Offshore racing at Kieler Woche has begun, with the Olympic Classes starting on 20 June.
With the start of the Eel Regatta from Kiel to Eckernförde -where each crew was given an eel - around 200 high-sea yachts opened the international sailing events of 119th Kieler Woche on Saturday morning. This was followed at midday by the start of the competitions with over 760 dinghies and keelboats taking part off the Schilksee Olympic Sailing Centre in the Firth of Kiel. The finals are scheduled for Tuesday. From Wednesday 20 June onwards, the focus will be on the eleven Olympic disciplines. The participants include 13 medal winners from the Sydney Olympic Games, as well as numerous world and European champions. In other words, the best sailors are here in Kiel. A total of 5,000 sailors with over 1,700 boats make Kieler Woche the world's biggest sailing event. "The large number of regattas alone mean that Kieler Woche is unique. We are the world's leading event", says Lord Mayor Norbert Gansel.
But that's not all. Kieler Woche is also the biggest summer festival in North Europe with guests from 76 nations. It is distinguished by political discussions, cultural highlights and colourful parties.
Twelve delegations from cities in eleven nations discussed the subject of 'Using foundations to encourage local participation' at the International City Forum whereby particular emphasis was given to the ways and means for local authorities to promote foundations, especially civic foundations. Furthermore, the City of Kiel presented its new civic foundation for the first time.
After Amelie Lux, silver medallist in surfing at the Sydney Olympics had rung in the ceremony in the evening, Kieler Woche 2001 was officially opened by Heide Simonis, the Minister President of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, in the presence of thousands of spectators. Subsequently, well over one hundred thousand people celebrated the opening in a giant party throughout the city centre of Kiel.
The Offshore racing classes have been underway since 17 June, and the Olympic classes will begin on the 20 June, through to the 24 June.