Emphatic performances among both the 12-Metre and 8-Metre fleets determined the 2011 world champions on the final day of Rolex Baltic Week, which brought the culmination of a tough week of challenging breezes and close racing for the classic yachts on Flensburg Fjord in Northern Germany.
In the Robbe & Berking 12mR World Championships the Danish 1936-built Vanity V
, owned and helmed by Patrick Howaldt from Copenhagen, triumphed after scoring another second and first place on the last day of a remarkable regatta which saw them finish no worse than runner-up in any race. Two bullets on the final day also secured the victory of the Dutch-based modern Eight Hollandia
, owned by Ruud van Hilst and steered by Tim van Rootselaar, while Andreas Krause's Sleipnir II
from Kiel, Germany won the Robbe & Berking 6mR Sterling Cup. Each of the three winning owners was awarded a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer chronometer by Peter Streit, CEO of Rolex Germany.
Discarding a second place in the 12-Metre results, Patrick Howaldt and his team were clear winners on 10 points after winning four of the eight races - with loud celebrations on board Vanity V
as they crossed the final finish line. Vanity V's skipper was thrown into the Flensburg Fjord by his jubilant crew in celebration of a first ever world title win for both himself and the boat. A soaking Howaldt said afterwards: "We felt the high pressure on board before the final, but sailed very well again, nearly faultless like the entire regatta. The Rolex Baltic Week was highly competitive with extraordinary social events. We loved to be here
Their nearest rival, the German Trivia
, went into the final day in a strong second overall, but two fourths put paid to their chances, finishing six points adrift. Trivia's owner and helmsman Wilfried Beeck from Hamburg praised the winning team, commenting: "They deserved the win with an impressive performance. We need to be happy with the second and we are indeed because
Sphinx came really close at the end
, helmed by Guy Ribadeau, also scored their worst result of the event with a fifth but remained in third overall. By contrast the 1928 design Anitra
had their best day on the water, with a second and third place to leave them in fourth overall. In the Antique division the 1911 Erna Signe
of Einar Sissner (NOR) was the clear winner.
Also racing for their Robbe & Berking World Championships, the 8-Metres witnessed an equally superior performance by Hollandia
(NED) who, having been pushed hard by Lafayette
(GBR) and YQuem II
(SUI) all week, secured the title emphatically with two wins in the final day's two races. Able to discard a DSQ for an infringement earlier in the week, Ruud van Hilst and Jos Fruytier's 2005-built 8-Metre won five of the nine races to take first overall.
Ruud van Hilst, the co-owner, said: "To finish a world championship with two bullets is really fantastic. It was great racing on the Inner Fjord and the entire event was very well organized both on the water and on shore. The people are very friendly here, which we knew before
." For Hollandia, Flensburg was the scene of a previous triumph, when they won the 8-Metre European Championship in 2006, and this also signifies her second world title win, having claimed the number one spot in Canada in 2005. Murdoch McKillop's Lafayette scored a second and third to secure the runner-up position, while Jean Fabre's YQuem II pushed a little too hard in the final contest and scored an OCS which left them in third overall.
The Canadian 8-Metre Raven
, built in 1938, continued her consistent run of fourths, while there was a high point for HM King Harald V of Norway on Sira who took his first podium position with a third in the final race. These two yachts were also the leading competitors for the prestigious Sira Cup, with Richard Self and Mark Decelles' Raven
taking the title ahead of the eponymous royal competitor, from the Swiss Catina VI of Fred Meyer. Reinhard Brucker, the German bowman on board Raven, commented: "The boat was perfectly prepared and we trained for a week on Flensburg Fjord. We built the success on this and defended the Sira Cup we won last year in Toronto
HM King Harald V of Norway said: "It was a great regatta and we are happy with the outcome.
Raven was unbeatable this time, the boat was very fast and they sailed well. Maybe we should have trained here too for a week prior the regatta, we had only one day's preparation
Among the other 8-Metre divisions competing for their own prize, Hollandia
was also crowned first Modern boat, the 1912 Sposa
(Richard Gervé, Germany) won the First Rule fleet, and Catina VI
, belonging to Swiss Fred Meyer, president of the International Eight Metre Association IEMA, triumphed among the Neptune class.
Racing for the all German Robbe & Berking 6mR Sterling Cup concluded with Andreas Krause's Sleipnir II
taking a clear win, in fact the crew, skippered by Christoph Nielsen, won the event with a race to spare and were able to return to shore early having secured the trophy. The final race win and second overall went to Dr Thomas Kuhman's Mena
, with Aida
(Bjoern Storsberg) finishing third overall.