Volvo Champions

Tati Pokorny reports from day one of the Tornado and 49er short course racing on Lake Constance

Saturday May 10th 2003, Author: Tati Pokorny, Location: none selected
Forget about difficult conditions on Lake Constance, forget about all the uncertainties thanks to short and breathtaking races of not more than 14 to 18 minutes long. The favourites came, saw and won straight away! Australia's Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby (10 pts) are leading the rankings after the first day of the Volvo Champions Race ahead of Netherland´s Mitch Booth and Herbert Dercksen (15 pts) and Germany's Roland Gäbler and Andreas John (22 pts).

Under a grey sky but in favourable winds of force 2-3 the spectators along the shore of Constance enjoyed watching the tight racing and a very, very close view of the sailors from five nations. The race committee placed the leeward mark just ten metres away from the mole packed with people. "It was such great fun," commented Gäbler. "The Volvo Champions Race is radical in its approach to combine world class sailing and a superb show. We enjoy this very much and think that the event organisers have done a marvellous and brave job in setting this up."

Alinghi made this year a Swiss one for the world of yachting, it was two Swiss teams dominating the 49er class in Friday's first three races. Marcel Walser and Caspar Buettner (9 pts) are leading the 49er rankings ahead of their compatriots Tom Ruegge and Jörg Steiner (10 pts). Danish brothers Peter and Soren Hansen, 2002 World Champions, are placed third, followed by Marcus Baur and Max Groy (14 pts) from

There will be two more days of racing on Lake Constance before the event´s prize money of 15.000 Euro will be split amongst the most successful teams in both classes.

There is a total purse of 35.000 Euro for the overall series champion. The other two events will take place in Schwerin (July 3-6) and Travemünde (October, 9 12). The Volvo Champions Race is an invitation race for top-ranked helmsmen in the two most spectacular olympic classes - the 49er and Tornado.

The organisers, the Hamburg-based event agency 4Sail Projects, and their main partner Volvo Car Germany, are aiming at building a new and fresh stage for olympic sailing. 4Sail Projects manager Dirk Neumann commented: "Olympic sailing still is the best base for all further racing activities of professional sailors or those who want to become professional sailors. We want to show people how great olympic sailing really is and of course we want to demonstrate it´s high value to corporate partners."

It looks like Volvo Car Germany has made a pretty good decision in setting up their own series four years after the main company in Sweden took over responsibility for the Volvo Ocean Race.

Results after Day 1

1st Darren Bundock/Glenn Asby (AUS) 10 pts
2nd Mitch Booth/Herbert Dercksen (NED) 15 pts
3.rd Roland Gäbler/Andreas John (GER) 22 pts
4th Peder Ronholt/Soren Jorgensen (GBR) 23 pts
5th Martin Rusterholz/Andy Heuss (SUI) 26 pts

1st Marcel Walser/Caspar Buettner (SUI) 9 pts
2nd Tom Ruegge/Jörg Steiner (SUI) 10 pts
3rd Peter Hansen/Soren Hansen (DEN) 10 pts
4th Marcus Baur/Max Groy (GER) 14 pts
5th Markus Steeg/Moritz Deml (GER) 15 pts

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