3 million visitors, 5,000 sailors, 2,000 boats, 420 starts, 50 nations, 29 classes, 10 courses, 9 days = all in one at Kiel Week.
Kiel Week 2004 (19 to 27 June) is this year dominated by the Olympic rings. Athletes from 37 of the 54 sailing nations qualified to compete in Athens are taking part in Kiel. 15 Olympic medallists from Sydney, six current world and four current European champions underline the importance of the 122nd edition of Kiel Week, as well as the fact that the complete German national sailing team will be taking part. More than 5,000 sailors from around 50 nations will be at the starting line. 2,000 boats will be competing in 420 races on ten courses throughout the nine days of Kiel Week.
From up-and-coming Europe sailors to experienced off-shore sailors, from disabled world champion to Olympic medallist, from skiff to keelboat, from kite-surfing to windjammer parade - Kiel Week attracts the world elite of sailing and captures everything sailing is about in just one week of time.
Kiel Week is worldwide unique regarding both quantity and quality. Race Director Dieter RÜMMELI (Kiel Yacht Club) knows that the world elite will be also using it as a dress-rehearsal for the Olympic Games (13 to 29 August) in Athens, Greece. "Many countries have decided to end their qualification series here"
, says Rümmeli, well aware of Kiel's importance.
Kiel is a must for the complete national team of the German Sailing Association (DSV) and will serve as a last international ranking before the Games. Jochen SCHÜMANN (GER) the DSV team leader for Athens will be keeping a close eye on his team in Kiel. The 49-year old three times Olympic champion and America's Cup winner with Alinghi will not miss the opportunity to see his crews compete with the world elite in Kiel.
The sportive highlights of Kiel Week will be the Olympic part (23 to 27 June), which includes the Paralympic single-person keelboat the 2.4mR, the so-called international part (19 to 22 June) with 17 classes (for the first with kite-surfing) and the off-shore sailing with round-about 260 yachts and the IMS 600 European championships.
In 2004, Kiel expects approximately three million visitors once again, and they will be able to spot some 10,000 masts out on the waters of Kiel Fiord. Presenter BMW, however, will also take sailing right into the city centre. The veteran America's Cupper "USA 61" will be a veritable sight and attract many sailing to the Kieler Bootshafen, right in the heart of the city.
Racing for the Olympic and Paralympic Classes gets underway on Wednesday 23 June.