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The “big picture” of the weather forecast by the Kiel weather experts from Wetterwelt made for worried faces at the morning meeting of the race committee for the revival of the 1972 Olympic sailing regattas. But the direct view through the drizzle over the Kiel outer fjord then revealed the chance to sail. And after fast action with little wind came the liberating news from Bahn Juliett by race officer Fabian Bach: “Second day’s race at the finish, championship secured.” What was meant was the World Championship of the Tempest, who even managed one more race and thus have five races in the list after three days. The Olympic revival has thus hesitantly picked up speed, but the engine is running. For the Dragons (three races), Flying Dutchman (three races) and Stare (two races) also posted their first results for the results list. At the official opening of the event in the evening at the Olympic Center Markus Wieser/Thomas Auracher (Tempest World Championship), Kay-Uwe Lüdtke/Kai Schäfers (Flying Dutchman IDM), Ingo Ehrlicher/Michael Lipp/Anton Ehrlicher (Dragons) and Reinhard Schmidt/Niels Hentschel (Starboats) were allowed to leave as current leaders.
Tempest World Championship
Twice in a row (2019 and 2021), Bavarian professional sailors Markus Wieser/Thomas Auracher have become world champions after entering the Tempest class. Now the defending champions are aiming for the victory hattrick. But it won’t be easy for them on the Olympic waters of 1972. Lars and Leif Bähr (Berlin) are only making their World Championship debut, but as two-time winners of the German Open (2019 and 2021) they have already proven that they are contenders for victory. Thus, the two crews deliver close duels. They took it to the extreme in the third race of the day. After they had each taken a first and a third place, the final race of the day came down to an almost dead heat. The reaction of both helmsmen was finally identical: centimeter decision! Here’s how they indicated it with index finger and thumb. “No idea who won,” said Markus Wieser and Lars Bähr word for word. The finish line judges saw Wieser/Auracher in front, giving them a slim World Championship lead. “They are good, those guys. They’re tough fights, but it’s all friendly. That’s how fun it is,” said Wieser.
“It was a successful day in itself, but not for the nerves,” the Bähr brothers reported. “Especially the last race. We were ahead on the downwinder when Markus and Thomas came in with fresh wind. We forced them into a windward battle so they wouldn’t pass us.” They were able to prevent the overtaking maneuver, but Wieser/Auracher were in position at the course mark to jibe earlier and take the course towards the finish. Close to the line it went and a tiny bit decided the victory.
Behind the top two teams, 2018 World Champions Christian Spranger/Christoph Kopp (Seebrucker RV) take bronze after five races.
IDM of the Flying Dutchman
At Kiel Week, Kay-Uwe Lüdtke/Kai Schäfers (Berlin/Arnsberg) still had to admit defeat to the record world champions in the Flying Dutchman, Szabolcs Majthényi/András Domokos. But already two months ago they realized that the Hungarians are not unbeatable. Off Kiel, they took a big step in the first races to dethrone the perennial winners. In the 51-boat fleet, Lüdtke/Schäfers dominated the first day, finishing first, first and third, five points ahead of Hungary’s Majthényi/Domokos. Following behind are Kilian König/Johannes Brack (Hamburger Segel-Club) and Denmark’s 1988 Olympic champion Jörgen Bojsen-Möller with his brother Jacob at the foresheet.
“Today it went really smoothly. Always the right side and good starts,” Kai Schäfers was very pleased with the day. “Twice a start-finish victory and then always enough speed to extend the lead were good conditions for the victories. We could always determine when to tack,” said helmsman Kay-Uwe Lüdtke. Even though the third race was closer, the two-time Kiel Week winners and four-time German champions have their sights set on a podium finish.
