Italians in Germany

Lelagain leads the X-35 Worlds while the surprised crew of König & Cie is ahead at the X-41 Europeans at Kiel Week

Friday June 26th 2009, Author: Hermann Hell, Location: United Kingdom
The wind piped up big time this afternoon and it startet to rain. The X-Yachts sailing in their World and European championships finished all scheduled races in good shape. But first casualities occurred in the dinghy fleets as several boats came in early damaged, including one dismasting. With the weather becoming bad, Kiel Week is living up to it's reputation as being able to dish out harsh conditions.

But according to Hilger Erdmann, Kiel week's on-site weather expert since 1983, it will all be over by tomorrow. Until then though Erdmann is expecting gusts with more than 30 knots and even worse rain during the night. So fastening docklines securely and lashing down dinghies will be wise.

Having established herself even more firmly at the top of the leaderboard the success comes a bit as a suprise to the crew of the German X-41 König & Cie according to co-owner Jörn Meyer from Hamburg. Though the crew committed to sailing the full 2009 season, preperations mainly took place in domestic waters or in the shed. "We knew from regattas last year that we were okay speedwise,“ said Meyer. "So we more worked on our maneuvering skills and on the yacht's maintanence. But of course we are very happy".

The way Galatea prepared for this event could not have been more different from König & Cie's as she is based in Italy. It consisted of sailing, sailing and more sailing. For months the crew raced in the Med and only shipped the yacht to Kiel for this event. Just last friday the team craned Galatea into the waters of the Baltic. Once this European Championship is over the yacht with the half Italian crew return to the Mediterranean with Copa del Rey being Galatea's next event. Owner Florian Fahr said: "Certainly it is a big hassle bringing the boat here. But she's it's a German-registered yacht and has to sail in home waters when there is a big event scheduled. There is no question about it.“
Holding sixth place overall the Italians are certain that there never was a clear favourite to this event as most boats meet for the first time at this European Championship.

Galatea'screw mainly hail from Italy and has hardly ever been to Kiel. To boost local knowledge in the Baltic they hired german multihull specialist and Olympic silver medallist, Roland Gaebler. Gaebler ranks among the best known yachtsmen in Germany.

In the X-35's fleet it's Alessandro Solerio's Lelagain, also from Italy, that took the top spot from Albert Kooijmans' Just4Fun from Holland. Lelagain clocked up a win and a second - and discards a tenth place. After five races in the 33-boat-fleet discards now come into play.

Of course the German crew of Celox is quite happy clinging on to fifth place overall. But some of the crew seem to be even more hungry - they want to reach a podium finish. Not so happy is Stihl's crew led by skipper Sören Lange. Currently their overall result barely reaches the top half of the fleet. But they want to improve. Even though discards are now part of the calculations, only half of the event has been sailed - so there is still room for improvement.

The final words concerning the weather and the event in general go to the crew of the X-35 X.O from Finland – skippered by Teemu Kekkonen and currently holding sixth place overall. Asked weather the event lives up to expectation they answer "absolutely“ wearing huge grins on their faces. Asked weather they were irritated by the deterioriating weather - at the time the wind was howling through the rigs – the bold men answer with an almost viking-like laughter: "Absolutely not! It's like a typical finnish summer holiday here“.

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