More than 150 boats are expected for the second Rolex Baltic Week. It starts tomorrow in Neustadt / Holstein. Participants and spectators can look forward to nine days of top-class sailing.
The field of participants ranges from the Swan 57 RS "Happy Hour" by Berliners Michael Heine as the largest yacht (17.89 meters long) to the three-man keel boats of the international kite class. The world championships are held in Neustädter Bucht. Another highlight is the IMS-600 World Championship, which starts on Sunday with a long-distance race that will last overnight.
"This means that we have increased the number of registrations by half compared to the premiere last year," said Gunter Persiehl, chairman of the organizer Norddeutscher RegattVerein (NRV), Hamburg. Above all, the Hanseatic Lloyd Dragon World Championship made a significant contribution to this with 75 top crews. The rush was so great that a parallel world week was added to the regatta program from the outset for the unqualified teams.
The "swans" start on the water on the first day. You will be sailing the Swan Race, presented by Deutsche Bank, until Tuesday, August 23rd. The big "happy hour" against the smaller competition will probably have a hard time achieving overall victory. Last year's winner Claus Bressler from Hamburg with the Swan 56 R "Chrila" will also be particularly impressed by the Swan 46 "Elan" by Harald Baum and the Swan 46 MKI "Gundel G." by Jens Kießling (both also from Hamburg) have to pay attention.
While the "swans" get down to business right from the start, the kites warm up on the first day with a tune-up race. On Sunday there will be a class charity regatt for the benefit of the World Childhood Foundation founded by Queen Sylvivon Sweden. Her Royal Highness is expected in person in Neustadt and wants to watch the race from a support boat.
The big ship sailors of the IMS 600 class will not have the opportunity to do so. On the second day of the Rolex Baltic Week race, it will take you to the 80 to 120 nautical miles long long distance to the western Baltic Sea. This race has a rating factor of 1.25 compared to the simple rating of the up to ten subsequent short races from Tuesday to Thursday. "Here we have to be right at the front if we want to be on the podium at the end" is the motto of the Kiel owner Horst Mann, who is going into the title fights with his former ship, the Rodman 42 "L + M Hispaniola".
The greatest competition doesn't just come from within the country. The "Hanseatic Lloyd" of Bremen-based Christian Plump also wants to get to the top. "It's our turn again," says helmsman Albert Schweitzer. But the Norwegian "Al Cap One III" had already shown at the Travemünder Woche that it can definitely stand up to these two co-favorites. And the "Checkmate3" by the Dutchman Peter de Ridder and the Italian "Movistar" by Lorenzo Bressani should also be expected.
It is particularly difficult to identify favorites among the 75 best kite sailors in the world. The field is peppered with former title holders from various, including Olympic, boat classes. The reigning world champion Dieter Schoen from Germany, who lives in Elsbethen, Austria, has brought the two-time Danish Finn world champion Stig Westergaard into the "Chrisco" alongside his regular crew member Andreas Huber and is again one of the favorites.
Vincent Hoesch from Rimsting, also defending champion, controls the "HLL-Ariston" this time with Harro Kniffkund Michael Lipp on the pods and also wants to be at the front.
13 nations have registered for the World Cup. Traditionally, the German and Danish fleets form the largest contingent, but Russia and Great Britain are also well represented. Other boats come from Sweden, Finland, Belarus, USA, Hungary, Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and even one from Puerto Rico. The dragons, which only hold a world championship every two years, traditionally only sail one relatively long race per day and only choose their champions after seven races on the last day of the Rolex Baltic Week.
In the second half of the week there will be the Fun Cup (August 26-27), which will be presented by the Mercedes-Benz branch in Hamburg. This regatt should be less dogged, but more fun. The participating yachts are rated according to their yardstick numbers and start in the kangaroo system from the marquee. This means that the smallest and supposedly slowest boats are allowed to go first, the largest and fastest several hours later, possibly not until the night.
After 80 to 200 nautical miles across the Baltic Sea, everyone should reach the finish line as soon as possible, whereby the first one has also won here, because he has already compensated for his handicap at the start by means of the time shift.
18 German, four Danish and one Swedish teams want to win the Germany Cup of the international X-79 class, which has its German Open in the last three days of the Rolex Baltic Week. The 7.96 meter long and maximum 2.88 meter wide keel boats, which have been inspiring the sailing scene for many years and are particularly widespread in Northern Europe, form a strict one-size-fits-all class that sails against each other without any compensation. The demanding regatta yachts, which are usually manned by five to six-person crews, have up to twelve short races on the program before the winners are determined.
Information on the Internet at www.rolex-baltic-week.com