The final of the AUDI Spring Battle on an overcast day with westerly winds around 8-15 knots could not have been any more exciting for the fans and friends on the spectator vessel.
German Stefan MEISTER, Philipp SEMMER and Frank THIEME fought his way well to the final to face head to head America´s Cup winner Jochen SCHUEMANN and his Swiss Alinghi team mates Nils FREI and Yves DETREY.
The day started with the re-match from the day before in which Andreas LABEK defeated Jan-Eike ANDRESEN who therefore not only lost the group lead but also the semi-final participation. Instead the Austrian Team Florian KRUSE, Pascal WEISANG and Clemens KRUSE were delighted to challenge Team MEISTER in the semi-final (best out of three) but were eventually blown away by the Germans who led both races start to finish.
Meanwhile the young British sailors Paul CAMPBELL-JAMES, Nick HUTTON and Australian Ben MORRISON-JACK faced Team Alinghi. After loosing the first race to team SCHÜMANN Paul proved strong nerves and smart sailing as he entered the second race with an open penalty. With a brilliant and breath-taking match race manoeuver he luffed SCHÜMANN at the top mark so far that Jochen eventually had to tack in order to keep clear. At this moment both teams, according to the match racing definition, were already on the downwind leg and Paul only had to tack in order to clear his penalty. So he did and after another fast re-tack off he went with a gust and a superb spinnaker set, leaving Team Alinghi well behind until the finish. For this manoeuver he was honored with the trophy for the "Most Spectacular Move" at the price giving. Eventually SCHÜMANN won the last race in the best out of three and moved on to the final.
The sail off for third and fourth overall (best out of three) was quickly over as British CAMPBELL-JAMES sailed both races well ahead from start to finish with an outstanding performance and gave the Austrian Challenger Team KRUSE no chance to overtake. Therefore the Brits took third place and the Austrians fourth.
Meanwhile the final between MEISTER and SCHÜMANN was packed with breath-taking match race action which was broadcast to more than 250 spectators by commentator Rolf SCHMIDT and the live on-board wireless head-set technology.
The crowd not only witnessed thrilling match race scenes in the pre-start phase but also one move by team MEISTER in the first race with which he tried to get rid of SCHÜMANN by rounding the spectator vessel so close that by mistake couldn´t avoid a collision. Still the plan worked out and MEISTER not only won the start but also the race.
After four races both Teams were tied before entering the last and final battle of the final. The America´s Cupper won the start and blessed with a lift and a "private gust" he smoked upwind with his crew in the trapeze leaving Team MEISTER far behind.
Winning skipper Jochen SCHUMANN (GER)
© Aline Siepmann
Altough MEISTER was slightly disappointed coming in second place, he felt honored to sail against his idol in the AUDI Spring Battle 04 Final. He commented that Jochen just had a few more years of sailing experience so he could easily handle to lose against such a sailing great. Therefore he is looking forward to re-match next year.
For this year the experience "old fox" SCHÜMANN with his Alinghi Team defeated the match race rookies in the battle of generations. But plans are made for a local match race camp with streamlines on Lake Wannsee for later this season because the youngsters are keen to challenge the America´s Cup Winner in the years to come.
To view all the results, more photographs and team biographies go to the event website below.