Gold Cup Defender Per Jørgensen and his Danish crew at Kiel Week 2017. Photo: Christian Beeck
For 80 years, Nordic folkboats have been dominating the scene on northern European regatta grounds. Robustly defying every strong wind on the open sea, they tack with a huge mainsail and small jib even against steep waves. To mark the class’s milestone birthday, the Gold Cup 2022 will be held at Kieler Woche (Kiel Week), June 17-21, 2022.
Folkboats sailing wing on wing in 2018 at Kiel Week. Photo: Christian Beeck
The Gold Cup of the Folkboats is, like the America’s Cup, a competition of clubs. The Lübeck consul Hagelstein donated the first 800-gram cup made of pure gold in 1963, and the decision made that the Cup should be kept in a safe and not allowed to be engraved; the winners’ list is inscribed on a parchment roll. In that initial race, the Kieler Yacht-Club (KYC) immediately struck off Travemünde, and Bruno Splieth signed in first along with handball legend Hein Dahlinger and Frieder Heinzel in the Daddel. He would donate the wooden folk boat, which was also awarded as part of the event, to the youth of KYC.
Kiel Week 2018: Folkboat sports manager Sönke Durst at the helm, shown at the start with Marc Rokicki and Ulrich Schaefer. Photo: Christian Beeck
This event expanded the stronghold of keelboats along the Kiel Fjord, where around 150 boats are registered in the Kiel fleet. At Kiel Week this year, the KYC is hosting the Gold Cup for the fifth time, having previously held the championship in 1975, 77, 80 and 88. After the Gold Cup was cancelled twice due to pandemic, the organisers want to pick up where the event left off in 2019, when, among 53 participants off Aarhus, Denmark’s Per Jørgensen became the Cup defender by half a metre at the finish line. “We have set ourselves a target of 50 entries,” says Sönke Durst, sports administrator of the German Folkboat Association. Before the end of April, 39 had already registered. Besides numerous entires from the host country Germany, many more will participate from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Great Britain.
“We have scheduled the folkboats as a championship highlight in the first part of Kiel Week, on race course Golf,” says organisation manager Dirk Ramhorst, “and we want to open the Gold Cup with a ceremonial march-in of the nations to the hot rhythms of a samba band.” The measurement will start on Friday, June 17 to kick off Kiel Week, with eight races scheduled on four racing days through Tuesday, June 21.
Helmsman Ulf Kipcke from Kieler Yacht Club (KYC) and his “Viva“ crew on their way to the third Gold Cup Championship. Photo: Christian Beeck
Among the local favourites is the Ylva trio under helmsman Ulf Kipcke, who won the Gold Cup for KYC in 2000 and 2015 with Horst-Stefan Schulze aka Mozart. “Everyone has sailed little for two seasons, but we practice every Tuesday and our boat is in top-notch shape,” says crew member and father Dieter Kipcke, looking forward to the home match. Sparring partner Walter Furthmann and his Paula team from the Yachtclub Strande will also be a force to be reckoned with.
Sönke Durst, who previously took bronze at the Gold Cup with his boat Hasta la Vista representing Laboe Regatta Club, is seeking out more of the best active sailors. An additional incentive for the long journey is the Trudelmaus Cup taking place the weekend before (June 11-12) as a warm-up in Laboe.
Nordic Folkboats in the Gold Cup Regatta during Kiel Week