Start of the semi-final match between Alexander Hagen (left) and Max Gurgel
The German match racers met this year in Rendsburg to determine the best of the year 2008. Eleven teams competed against each other in the Obereiderhafen area.
The championship took place as part of the “Rendsburg Autumn”, one of the largest north German city festivals, which has up to 200,000 visitors over four days.
"Match race sailing in front of spectators" is the concept of the Wuppertal sailing marketer Udo Optenhögel. And nowhere did it work out as well as in the port area of Rendsburg.
The spectators stroll along the new harbor mile and let themselves be entertained by the commented sailing duels over fries and sausages. The wind does not always play along with this type of presentation that Optenhögel does at events in Bergkamen, Duisburg and Essen.
Spectators in Rendsburg
But the three-day German championship in Rendsburg worked, even if only a few duels could be completed on Saturday when there was slack. The full program of the big round robin series everyone against everyone succeeded, including the semi-final and final matches.
Andreas Willim coped particularly well with the changeable harbor conditions. He lost only one out of ten races in the round robin series and made it into the lap of the last four.
Master Andreas Willim (left) in conversation with commentator Christoph Schumann
Surprisingly, the two-time world champion and current German champion joined the star boat Alexander Hagen, who safely maneuvered the Sportina 600 keel yachts through the slack zones with Tom and Antje Gosch on the bow. He only lost two races in the preliminary round.
Max Gurgel qualified for the final round with his last win against Berlin co-favorite Stefan Meister after a controversial referee decision. Tied on points with Carsten Kemmling, he relegated him to fourth place in the preliminary round and thus forced a semi-final duel between the two top seeded Willim and Kemmling.
Willim moved into the final with a convincing 2-0. Just like Alexander Hagen, who defeated Gurgel 2-1. In the final was the world number 29. Willim is the clear favorite against the Hamburg old master, who is in position 1206 because he only competes sporadically in the match race.
And after losing the first final race, everything looked like a clear victory for Willim. But in the second run, Hagen was able to clearly win the start, sail out a lead and turn a penalty circle on the finish line.
The spectators cheer about the victory of the Hamburg underdog. But the redeeming whistle of the referee, with which the completion of the penalty is recognized, does not sound. The yellow ball indicating the penalty on the umpire's motorboat remains on top. Confusion, irritation, Willim sails by, Helge Homann throws up his arms and jumps into the water, cheering.
What happened? The rules state that when completing the 270-degree penalty circle on a spinnaker course, the spi's head must be under the lout if the ship goes through the wind. But it was a few inches too high.
A mistake that does not diminish the victory of Andreas Willim and his long-time crew, the two doctors Homann and Hartkopf. The match racer, who lives in Goltoft on the Schlei, has been involved in this discipline for many years, was already a German champion and is one of the best helmsmen in Germany.
The small final and thus the bronze medal was won by Carsten Kemmling from the Düsseldorf Yacht Club with Georg Hecht and Peter Stein against the young, up-and-coming crew of Max Gurgel, Karl Gurgel (Hamburg Sailing Club) and Ole Wenzel just 2-1.