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18 June 2005, 12:00 am
123 Years Young
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Kiel Week 2005
Kiel, Germany

A sailing institution for 123 years, now the ISAF Grade 1 Kieler Woche in Kiel, Germany is one of the sporting world's biggest events. From 18-26 June, three to four million visitors will come to Kiel, some 300 journalists will travel to the north of Germany and roundabout 5,000 athletes from more than 50 nations will be at the starting line in 2,000 boats to compete in the Kieler Woche regattas.
A massive event by any standards, the Baltic Sea off Kiel provides sailing with one of its best loved homes. One of only two cities to have hosted the Olympic Sailing Competition twice, Kiel provides a guarantee of quality sailing.

The former ISAF President Paul HENDERSON (CAN) called Kieler Woche, 'the father and mother of the sailing sport'. His successor Göran PETERSSON (SWE) will also honour Kiel by paying a visit in his first year in office together with the ISAF Secretary General Ave SUNDHEIM (NOR).

'I am looking forward to Göran PETERSSON's visit to the Kieler Woche,' said Deutscher Segler-Verband President Dierk THOMSEN. 'The whole world of sailing highly respects the Kieler Woche. Here you get what is expected of Germans - a perfect job, an excellent organization. But Kiel also stands for constant development. We must not lose this flexibility in the future.'

No ALT tag specified'The athletes show their support by taking part. 5,000 active sailors simply cannot be wrong about Kiel,' argues head organizer Dieter RÜMMELI, who will pass on his job of 20 years to a younger triumvirate (Jobst RICHTER, Thomas ROSS, Sven CHRISTENSEN) with this year's Kieler Woche.

Three to four million visitors, 5,000 sailors, 2,000 yachts, 420 starts, 300 journalists, 50 nations, 39 disciplines (including eleven offshore classes), ten courses, nine days - these are the impressive figures of a typical Kieler Woche.

For many years, the first part of the week has been dedicated to the international classes. 15 classes altogether will be at the start from 18-21 June. Newcomers to this year's Kieler Woche programme are the Bénéteau 25 and the 29ers. 'We want to integrate uprising classes and modernize,' explains RÜMMELI.

The 29er is an official class in Kiel for the first time after previously being included as a guest class. The skiff is already an important part of the youth sailing circuit, being ISAF approved equipment for the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, where it will used in the 2007 Championship in San Diego, USA. The fact that Kiel Yacht Club has invested in seven 29er skiffs for their youth sailing speaks for itself. Sailing clubs in Berlin and Bavaria have done likewise and now put a focus on youth skiff sailing.

From 22-26 June, the big names from the Olympic Games, World Championships and the ISAF World Sailing Rankings take to the water in the final ISAF Grade 1 Olympic Classes regatta of 2005. Amongst the names appearing on the entry lists this year are two time and current Olympic champion in the Laser, Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) and, back at Kiel after a 17 year absence, the 1984 Olympic gold medallist in the Finn who went on to skipper three America's Cup teams to victory, Russell COUTTS (NZL).

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The Star fleet in this year's
Kieler Woche sees the return
of Russell COUTTS to the
Olympic classes
© C Beeck
Following on from the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères and the ISAF Grade 1 Hollland Regatta in Medemblik, Kieler Woche comes at the peak of the European Tour and will have a vital impact on the appearance of the next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings on 29 June. Look out next week for a full preview of the Olympic Classes on sailing.org.

The offshore courses, from 18-25 June, will see around 260 boats at the starting lines, looking to make history as the first ever offshore Kieler Woche winner. The title will be awarded to the boat and crews in each of the four IMS classes with the best score gained in the Kiel Cup coastal races, the medium-distance (Senatspreis) and the long-distance races (Round Fehmarn). The winners will be given the full Olympic treatment, receiving medals for the podium positions. All races will be finished by Saturday giving the winners a chance to party without regret!

Kiel has a lot to offer, not only to the athletes. About three million visitors are expected to come to Kiel in 2005. Many sailing enthusiasts will use the shores of Kiel Fiord as a natural grandstand and the City of Kiel and the marketing agency Point of Sailing will also offer hospitality on board the official Kieler Woche spectator boat.

123 years and still going strong - the tried and tested Kieler Woche recipe for success looks set to please again.

Marcus Schlichting (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Kieler Woche is back for another year:© Event Media
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