Volvo Champions move on

Second round of 49er and Tornado series to take place at Schwerin, Germany

Friday July 4th 2003, Author: Tati Pokorny, Location: United Kingdom
The show goes on: The world´s top Tornado and 49er crews are heading for Schwerin in Germany for the second Tour stop of the new 2003 Volvo Champions Race.

Rodion Luka/George Leonchuk, the leaders of the latest ISAF World Ranking List (49er) and Olympic Tornado Silver Medallist Darren Bundock together with Glen Ashby are the number one ranked teams for this spectacular four day event on the Lake of Schwerin.

With 15 crews in each class, the Olympic 49er and Tornado class are competing in the second stop of this new super series that offers an exciting and innovative mixture of high performance sailing. Racing will take place directly in front of the beach with the rounding marks not more than 10-20 metres away from the spectators, while live commentary will guide the spectators through the programme.

The event organisers have established a new system to create an even better visibility by creating special symbols for the mainsails of some of the best known competitors. Coloured triangles, squares or spots will point to the youngest, the oldest and the world´s top team. There will also be symbols for the German shooting stars of this season and the world´s top ranked German crew.

Event organiser Dirk Neumann of 4Sail Projects explains the concept: "we wanted to create a new attractive format for olympic sailing. With the success of the first stop in Constance in our minds we have developed this event even further. It is radical in some areas and very attractive to spectators and partners. That´s what we are aiming at: To bring sailing to a much broader public."

The format has convinced the sailors as well. Three time World Champion Roland Gäbler gives his views: "it´s a cool event that shows the right way sailing has to take into the future. It´s an unbelievably good feeling for us to see the fans so close to us and hear their cheers. The action is so close It´s like the crowd is sitting in the same boat with you. They can almost touch us. Finally sailing is where it deserves to be."

Gäbler has hit the headlines in Germany today by announcing that he has split up with his crew Andreas John. "But," says the Olympic bronze medallist, "that does not change my goal to win another medal at the next Olympics in Athens." Gäbler is giving himself a month to find a new crew to stay on course to fullifil his latest dream.

Another famous name in yachting to compete in Schwerin is Australia´s multiple World Champion and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Chris Nicholson who sailed on board Grant Dalton´s Amer Sports One as helmsman and trimmer in the last Volvo Ocean Race. "I am here because I like fun events like these and it gives us a good opportunity for more training," says Nicholson. "I think the Volvo Champions Race is a great idea."

While today and Friday morning are reserved for free training and some show races, the Volvo Champions Race will start in ager on Friday afternoon. 15 crews in each class are fighting for an event prize purse of 13.000 Euro. Another 35.000 Euro will be split amongst the top crews after the third stop in Travemünde (October 9 ­ 12).

The Volvo Champions Race will finish on Sunday with the prize giving ceremony.

Competitors List - in order of current positions in ISAF World Ranking List

1 Darren Bundock/Glenn Ashby (Australia)
2 Martin Strandberg/Christian Mattson (Sweden)
3 Robert Wilson/Martin Sellars (Great Britain)
4 Robbie Daniel/Anders Strume (USA)
5 Diego Cayolla/Nuno Barreto (Portugal)
6 Peder Ronholt/Sören Jörgensen (Denmark)
7 Helge und Christian Sach (Zarnekau/Germany)
8 Lars Bähr/Dino Grobe (Berlin/Germany)
9 Erik Holden/Mark Coakley (Canada)
10 Roland Gäbler/Gunnar Struckmann (Tinglev+Hamburg/Germany)
11 Johannes Polgar/Will Howden (Kiel/Germany + Great Britain)
12 Tino und Niko Mittelmeier (ÜberlingenGermany)
13 Patrick Egger/Kristof Koch (Friedrichshafen+Karlsruhe/Germany)
14 Eckart und Gyde Kaphengst (Kiel/Germany)
15 Christina Loweg/Julia Nowak (Stuttgart/Germany)

1 Rodion Luka/George Leonchuk (Ukraine)
2 Peter und Sören Hansen (Denmark)
3 Marcus Baur/Max Groy (Kiel+Fleckeby/Germany)
4 Markus Steeg/Moritz Deml (Budenheim+Bonn/Germany)
5 Chris Nicholson/Gary Boyd (Australia)
6 Gabriel Wicke/Wolf Jeschonnek (Hanover+Flensburg/Germany)
7 Nico Delle-Karth/Nikolaus Resch (Austria)
8 Martin Kirketerp/Dion Valente (Denmark)
9 John Harris/Euan McNicol (Australia)
10 Jan-Peter und Hannes Peckolt (Hamburg+Kiel/Germany)
11 Ronald Rensch/Torsten Haverland (Schwerin/Germany)
12 Mike Bassett/Kurt Riechelmann (New Zealand)
13 Felix Oehme/Julien Kleiner (Lübeck/Germany)
14 Martin Gerhard/Fionn Erdmann (Hamburg/Germany)
15 Frank und Peter Mühlhauser (Allensbach+Berlingen/Germany

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