From Kieler Woche to the Olympic Games14/06/2012
The complete German national sailing team, the whole range of new Olympic classes with kite-surfing, Nacra 17 and 49er FX, the TP52 All4One with German top-class sailors Jochen Schuemann and Boris Hermann at the starting line of the offshore races, the SAP Extreme 40’s visit in Kiel, the International German Offshore Championships, and of course, all the usual buzz of racing activities will make out this year’s Kieler Woche from 16th to 24th June.
The sailing world will look to Kiel
For nine days, the sailing world will look to Kiel and from Kiel to the Olympic Games in the U.K. and even to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. "Kieler Woche is reason enough to be at the starting line, and I will certainly not miss out”, says Germany’s hope in the Laser class, Simon Grotelueschen (Kiel/LYC), who will come to Kiel after intensive training, a first place in Palma de Majorca and coming eighth at the Worlds. “Preparations are going well. I’m looking forward to Kieler Woche, and my plans are to stay on for three more weeks of training in Kiel afterwards,” said the 1.93-metre model athlete at the Kieler Woche press conference on Tuesday, 12th June at the Audi Centre in Kiel. 25-year old Grotelueschen will then travel across to England on 17th July, ten days prior to the Olympic Games.
Perfect setting for a last fine-tuning
A time span of exactly six weeks lies between opening of Kieler Woche (16th to 24th June) and the Olympic Games in the U.K. (27th July to 11th August). With the Olympic race areas of 1936 and 1972, Kieler Woche will be the perfect setting for a last fine-tuning under racing conditions for the German national team, after which they can fully concentrate on the Olympic sailing competitions off Weymouth. The complete German national sailing team will be in Kiel on Tuesday, 19th June, before they will all say their good-byes in the medal races on Wednesday and from there head for the Games.
And there will be a number of other sportive Kieler Woche highlights, of course: the final event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, the first joint presentation of the new Olympic sailing classes, three-time Olympic champion Jochen Schuemann and the winner of the 2009er Global Ocean Race, Boris Herrmann racing together on All4One, the powerful appearance of the Swan 45 “flock” and the International German Inshore Championships, as well as Wolfgang Hunger’s attempt at gaining his 20th Kieler Woche victory in the 505er class. Thanks to the support of its strong partners Audi, SAP, HSH Nordbank, Veolia and boot Düsseldorf, Kieler Woche will once again offer the full variety of sailing and promote sailing worldwide.
Kite-surfing: Fun sport going Olympic
Kite-surfing will be part of Kieler Woche for the first time this year. Breath-taking pictures of fantastic Brazilian beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema may have helped in securing the sport of kite-surfing Olympic status from 2016. This extreme sport has about half a million fans all over the world. Being pursued by male and female athletes alike, surfing under a kite seems to be the ideal Olympic sport. “We definitely wanted to feature kite-surfing this year, and we will do it in a spectator and media friendly way, even though I am sure that we will have to do a lot of experimenting and improvising,” says Kieler Woche organizing director Jobst Richter. So there will definitely be kite-surfing to watch, whereas the two other new Olympic classes will be present, but not in action: Rigs for both the Nacra 17 and the 49er FX classes are still in production, and crews are only just getting together. Kite-boards and kites, however, are already available, and German Champion Christine Boenniger will race in Kiel. The 25-year-old biology student from Kiel intends to not only defend her title, but to set out for more ambitious goals. Winning the national title after only four years on the board has marked a milestone in her speedy career, but Christine Boenniger’s dreams take her even further: “I would feel very honoured if I was to become part of the national squad. And who would not dream of racing in the Olympics?“ she says. And while four years of waiting will pass until this new Olympic sailing discipline will be featured in the Rio de Janeiro Games, it is already part of this year’s Kieler Woche.
The Gaeblers’ Olympic campaign
German top-class sailor Roland Gaebler will represent this new Olympic class. “Catamaran personified” himself, the nine-time European and four-time world champion will be starting his fourth Olympic campaign, this time with his wife Nahid. As an experienced team, Roland (47/2000 Olympic bronze medallis) and Nahid Gaebler (45/2010 World Champions with her husband) will be chased by the younger crews. In Kiel, the two will spend most of their time in the Audi Sailing Arena. “As we have been strongly promoting the idea of mixed sailing, it seems only logical that the two of us should embark on an Olympic campaign together. We’re fit, we’re experienced, and we are confident that we can still win an Olympic medal. And we say welcome to the youngsters, as we think that our experience and their drive will be stimulating to all,” says Gaebler with a view to Rio. In order to be able to race for Germany, however, his Danish wife Nahid must take on German citizenship.
For the first time, a Swan 45 fleet will be at the starting line, and the organizers would like to attract this top class to competing regularly in Kiel by offering a perfect framework this year. “We are happy to have the Swans racing in Kiel, and would like to have see them as regular guests in the future,” says Kieler Woche offshore race director Eckhard von der Mosel. Special attractions in the offshore races will be the TP 52 All4One and the SAP Extreme 40 catamaran. “I’m happy to return with the Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One and for the first time race on our TP52 under the Kieler Yacht Club burgee in the Kieler Woche races,” says a delighted Jochen Schuemann, three-time Olympic Champion and two-time America’s Cup winner.
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