While 99% of Germany ground to a halt to watch the historic World Cup final match against Brazil on Sunday, 11 of the 12 fleets racing in the Kiel Olympic Classes Regatta were doing battle on the Baltic for top honours at one of the biggest events on the
Conditions for the final day were identical to the other four with a strong breeze that touched 30 knots while fronts of heavy showers passed through almost hourly.
Two years after they won both sets of gold medals in the 470 class at the Sydney Olympic Games, Australian sailors have completed another double in Kiel.
Olympic champions Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell won the women's division with a race to spare over Germany's Stefanie Rothweiler and Monika Leu.
"It all slowly came together and we're sailing more solidly than we have in recent months. We managed to win a few races which helps," commented a pleased Stowell afterwards. The Australian pair won five of their eleven races and never finished lower than seventh in the 37-boat fleet.
"There are a couple of girls from the top ten (in the ISAF world rankings) that weren't here, but the racing was great. The Russians' and Germans' have been sailing well so it has been competitive up at the front."
Armstrong and Stowell are back in action in just a few days at the sunnier setting of Marseille for the ISAF World Sailing Games and opted not to sail the final race when victory was in the bag to give themselves "more time to get fired up" for France.
Both 470 fleets only returned to the dock at 2100hrs last night after sailing three races and were sailing back out to their race area 12 hours later for another three races. That's nearly half their series in just over 18 hours.
"I'm punished, bruised and battered and I'll feel it for a couple of days," joked men's class winner Malcolm Page.
Page and teammate Nathan Wilmot only came together after finishing runners up to the eventual 2000 gold medallists in their national Olympic trials, but have proved this week they are themselves gold medal material.
"We started slowly and had an equipment failure and a redress situation so we had to wind it up over the last two days in the gold fleet racing.
"The conditions were tough today while yesterday's race track, being so close to the land, was a lot flukier and although the wind was dying the waves were still there.
"Three other boats could beat us going into today so we just had to get the better of them over the day. The Polish boat that was running third had the best day but we did enough to stay in front of them," continued Page.
Poland's Tomasz Stanczyk and Tomas Jakaublik were second overall.
Britain's Paul Goodison won the Laser class championship, but Australian Brendan Casey pushed the world number two to the final race on Sunday afternoon.
Explaining his final day, Goodison said: "In the first race I didn't get a particularly good start as I thought a lot of boats would be over. I wanted to go left so it meant I was eating dirt all the way over to that side which put me behind. I rounded the windward mark 15th and gradually picked off boats to finish sixth, but Brendan won. That put some pressure on me.
"In the next race I got a clean start, rounded the top mark in sixth or seventh and pulled through to second. I nearly got the leader on the run but he got inside me at the leeward mark. I had to be within nine places of the Australian in the last race to win overall."
After a perfect start, Goodison was third at the top mark and charged through the leaders to win the race and the regatta. Philippe Bergmans of Belgium was third ahead of Dutch sailor Marc De Haas.
After the ISAF World Sailing Games in Marseille, France, which Goodison is bizarrely not competing in, the Laser fleet next congregate in Denmark for the European championship.
Consistency was the key to Carolijn Brouwer's success in the Europe fleet. The Dutch former world number one won just one race, but counted five second places in the 11 race series. World Champion Sari Multala from Finland was second.
Polish world number one Przemystaw Miarczynski got the better of Britain's Nick Dempsey as they went head to head over two last races in the Mistral men's class.
Dempsey led at the windward mark in the first race with Miarczynski third, but a basic error cost Dempsey the race and also the title he won last year.
"I had a crash on the first downwind, coming out of a gybe with too much power on and my back foot not in the (foot)strap," explained Dempsey afterwards.
Miarczynski won that race and the next to win overall by four points. After finishing second at Kieler Woche in the past and settling for the silver medal at both the European and world championship last year, Miarczynski has finally won his first ISAF grade one event.
Dempsey meanwhile was content with his performance. "I sailed pretty much as well as I've ever sailed and was as fast as I've ever gone and was the only person to match Przemystaw, but I made a few too many mistakes."
Hong Kong's Lee Lai Shan won the women's division, beating Britain's Natasha Sturges with a race to spare, but the Chinese Olympic gold medal winner from 1996 conceded that "the other sailors are getting better and it is harder to win races." Lee Lai also secured selection for the Asian Games later this year.
As expected, German Paralympic star Hieko Kröger won the 2.4mR class without to much opposition. Kröger won seven of the eight races but Denmark's Jens Als Anderson, the silver medal winner at the 2000 Paralympic Games believes Kröger is beatable. "It is a matter of commitment and trying new things. He's good, but just another guy. The day isn't far away when he'll be looking forward and not backwards (for the opposition)," said the Danish sailor
It was probably only an injury that stopped Poland's Mateusz Kuznierewicz cleaning up in the Finn class. "I had problems as yesterday I played football and hurt my knee so I was hiking on one leg," he said. "I was still able to come third and second today and get first place overall," explained the 1996 gold medallist.
Knee problems aside, Kuznierewicz is very confident about his prospects for this season. "I know everything is fine looking forward to the European championship and Gold Cup," he added. Germany's Michael Fellmann was second overall.
American's Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedhal were in a league of their own in the Star fleet, winning four of their five races. Ireland's Mark Mansfield and Killian Collins were second.
With the Ynglings taking up their course area, the Tornado class were unable to sail With only three races in five days, the multihulls have not sailed enough to constitute a series.
For the record, Olympic gold medallists and world number one pair Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher from Austria, with their eye catching Red Bull sponsored boat, led the series throughout.
Ulrike Schümann, Wibke Bulle and Winnie Lippert won Yngling series from German teammates Kristin Wagner, Aaan Hoell and Veronika Lochbrunner.