128th Kieler Woche: Nine Days, Nine Race Courses, 326 Races

Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV), Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee and Kieler Yacht Club hosted a world-class regatta for sailors from all around the world gathering in Kiel, Germany. Over the course of the nine day event, a total of 326 races in 22 boat classes and disciplines, plus the offshore yachts, were raced on nine race courses.

“It was demanding, but always fair and a wide range of events for the international sailing elite,” summarised head of organisation Dirk Ramhorst, with satisfaction.

More than 140 volunteers were able to manage through an extraordinary range of conditions to deliver a memorable regatta. With a lot of patience, great adaptability to the most diverse weather phenomena, and the willingness to hold out until the last moment, the crews of the offshore yachts and the organization boats around principal race officer Eckart Reinke put on a series of exceptional Kiel Cup regattas.

The competition was legendary and fantastically fun. The weather allowed for both snowball fights with hailstones and swimming sessions in the Baltic Sea, as the sailors experienced the four seasons over the course of three days. PRO Eckart Rinke had never experienced anything like it in his 28 years in the Kiel Week organization. “Monday was a phenomenon. We had calm, we had storms that the spinnakers were torn. We were sitting on deck in a T-shirt and the next moment we had a hailstorm, which subsequently allowed us to build a snowman on board.” The weather gods took the day off on Wednesday, June 22, at the start of the Olympic portion of Kiel Week. Because the sun hid for too long, the thermal easterly wind did not build up. Sadly, no races were possible in the eight disciplines, nor for the 11th ACO Musto Skiff World Championships.

Although only one more race succeeded on the offshore course on Wednesday, there were still six races in the books in the end, including four up-and-downs as well as two Coastal Races. The final day of the Kiel Cup then went one better. After a race and the breeze dropped, the crew of the starting vessel called for the swimming contest to bridge the waiting time. 25 sailors responded to this call and swam their course, for which they were rewarded with a certificate at the award ceremony.

The new, innovative courses of the Coastal Races were also a test run for the ORC World Championship, which will be held off Kiel in August 2023. The six races in three days demanded from the crews not only good seamanship, trim and tactics, but also navigational skills in the Coastal Races. Reinke’s eye was on the coastal races, their course setting already submitted to the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC). “From our point of view, the courses met their expectations. We wanted to show that sailing is more than moving yachts like big dinghies. Sailing also involves navigation. The crew has to get out a nautical chart, calculate currents and plot the best course. The fact that this challenge worked makes us happy and also proud,” said Reinke.

Praise for the alternation of short and medium-length races also came from the active participants. “The variety is great, the courses of the Coastal Races were an enrichment. If up-and-downs as well as Coastal Races can be scheduled flexibly, then it’s a great way to make the offshore events attractive,” said Intermezzo helmsman and owner Jens Kuphal from Berlin.

South African Andy Tarboton added, “That’s sailing! We had a fantastic week with a great organization, super weather, and in terms of wind there was everything – from light to medium and strong winds.”

In the end, the 128th Kiel Week proved a success for the sailors, for PRO Eckart Reinke and the vast team of volunteers, as well. This was a great performance by all involved!

Full details, including and a library of videos can be viewed HERE.