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17 May 2005, 04:07 pm
Perfect Conditions In Germany
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North Sea Week 2005
Helgoland, Germany

This year's North Sea Week, Germany's only offshore regatta off the island of Helgoland, attracted 140 competing yachts. Many others came to watch the traditional sailing event on Sunday. A fleet of 31 yachts also left for the long-distance race to Edinburgh, Scotland. The first participants are expected in on Thursday.
For three days, the red-rock-island of Helgoland was the centre of German offshore sailing. Organizers and sailors were very lucky with the weather conditions this year. Though the first race from Hamburg on early Friday morning had to be cancelled in lack of wind, the other races could be sailed in excellent conditions. The sailors felt almost a Caribbean touch, when on sunny Saturday, they were welcomed with a boat service offering Mount Gay Rum to the crews. Except Monday, the sun was shining, and the wind varied between three to five Beaufort.

'A great North Sea Week - we really enjoyed some nice offshore-fights. Sailing in tidal waters and higher seas is always more challenging and fun!' noted Albert SCHWEIZER, tactician of Hanseatic Lloyd. The yacht, European IMS 600 Champion of 2003, owned by Christian PLUMP (GER), won race five on Sunday as well as race six on Monday in the IMS class 1. Hanseatic Lloyd also won the Hans-Otto-Schümann prize for the best yacht.

The Elliot 45 Outsider, from Admiral's Cup winner Tilmar HANSEN, started for the first time in Germany in the ORC class. Formerly Maverick, the winner of the Melbourne Osaka-Race was conditioned to get the first ship home title, which was finally done on Monday. Helmsman Tom ROSS underlined, that the Outsider is not made for this type of racing, but added: 'We had up to 15, 16 knots on the speedo. And it was really great fun!' First ship home in Sunday's race and therefore winner of the BHF Bank Cup Round Helgoland was Unique.

Not so lucky, but celebrating a jubilee this year was 78 year old Rudi LAESSIG from Bremerhaven. At his incredible 50th participation in the North Sea Week he had to give up on Sunday because of damage to his forestay. Only the day before he won the regatta from Bremerhaven to the island of Helgoland in IMS class 4. LAESSIG said, 'The North Sea Week is always exciting and each year different. It is a pity that we had to give up, as we had perfect conditions. Now we will repair the forestay and then sail back home to Bremerhaven.'

The 71st North Sea Week satisfied its reputation of being the celebration of the German offshore sailors on the Pentecost. Approximately a thousand yachties came to the island, and many, many spectators watched the races, and joined the big hanseboot-party on Saturday night. Hanseboot the boat show in Hamburg, already for ten years main sponsor of the North Sea Week, brought good news to the island: the engagement with the North Sea Week will be continued.

On Monday, after the fleet of 31 yachts started for the long-distance-race to Edinburgh, the time had come to say goodbye to the little island of Helgoland. The marina, for three days packed with yachts, looked almost desolated, and masses of people were walking towards the ferryboats to be brought back to the mainland.

In the next days, the event team will begin its work, in order to organize the 72nd North Sea Week. And Bernd JOERG promised, 'We want to offer all participants a great sailing event and are looking forward to welcome the sailors and visitors next year!'

Mareike Guhr. Image:© Event Media
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