Finally, on the road again! It’s not a statement that you had expected from sailors but after being refrained from racing a whole season it’s a nice feeling to be on the move.
Kieler Woche was the first “real” regatta where the OK sailors from Viken manage to end up above the Covid-19 cut of participants. 50 boats was the maximum at this event, not because of the social distancing on the water but the space available on land! In total we were 6 Swedish boats that made it all the way to Kiel. The organisers were meticulous in their preparations. We all had to fill out forms and read instructions on what to keep in mind before, during and after the event. Needless to say, nothing was left unaddressed by the organiser and face mask were up from entering the gates until the boats were afloat. Once registered we had a badge giving access to the race area, a Covid-19 GPS bracelet tracking all our whereabouts and an arm band to check in and out when leaving the slip to go racing.
Day 1 – Thursday
Planned start of racing on day 1 was 13:00. With 5-6 nm of sailing before reaching race area KILO the organiser sounded the horn which signal that it was our time to launch at about 11:00. The sun was shining and the winds were beginning to build. As we were sailing towards the Kieler Bucht light house on the horizon the wind increased to a nice and steady breeze of about 10-15 knots. As the wind came over land it was a bit nervous with shifts and varying strength which would cater for competitive racing. We were sharing the race area with the Finns and they started ahead of us. After a few general recalls the regatta was finally under way!
Sailing was competitive and close. Mads Bendix was the leader at the end of day 1 with two firsts and a second. Best placing Swedes were Thomas and Benjamin.
Day 2 – Friday
The second day of racing started very much like day 1. Calm winds in the harbour and a nice warmth when the sun broke through the clouds. The flag on shore indicated that we would race on area KILO again. The routine was the same with the difference that the first start was scheduled for 12.00. Also this day the wind can from the SW and gradually increased as we sailed out to the race area. When the start sequenced commenced the wind had reached a steady 20 knots and three races were scheduled. A few boats decided to call it the day already before first start while other left to sail towards the harbour after a race or two. By 14 – 14:30 the wind had stabilise at 22-24 knots with gusts of 28 knots.
Mads Bendix once again showed his skills and proved that the day 1 results was by no means a coincidence. He repeated day 1 and scored two firsts and a second. The best performing Swedes were Thomas and Patric.
Day 3 – Saturday
With winds forecasted to stay in the range of 20-30 knots we knew racing would be tough. The start was scheduled for 11:00 and with the precision we had gotten used to the signal to launch was sounded and we all got under way. That is, a few had already decided to stay on shore and save the body from getting beat up again. The sail to race area KILO was swifter than the previous days as the wind had increased earlier than the two previous days. The Finns started before the OK fleet and got a clear to go at their first attempt. Our start followed without hesitation and what would later become the last day of racing was under way. By the end of the day most boats including some of the top scoring boats had ended up capsized. The heavy wind took its toll and a few of us decided to head for shore before the last race. The high and gusty winds didn’t allow for any relaxation and the race towards the harbour for dry clothes and food proved as challenging as the racing in it self.
Bo Petersen was the winner of the day, scoring a first and a second, in the heavy winds. Best Swedes were were once again Thomas and Patric.
Day 4 – Sunday
After three days off tough racing and even more wind expected on day 4 an unanimous decision to end the regatta after 8 great races was taken. A few of the top placing sailors started packing up and everyone followed suit. There was no Day 4 in this year’s Kieler Woche! Mads Bendix was the winner, followed by André Budzien and Thomas Hansson-Mild placing third.
The organisation of Kieler Woche is impeccable and its a regatta that every sailor with ambitions need to have take part in. Next time we all line up at the start we hope that the Covid-19 pandemic is something in the past and more sailor have the possibility to go racing and experience the great camaraderie in the OK dinghy class.
Auf wiedersehen Kiel!