But even more important than the IDM at Kiel is the World Championship in three weeks on Lake Garda (Italy). “In terms of competition, this is almost a pre-Worlds. There are only one or two crews missing who are among the top,” says Schäfers. And looking to Italy, Lüdtke is confident. “We’ve already been runners-up three times, and we’ve already taken bronze, so there’s only one medal missing to round it off,” says Lüdtke, who is ultimately aiming for a place on the podium, but has his sights set on gold. The Bojsen-Möller brothers feel the same way: “We are using the Revival as a preparation for the World Championships. However, we had hoped for more wind,” says helmsman Jörgen. He was only partially satisfied with the day’s performance: “In the first two races we started too cautiously. In the third, the start was good, and then it was a perfect race.” His brother Jacob added, “At the end of the day the feeling is okay, but at first it was terrible. Kudos go to the race committee. She got the races through quickly, and the start lines were perfect.”
That’s how you shoulder the favorites’ burden! Ingo Ehrlicher (Bavarian YC) and his crew just finished fourth at the World Dragon Championships, best in Germany, and now he and son Anton and tactician Michael Lipp form the team to chase in the field of 35 keelboats. And Ehrlicher lets himself be hunted. In other words, he is leaving the field behind him. Three races, three victories is the balance of the “Dottore Amore”. “In the first two races there was also a bit of luck involved, but we won the third clearly with a lead of 200 meters,” the helmsman summed up the perfect day and praised his two crew members in front. “Super tactics and super work in the forecastle. That makes it easy for the helmsman.” Tactician Michael Lipp reached deep into his bag of tricks in the first two races to lead his team to victory. In the first race, the favorites threatened to bog down after the start, tacked away and pulled away with speed and height in a free wind. In the second race, the decision to go right led them to the front on the second upwind and eventually an early gybe took them all the way to the top. Happy all around with the results is 18-year-old Anton Ehrlicher, for whom it is the first major Dragon regatta.
“The competition is quite good, there are ten very good teams. But we would have wished for a little more response, we have advertised properly in southern Germany. We like to come here,” said Ingo Ehrlicher. Tactician Lipp has been coming to Kiel Week for 23 years and notes, “It’s nice to have the Dragons here again.”
The German Star class is turning its focus to fresh talent and is now reaping the rewards. Thanks to the great junior initiative of Arnd Glunde (Flensburg) and Helge Spehr (Kiel), young switchers from other disciplines have moved into the former Olympic class and are now helping to shape the action. Jan Borbet/Helge Spehr (Munich/Malente) placed twelfth as the best juniors at last year’s world championships on the Kiel water. Now they are following up on this strong performance, winning the first race but then having to cope with a 17th place. So for the time being, other young star-sailors are drawing attention: Max Kohlhoff/Ole Burzinski (Kiel/Flensburg) are fourth. “Better than expected,” said Kohlhoff. “The conditions were difficult. The wind was sometimes on, sometimes off. Sometimes it went hard over left, then hard right. In the first race it was a strong catch-up from us, in the second almost everyone was at the first buoy at the same time and it came down to downwind speed.”
The top three places are a mixed bag internationally. Reinhard Schmidt/Niels Hentschel (Munich/Schaumburg-Lippe) lead ahead of Jörgen Schönherr/Markus Koy (Denmark/Hamburg) and Dutchmen Roel and Tjacko van Olst. “It’s nice to honor the past with the 1972 Olympics. For me it was a big push back then to start racing. My big hero was of course Paul Elvström,” reported Schönherr, who lost first place in the first race due to a defective kicker, thereby also giving up the overall lead after the first day. “But we were able to fix everything on the water,” said forecaster Markus Koy.
Text: Hermann Hell / Ralf Abratis
50 years of Olympic Sailing Regatta in Kiel-Schilksee:
Classes : Dragon (Ranking-Regatta/ 8 Races), Flying Dutchman (IDM/ 7 Races), Star (North European Championship/ 6 Races), Tempest (Worlds/ 9 Races).
- Wednesday, 17 August: Measurment: Star; Races: Tempest – 1100 hrs. First Start
- Thursday, 18 August: Races: Tempest, Dragon
- Friday, 19 August: Races: Tempest, Star, Dragon, Flying Dutchman; 1800 hrs.: Opening Ceremony
- Saturday, 20 August: Races: Tempest, Star, Dragon, Flying Dutchman
- Sunday, 21 August: Races: Tempest, Star, Dragon, Flying Dutchman – after: Prize Giving Ceremony