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30 May 2007, 10:32 am
From Small Beginnings…
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Kiel Week 2007
Kiel, Gerrmany

For more than a century Kiel Week has demonstrated the wide spectrum of sailing at its best - and come 2007 the regatta will celebrate its 125th year in similar style. The ISAF Grade 1 Olympic Classes Regatta headlines proceedings from 16-20 June, along with the inaugural X-35 Worlds and plenty of other racing and onshore activities.
In 2007, ISAF's Centenary year, Kiel looks back on 125 years of experience in the organization of regattas and sailing competitions. In 1882 the first races started near the Bellevue Bridge, which still stands today, along the promenade of the inner Kiel fjord, close to the ancient city of Kiel. In those days enthusiastic club members of the Hamburg based Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) together with some Kiel mariners fired the first starting gun for just 23 participating yachts.

It was the German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm I, who founded the KYC (originally Kaiserlicher Yacht-Club) in Kiel, and since 1894 the annual race week in Kiel - organized mainly by the Emperor's friends from Hamburg - was officially called Kieler Woche, known internationally as Kiel Week!

For over 50 years Kiel Week - one of the most important and comprehensive regatta events worldwide - has been organized by four leading German sailing clubs: the local Kieler Yacht-Club; Norddeutscher Regatta Verein and Hamburger Segel Club from Hamburg; and Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee from Berlin.

The development in the complexities of the race organization over the past 125 years is uniquely demonstrated at Kiel! In 1882 the only announcement made was: 'Start at 10:30 a.m.'. The 23 entered yachts did not cross a starting line, but started off their individual mooring!

Olympic Influence

Until 1955 - for more than 70 years - the Kiel Week race courses were set in the area of the inner Kiel Fjord, close to the city. Since 1972, when Kiel hosted the Olympic Sailing Competition, the higher standards for international race committees and the organization of top regatta events challenged even the Kiel Week organization. Now around 1,700 boats and 4,200 competitors participate each year in the Kiel Week races, which take place in the last week of June.

Due to the steadily increasing number of entries in all classes, in 1993 the organization invented a major change of the time schedule: Dieter RÜMMELI, former chairman of the race organization, split the race week in two parts - four days for the Olympic Classes and another four days for the International classes. Since 2002, the 2.4mR keelboat has also joined the line up as a Paralympic Class.

Beyond the racing, Kiel offers additional attractions on the water for all the 'pilgrims' who visit the city during the regatta: a 'defilée' of elegant classic (wooden) yachts on the first weekend; the annual Tallship-Parade highlights the second Saturday; and daily 'Cutter' races on the inner fjord with crews from the visiting navy/marine boats.

Today Kiel Week attracts 3 million visitors, 4,200 competitors from more than 50 nations and 1,700 boats. To accommodate this there are almost 500 starts in more than 30 classes on 10 different courses! From 23 boats in 1882, 125 years on Kiel Week is one of sailing's flagship events.

All Kiel Week Races 2007 will have the support of the following presenter and partners: BMW AG, HSH Nordbank, freente and boot Duesseldorf, b+m Informatic AG, B + S Card Service, Canon, Fuerst Bismarck, Quelle, Helly Hansen, Hugo Hamann, International Farbenwerke, Jever, Kapsch, CarrierCom, Kielnet, Lankhorst/Hohorst, Nexus, SVG Service Verlag/Segler-Zeitung, Tutima.

For all the news on Kiel Week CLICK HERE.

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.

Hermann Hell (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from Kiel last year:© Otto Kasch/segel-bilder.de
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