KIEL, GERMANY. The first day of the 2010 Rolex Baltic Week saw a relatively gentle, but tactically challenging, start for the three Metre classes racing in Kiel, Germany. Winners on the first day were the YQuem II by Jean Fabre from Switzerland with three bullets in the 8-Metre Euro Cup, and Patrick Howaldt’s Danish 12-Metre Vanity V and the 6-Metre Sleipnir II, owned and driven by Andreas Krause from Kiel in the Robbe & Berking mR Sterling Cups.
The first day of the 2010 Rolex Baltic Week saw a relatively gentle, but tactically challenging, start for the three Metre classes racing in Kiel, Germany. Winners on the first day were the YQuem II by Jean Fabre from Switzerland with three bullets in the 8-Metre Euro Cup, Patrick Howaldt’s Danish 12-Metre Vanity V and the 6-Metre Sleipnir II owned and driven by Andreas Krause from Kiel, Germany challenging the Robbe & Berking mR Sterling Cups.
The 8-Metres, racing for their Euro Cup, enjoyed the best of the conditions on the opening day (1 July) out on the outer course of the Kieler Fjord. The 11-boat fleet sailed three races in pleasant north-easterlies that rose from around 9-10 knots at noon to 14 knots thanks to a building sea breeze. First honours went to the hotly-favoured Swiss boat YQuem II, skippered by Jean Fabre. The Geneva-based YQuem II crew had been training hard in Kiel in preparation for the event, and the Modern fibreglass design didn’t disappoint with three straight wins.
Second in the first two races went to the German Anne Sophie (Hanns-Georg Klein), who was followed home in each by the Japanese entry Aun. However, Yutaka Kobayashi went one better to finish second in Thursday’s final race, while Anne Sophie dropped to sixth – this pushed Aun into second overnight as first Classic boat. Another German entry Feo (Hans Peter Strepp) took the remaining podium position in the third race. The fastest First Rule boat of the day was the venerable Sposa, a gaff-rigged 98-year-old design from the south of Germany, who lies in ninth position overall.
Leading skipper Jean Fabre, the owner of YQuem II, said after racing: “We had perfect sailing conditions with 10-15 knots of breeze, perfectly fitting our boat. We started conservatively to give the others a fair chance, but as the only modern 8-Metre on the course we were simply faster.” Fabre also gave thanks to the event organizers, saying: “The race committee did a super job with the course layout and changes.”
For the 12- and 6-Metre teams racing closer to shore for the Robbe & Berking mR Sterling Cup it was a tough day tactically. Whilst spectators were able to enjoy a fantastic view of the stunning Twelve yachts and closely matched Sixes rounding the bottom gate right in front of the Kieler Yacht Club, for the skippers and tacticians there were challenging conditions to contend with. Unusual wind patterns at lunch time saw the first race start in light northerlies, but the fleet had to contend with lulls in the middle of the race course, and then southerlies at the leeward mark, which turned the first downwind leg back into a beat! However, for Race 2 the course was reset further north, at the entrance of Kiel Canal, in light but more constant breezes during the afternoon.
The six show-stopping Twelves began their Sterling Cup contest with the opening day’s victories going to Vanity V (DEN 5), as Patrick Howaldt skippered his Vintage design to two straight wins. However, behind her there is a three-way tie on points for second after the first day’s racing, with American entry Anitra (USA 5) and the German Trivia (GER 10) each scoring a second and fourth, and Sphinx (GER 64) taking two third places, to all tie on 6 points apiece.
Trivia’s tactician Stig Westergaard explained: “The first race was quite a lottery with no wind from every direction. We were next to last, but choose the right side after the race ‘re-started’ at the last mark rounding. The second race was a perfect start – we picked the right side and off we went!”
The first day’s results were more mixed in the 6-Metre class, with the first five boats all scoring top three places. The first win went to Anton Berking helming Lillevi, whilst the second race gun belonged to Sleipnir II which, together with a third place, put Andreas Krause’s team in the lead overnight. Second places were taken by Aida (GER 59) and Mellum (GER 22), with Mena (GER 30) also scoring a third and fourth – the contest for the 6mR Sterling Cup looks to be wide open!
Andreas Krause, owner of Sleipnir II commented: “What a brilliant sailing day! We were lucky in the first race to finish third, but showed our potential in the second one and are happy to have taken the overall lead. Our goal is to win the Rolex Baltic Week.”
On Friday three races are scheduled for all classes, with initially light winds forecast to build in the sea breeze.
Results after day 1 of the 2010 Rolex Baltic Week
8-Metre Euro Cup
1. YQuem II (Jean Fabre/Switzerland, 1/1/1) 3 points
2. Aun, (Yutaka Kobayashi/Japan, 3/3/2) 8
3. Anne Sophie (Hanns-Georg Klein/Germany, 2/2/6) 10
Robbe & Berking 6mR Sterling Cup
1. Sleipnir II (Andreas Krause/Germany, 3/1) 4 points
2. Lillevi (Anton Berking/Germany, 1/5) 6
3. Aida (Bjoern Storsberg/Germany, 2/4) 6
Robbe & Berking 12mR Sterling Cup
1. Vanity V (Patrick Howaldt/Denmark, 1/1) 2 points
2. Trivia (Wilfried Beeck/Germany 4/2) 6
3. Anitra (Josef Martin/Germany, 2/4) 6