Golden end of Kiel Week regatta
The final day of Kiel Week once again reflected the past nine days of racing. The conditions varied from calm in the morning – with a corresponding delay in the start – to dream conditions in the last possible Medal Races of the Olympic classes. A total of 326 races in 22 boat classes and disciplines plus the offshore yachts were brought to the finish on nine race courses. “It was demanding, but always fair and a wide range of events for the international sailing elite,” summarised head of organisation Dirk Ramhorst with satisfaction. The next, then 129th Kiel Week will take place from 17 to 25 June 2023 in its 141st year.
The German hosts celebrated three gold medals with Lena Erdil (Kiel) in surfing as well as Sophie Steinlein/Thomas Plößel (Hamburg) in the 49er FX and the Kiel couple Malte and Anastasiya Winkel (470). International Kiel Week triumphs on the ninth day of competition were provided by the Italian Olympic champions Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti (Nacra 17), the British 49er duo James Peters/Fynn Sterritt, the Finn Kaarle Tapper with a convincing final spurt in the Ilca 7, the superior Australian Mara Stransky (Ilca 6) and Ethan Westera (Aruba) in iQ-Foil surfing. The 11th ACO Musto Skiff World Championship was won by Rick Peacock from Great Britain, and there were two German and one Irish victories in the three other international classes.
There was a small present at sea for birthday boy Paul Kohlhoff. On his 27th birthday, the Kiel sports soldier got another chance to improve his tenth overall rank with his crew Alica Stuhlemmer. The Medal Race was started exactly on the minute with the last starting possibility, and Olympic bronze medallists Kohlhoff/Stuhlemmer came out well after a restrained start, led the field in the meantime and finally finished third. This meant that they climbed to eighth place in the overall standings. There was no doubt about the superior overall victory of the Olympic Champions Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti (Italy) ahead of the double World Champions John Gimson/Anna Burnet (Great Britain) and the second Italian team Vittorio Bissaro/Maelle Frascari.
The ten duos in the Olympic men’s skiff shivered in the light wind over a course that was difficult to read because of wind shifts and clouds in the sky. The Danes Frederik Rask/Jakob Precht Jensen experienced this painfully. They started into the Medal Race in second place, were top after the first upwind, but then made one wrong decision after another and were pushed through to tenth place in this race and seventh overall. The British team James Peters/Fynn Sterritt defended their overall lead. They won the final race and were happy about a perfect week: “We went out today to win. We wanted to sail our race and didn’t look at the others. That paid off,” said helmsman Peters. Spain’s Diego Botin/Florian Trittel managed to jump into second place ahead of New Zealand’s Isaac McHardie/William McKenzie.
With a second place in the Medal Race, the German mixed crew Sophie Steinlein/Thomas Plößel put the gold-bringing finishing touch to an extraordinary Kiel Week. Sophie Steinlein’s regular crew fell ill, so she asked the Olympic bronze medallist if he could step in. Plößel came on board with a lot of fun and even more tips: “I came to Kiel Week to give a good coaching. I had the hope that we might make it to the Medal Race. The victory exceeded all expectations.” Helmswoman Steinlein agreed, saying she had “learned an incredible amount”: “I am positively surprised. I thought with more wind we would have more chances. Now there wasn’t so much wind, and it still worked out well.” Behind the mixed duo, Olympic women’s crews Vilma Bobeck/Rebecca Netzler (Sweden) and Georgia and Antonia Lewin-Lafrance (Canada) finished on the other podiums.