After very varied but predominantly light and frustrating weather for the first half of the 125th Kiel Week, the Medal Races made for an exciting end to the Olympic Classes regatta. From 21-24 June, 16 international classes will continue to race on eight different courses during the second half Kiel Week.
Two German teams successfully won their first Kiel Week title. In the Tornado fleet, Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ (GER) held off their countrymen Helge SACH and Christian SACH to take the title with the Austrian team of Thomas ZAJAC and Thomas CZAJKA (AUT) in third. The other German winners were the 49er crew of Marcus BAUR and Hannes BAUMANN (GER), who won the Medal Race to leapfrog Pavale KOSTOV and Petar CUPAC (CRO) and take the gold medal.
It also proved to be a terrific regatta for the Austrian team, who swept to two titles. Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER (AUT) were clear winners in the Women's 470 fleet ahead of Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON (AUS) and World Championship silver medallists Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA (JPN). In the Star fleet, Hans SPITZAUER and Christian NEHAMMER (AUT) took full advantage of a poor Medal Race for Marc PICKEL and Ingo BORKOWSKI (GER) to take Austria's second title with Rick MERRIMAN and Rick PETERS (USA) second.
In the Finn fleet, Gasper VINCEC (SLO) sailed his closet challenger Anthony NOSSITER (AUS) out of contention to win the gold medal. Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO) made the most of NOSSITER's lowly finish to claim second place, with Dan SLATER (NZL) third.
After the Laser Medal Race was abandoned due to a dying breeze, World Champion Michael BLACKBURN (AUS) was a clear winner, with Deniss KARPAK (EST) a distant 19 points back in second and Olympic bronze medallist Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO) third.
Looking back on the regatta, BLACKBURN said, 'I had a terrible start in the first race of the regatta but managed to catch up to finish third. From there on I had my best run ever - six firsts in a row. After one of the three races yesterday in about 4 knots of wind a friendly competitor came up to me and suggested I might like to take up another sport - I respectfully declined.'
Plenty more Oceanic success followed, notably with Jo ALEH (NZL) winning the Laser Radial fleet ahead of Krystal WEIR (AUS) and Sarah BLANCK (AUS). Whilst the Aussies increased their medal haul to six with silver and bronze in the Men's 470 fleet courtesy of, respectively, Mathew BELCHER and Nick BEHRENS (AUS) and Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS). Neither of them could stop the charge of the Italians Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI, who won the title with a Medal Race bullet.
Poland won their two gold medals in the windsurfing fleets. Max WOJCIK (POL) took top honours in the Men's RS:X ahead of Etienne SAIZ (FRA) and Ben BARGER (USA), whilst Agata BRYGOLA (POL) came out on top in the small women's fleet.
In the 2.4 mR Paralympic Class Heiko KRÖGER (GER), who counts three Kiel Week wins from the past five years, placed second overall as Thierry SCHMITTER (NED) took the title with five bullets from ten races.
Next up for the Olympic Classes is the ISAF Sailing World Championships, with racing beginning in Cascais, Portugal on 3 July. The racing in Kiel has put the finishing touches to many team's preparations, with Australia's Olympic Program Director, Michael JONES commenting, 'In the lead up to the Worlds we have had a very good preparation and we seem to be peaking at the right time. I expect a very strong showing in Cascais as we return to our traditional 'comfort zone' of strong wind and offshore sailing, but also, do not write us off for a very good showing in Qingdao in August for the Olympic Test Event.'Premium Partners of Kiel Week 2007 like BMW (presenter), HSH Nordbank, freenet and boot Duesseldorf as well as numerous co-sponsors like b+m Informatik,B + S Card Service, Canon, Fürst Bismarck Quelle, Helly Hansen, Hugo Hamann, International Farbenwerke, Jever, Kapsch CarrierCom, Kielnet, Lankhorst and Hohorst, Nexus, Segler-Zeitung, Tutima contribute successfully to this year's 125th edition of Kiel Week.
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Kiel Week will be included in the first running of the ISAF World Cup© series for the Olympic Classes. For more on the ISAF World Cup© CLICK HERE.