her crew Beucke (with 29er experience) from Strande had narrowly lost the Olympic trials in the 470 to Kadelbach/Belcher. After the two had switched to the Olympic skiff, they immediately landed a big success.
'We had two races in difficult conditions. It’s been our first 49er win,' says a beaming Tina Lutz. 'Our big goal is the European Championship in Denmark,' adds Susann Beucke with a view to the Europeans which will take place right after Kieler Woche. From 27 June until 7 July, the best FX skiff sailors and their male counterparts in the 49er will race for the European titles in Aarhus, Denmark.
So more likely than not, Kiel will serve more for training than for winning his year – despite the fact that Kieler Woche victories are appreciated anytime...
Victoria Jurczok/Anika Lorenz (both from Kiel/placed second in Medemblik), Kiel’s 20-year old twins Jule and Lotta Görge as well as Leonie Meyer/Elena Stoffers (Hamburg) are also part of the German fleet. However, 19-year old Ann Kristin Wedemeyer might be a threat to them all. The girl from Muelheim raced for Germany at the 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds in Croatia (rank 10). She will be sailing with her sister Pia (17) in Kiel, and who knows? The two youngsters from Duisburger Yacht-Club may have a say in the outcome of the contest.
Then there will be high-class competition from down-under. Four crews from Australia will race in Kiel, among them London’s Olympic silver medallists Olivia Price (21) and Nina Curtis (25). In the match-race discipline, the two Australians contributed one of their country’s four medals in the 2012 Games. They switched to the skiff when match-racing lost its Olympic status. At Kieler Woche, Olivia Price will race with crew Caitlin Elks, whereas Nina Curtis teams up with helmswoman Haylee Outteridge, the sister of 49er Olympic champion Nathan Outterigde (2012 with Iain Jensen). The Outteridge siblings are toying with the idea of joining up for an Olympic Nacra 17 campaign.
The third Australian medal winner in this new class is Tessa Parkinson (26), Gold medallist in 2008 with helmswoman Elise Rechichi in the 470. She will team up with Chelsea Hall (23), the 2006 ISAF youth world champion.
And on top of all that, the teams from Sweden, Singapore, Spain and the USA will do their best in this Australian-German whirlwind.
Star Sailors to Fight in the Finn - While much of the sailing world will focus on the Laser fight between Philipp Buhl and Robert Scheidt, another real sailing ace will be racing in the Finn: Bruno Prada. Prada was crew to Scheidt when they became Olympic champions in 2004 off Athens, Greece, won silver in 2008 off Qingdao, China, and then the bronze medal in 2012 off Weymouth, U.K., in the Star. The successful Brazilian team has meanwhile split up to carry on separately in different classes, but both of them will race in Kiel. Max Salminen (Sweden) has also switched from Star to Finn, and he, too, is an Olympic champion in the Star (crew to Frederik Loof in last year’s London Games).
Kröger to Go for Gold Again - By including the paralympic discipline 2.4Metre in the sailing programme of the Olympic part of the event as early as in 2002, Kiel led the way. Among this year’s favourites is Heiko Kroeger from Kiel, Paralympic champion 2000 and silver medallist in 2012. In 2011 and 2012, the five-time Kieler Woche winner had to contend himself with ranks below the international competition. Now the 47-year old wants to go for gold again and win his sixth Kieler title in the 2.4Metre.
Race schedule of 2013 Kieler Woche (22 to 30 June)
Olympic classes, EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup: 22 to - 26 June:
Delta: Laser Standard - M
Echo: Laser Radial - W, Finn
India: 49er - M, 49er FX - W
Juliett: Nacra 17 - Mix
Kilo: 470er - M + W
TV course: various classes
International classes, 27 – 30 June:
Charly: Formula 18, Hobie 16
Delta: 505er, FD
Echo: Contender, OK, Musto Performance Skiff
Foxtrott: J 24, Folkeboot
Golf: Europe, Laser Radial open, Laser 4.7
Kilo: H-Boat, Star, B/one
TV course: various classes
Offshore courses, 22 – 29 June:
22 – 23 June: Welcome Race (ORC-Club I -IV, Albin Ballad, Multihull)
22 – 26 June: Kiel Cup Foxtrott
Charlie: Melges 24, Platu 25.
Foxtrott: J80, SB20 Albin Expreß.
24 – 26 June: Kiel Cup Alpha (ORC-Int. I-IV)
27 – 28 June: Silver Ribbon (ORC-Club I-IV)
29 June: Senate Prize (ORC-Club I-IV)
Live Streaming Video: