The first offshore sailing week organized by Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) from Hamburg takes place under the name of Rolex Baltic Week from 7 to 15 August in Neustadt near Lubeck on the Baltic coast.
The most prestigious brand of Swiss watches is a well-renowned sponsor and partner of offshore sailing events. This year, the international regatta series comprises the Rolex Commodores' Cup in Cowes, England, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Italy, as well as the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in Australia.
"We are proud to have won Rolex Germany as title sponsor of the Baltic Week",
said NRV President Gunter PERSIEHL at the official announcement on Saturday, 17 January, in Duesseldorf. The Rolex Baltic Week consists of four different regattas. The sportive highlight will be the International German Offshore Sailing Championships during the first half of the week. More than 50 German yachts are expected to compete in four classes. There are also first enquiries from Scandinavia and other countries.
The championships will be held according to the International Measurement System (IMS). They will start at the first weekend with a long-distance race of 80 to 120 nautical miles."This race will be rated with a factor of 1.5 and may not be discarded"
, explains race director Holger BENOX. On both Monday and Tuesday, up to four inshore races on the Bay of Neustadt will be held. Defending the title will be Detlef AMLONG (SVFr) with Froschkoenig in the IMS 3/4 class, Torsten BASTIANSEN from Flensburg with Sailtron X Press (IMS 2) and Thomas BRUEGGE, Neumuenster, with Extasy in the IMS class 1.
Depending on the weather, the prize-giving will take place either inside or in front of the Neustadt town hall on Tuesday afternoon. Neustadt's city marketing plans to hold an international event during the Rolex Baltic Week, using the picturesque marketplace of the small East Holstein town to host a colourful programme with something for everyone. The central meeting point for après-sail fun will be a marquee in the ancora marina, where the regatta participants will be berthed throughout the week.
Fun and fair sport will be key at the NRV Ostsee Cup 2004 on Wednesday (11 August). At short notice, each entry will be assigned an individual starting time according to the Le Mans motor car race in the marquee. Based on their yardstick handicaps, the competitors will embark in kangaroo fashion onto the 100 to 200 nautical long course, length depending on the weather. The finish line will only be determined at six p.m. on Friday (13 August). A check-point on the course will provide the necessary stamp. Apart from the IDM competitors, the race is meant to also attract charter crews and hobby skippers who do not usually race.
During the Ostsee Cup, the Bavaria yachts will perform their first two inshore races of the International Bavaria Cup on Thursday (12 August). Roland Herrmann, sales and marketing manager of "Bavaria Yachts" from Giebelstadt, Germany, the biggest European shipyard for sport boats, is expecting between 80 and 100 yachts from Germany and abroad. In any case, the Bavarias should be the biggest fleet at the Rolex Baltic Week.
The owners and crews of these yachts usually stay on board overnight. On the second day, they will sail a short offshore race of 40 to 60 miles to Hohenwieschendorf in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein currently sets up an affiliate base. Following a barbecue on the dock, they will all return to Neustadt on Saturday. The widely popular J24 class will start their German Open on Friday. The Bavaria and J24 finals will be inshore races on Sunday, 15 August, to be followed by another public prize-giving on the market-place of Neustadt.
"We want everyone to have exciting and fair races on the water and just as much fun on shore"
, NRV President Gunter PERSIEHL explains the concept of the first Rolex Baltic Week. He believes that it is no longer enough to lay out a race course for the day and leave the crews and their families and friends to themselves. Sailing events should be spiced with an attractive side programme and social events. Persiehl: "We want to make the most of the power and creativity our partners bring to the event, so that at the end, all teams will say 'It was great, we will definitely come back next year"