Decision Day for Sailing Champions League and German Championships

Day of the first championship decisions for the 134th Travemünde Week: Tuesday brought a busy day for the TW team for the award ceremonies around Martina Jeske. Not only the Dyas and Finns have finished5 their ranking regatta, but the award ceremonies for two German championships also had to be prepared. In addition, the Sailing Champions League celebrated its winners. The title medals went to the crew of the “Immac Fram” around skipper Kai Mares (Int. German Sailing Championship) and the team of Philipp Ocker (Int. German Dragon Championship). As the best club team in the world, the Finns from the Aland Islands popped the corks.

The Dragon sailors did not manage to race on the last day of their German championship. They made many attempts to get a race in the books in the strongly fluctuating wind. In the end, the total of six races remained. However, there was excitement on the Gulf course after a shower front with gusts of 37 knots (8 Beaufort) at its peak swept across the field. The wind came so suddenly that the seaworthy kites threw themselves on their sides. Hans-Dieter Lang’s boat (YC Immenstaad) took on so much water in the cockpit and hull that it could no longer be held and sank. The crew remained unharmed and could be picked up by an inflatable boat. “Physically we’re fine, but of course it’s taking a toll on us mentally,” Lang said. “The squall hit so suddenly and massively that there was nothing we could do. And it was so local that the boats to our left and right were barely affected.” Lang is an experienced Dragon sailor who has been active in the class for over 40 years. “And this is a boat we’ve been sailing since 2004, so there’s a lot of heart and soul in it.” He had to watch his nine-metre boat go down to a depth of 14 metres and now has to look into salvaging it: “We have to clarify with the insurance company what the procedure is and then issue the salvage order. I am optimistic and assume that the boat can be lifted without much damage.”

A nerve-wracking day was also experienced by the other Dragon crews. “It was already exhausting, the wind came from all corners and in all strengths. We would have liked to have sailed another race. But in the end everything stayed the same,” said the new German Champion Philipp Ocker (Munich), who had to think about the key to success: “There was no one factor. What was important was the consistency in the results. And the fact that we have been sailing together in this constellation for 25 to 30 years helped, of course.” After last year’s World Championship title in the amateurs, Ocker celebrated the next big title with his front men Florian Grosser and Oliver Davies. Jan Woortmann (Hamburg) and defending champion Ingo Ehrlicher (Pappenheim) followed on the podium.

Kai Mares was delighted with his fourth German Champion title with the project “Immac Fram”. The sailing crew from Kiel had put the yacht in the Mediterranean for the past year and a half to gain new momentum, and returned to the North for Kiel Week. The team’s focus is on the World Championships in ten days off Kiel. “The World Cup is the conclusion and climax of this project. On the way there, the plan was to win the German Championship again. But the two pursuers have put on a lot of pressure,” says Mares, who still sees a bit of work to be done in the coordination of the starts. Behind the “Immac Fram”, the “Aquaplay” of Max Habeck (Lesum) and the “Elli” of Thorben-Henryk Strube finished second and third in the German Championship in the ORC groups C+D.

The group of large yachts (ORC A+B) did not bring a sufficiently large fleet to the start to be rated as the German Championship. In the end, the “Intermezzo” of Jens Kuphal (Berlin) won the best determination ahead of the Kiel “Halbtrocken 4.5” (Michael Berghorn) and the Finnish “Mercedes Benz” (Jani Lehti). “For us, this was a very good training for the World Cup. Over the course of the days we have improved and are now heading to Kiel with a good feeling. After being second two years ago, we now want to be in the top five again. The field is strong, but anything is possible,” said Jens Kuphal. He is eagerly awaiting the home World Cup after the first half of the year, which brought a lot of excitement with the participation of his Offshore Team Germany in The Ocean Race with the campaign “Guyot environnement – Team Europe”.

In the Sailing Champions League (SCL), the crown of club sailing was awarded anew off Travemünde. After NRV Hamburg had won last year, Finland now prevailed. The third race of the final round brought the decision. The sailing club from the Åland Islands, which had already dominated the preliminary round with a strong performance, took the lead on the first cross, controlled the field and crossed the finish line three boat lengths ahead of the chasers. Coxswain Markus Rönnberg raised his fists and fell into the arms of his team mates Staffan Lindberg, Thomas Tennström and Mathias Tennström. In their exuberant jubilation, the Finns even forgot that they still had the gennaker up, briefly went off course and threatened to lie on their side. But the jumping quartet managed this situation as well and celebrated the title as the best international club team with champagne and a backflip of the three in front into the water. SMC Überlingen with Sven Hessberger, Michael Zittlau, Dominik Fritze, Alexander Gaiser, who had started the final round with a victory, had to settle for second place. The club was thus denied a repeat of the great coup of 2020, when they secured the SCL title in the nail-biting thriller of Porto Cervo. Gdansk Yacht Club (Poland) came third.

“It feels really great that we won. It was a tough final three races even though we started with a one-point lead. In the third race we got away quickly after the start and that gave us the win. To have won the final means a lot to us. Last year we just missed the title in the final off Travemünde, now we have taken it,” said a delighted Finnish helmsman Markus Rönnberg. The Finns will not have time to celebrate their victory in Travemünde. They have to leave immediately. “We’ll celebrate in the car on the way,” the team said.

Finn sailor Fabian Lemmel (Berlin) and the Dyas crew Jens Olbrysch/Norbert Schmidt (Herrsching) also had reason to celebrate. They celebrated sovereign TW victories in their classes. While Lemmel added another victory to his strong series at the end of the regatta, Olbrysch/Schmidt decided not to start in the last race. After six wins in a row before, the TW triumph was no longer to be taken away from them.

While five classes thus ended their Travemünde week, the Skiff and Cat sailors continued with the group races at their World Championships. After a strong start on Monday, Spain’s Pablo Völker/Federico Polomeni added an even better one on Tuesday and are now the clear leaders in the Formula 18 catamarans. With the series 2, 2, 1, 2, 1, they are ahead of the Australians Gavin Colby/Kai Colman at the top.

In the 49er Juniors, the Maltese team of Richard Schultheis/Youenn Bertin allowed themselves to slip up at the start of the day, but were back on course afterwards and defended top position ahead of Australians Jack Ferguson/Jack Hildebrand. The 49erFX is led by the young Israeli men’s team Illy Wureit/Yuval Barnonn. The best women Manon Peyre/Clara-Sofi Stamminger from France follow in second place.