Hunger strikes again
Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner have tightened their grip on the SAP 505 World Championships with a first and second place in two light air races in Aarhus, Denmark.
At the half-way stage of the regatta the Germans hold a seven point lead over Jorgen and Jacob Bojsen-Møller, the Danish brothers, with Great Britain’s Ian Pinnell and Ian Mitchell a further three points back in third overall.
After the strong winds of day 1, the moderate breeze of day 2, and the lighter breezes of today, the 126-strong fleet has now been tested in all conditions except a complete drifter. Hunger and Kleiner have won a race every day, proving themselves equally comfortable in all winds.
“We changed to our fuller mainsail today and we felt fast,” said Hunger, “faster than we have felt before.” Competitors have commented on the German team’s strength on the offwind legs, which Hunger attributes to good crew work from Julien Kleiner. “He is light, 84kg, so he gets out on the trapeze early and it makes us fast downwind. Then again, I am not that light, 78kg - which probably makes me one of the heaviest helmsmen in the top 10.”
Hunger uses Bojsen-Møller sails, manufactured by the very crew that is chasing him for the world title. Now lying in 2nd overall after a 2,4 score from today’s races, Jacob Bojsen-Møller joked that he makes better sails for his customers than for himself. “Upwind we are alright but downwind the Germans are a bit better, they gain a little here and there,” he said. “Tonight we will study some video from our coach, Peter Hansen. We may only learn small things, but maybe they are important things.”
Rival sailmaker Ian Pinnell has slipped to third after a solid but unspectacular day with a 4,6 score. Crew Ian Mitchell admitted they had a chance to cover Hunger and Bojsen-Møller in the second race, but went for what they thought was better breeze on the left. The plan didn’t work and they let their two closest rivals slip past them. Such moments could prove critical in the final analysis when this regatta concludes on thursday.
Tomorrow is a lay day, with sailors from the 11 countries looking forward to a rest after three challenging days of racing. Most will be happy to leave the covers on their boats, but Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn have some boat work to do in their quest to solve a slight boatspeed problem, with a planned retune of the mast. After leading the regatta on day one, the American team has slipped to 4th overall. “It’s been pretty frustrating, and we’re just trying to figure out what’s wrong,” said Hamlin, the 1999 World Champion. “Today’s conditions - that’s our best stuff, but nothing’s coming easy at the moment, we just seem to be falling out of the front row out of the start. In the second race I lost my cool, but Andy calmed me down, told me to get back into it. We were mid-fleet half up the first beat, he got us back into the 20s by the first mark, and 13th by the finish.”
One team that made amends for a first day of gear damage were the Danes Jan Saugmann and Morten Ramsbaek who staved off Hunger to win the fifth race. “After such a bad first day we have decided to try and win individual races, like a Tour de France stage,” said Ramsbaek, who with Saugmann had been hoping to make Aarhus the place where they would win their second world title to go with the one they won in Australia back in 2007. That chance has gone but the victory in race 5 certainly put the smile back on their faces.
Also smiling was Meike Schomaeker, the highest place female competitor who now lies in 6th overall after solid scores of 10,5 today. Crewed by Holger Jess, who won three 505 world titles with Wolfgang Hunger, Meike goes out with Hunger’s current crew Julien Kleiner. These two boats tuned up together before the start and both boats enjoyed a good day on the water. Tomorrow they will enjoy a day off together touring the city of Aarhus, while others in the fleet work out what they can do to beat the seemingly unstoppable Germans.
The SAP 505 World Championship takes place in Aarhus, Denmark, from 30 July to 5 August. This regatta is the latest in a series of major sailing championships hosted by the City of Aarhus over the past 10 years, with the Volvo ISAF Youth Worlds having taken place here in 2008 and with a number of major championships scheduled in the near future, including the A-Class Catamaran Worlds in 2011.
The 2010 SAP 505 World Championship is organised by Sailing Aarhus in cooperation with Sport Event Denmark, Sport Aarhus Event and the Danish Sailing Association. With a strong focus on innovation and new technology to promote sailing to a wider audience, Denmark and the City of Aarhus are bidding for the ISAF Worlds 2014, the most prestigious regatta next to the Olympic Games.