Strong winds once again affected the racing at Kiel week yesterday

Sailors were greeted on day four of Kiel Week, Germany, with another day of strong winds yesterday. With the weather forecast predicting Force 5-6 and gusting 7-8, all the racing was postponed until a decision was made to sail just three classes the Mistrals, Lasers and the 470s.

This was the first day sailing as Gold and Silver fleets for the Mistral fleets, which is the only fleet that is on schedule, having sailed a total of 11 races which means they will probably only need to sail up to two races today (Sunday).

Team GBR sailor Nick Dempsey had so far lead the men’s fleet from day two, but this was the day for Polish sailor Przemystaw Miarcznski, who sailed perfect race scoring three first places, giving him a four point lead over Dempsey.

Dempsey explained his day, “I had two bad starts and was forced to go left because of the shift. I was 30th round the windward mark in the first race, but had good speed and stayed calm to move back up to second place. In the second race, I was again deep at the windward mark but managed to come back and finish second again, and in the third race finished seventh. Miarcznski sailed a perfect day and managed to start well and sail away from the rest of the fleet.”

With the possibility of another two races today, Dempsey will have to pull out all the stops to try and beat Miarcznski.

It was a good day for Dempsey’s team mates in the women’s fleet, the first race saw British sailors cross the line in first, second and third, with young up and coming star Catherine Potter leading the way, will fellow ex Volvo RYA youth squad sailor Bryony Shaw in second and Natasha Sturges in third.

“It was pretty cool to cross the line in 1,2,3. Catherine had a good lead, but round all the marks we were fairly close,” commented Shaw.

The second race also went the way of the Brits, this time it was Shaw leading the pack by a good margin from Sturges, who managed to overtake Shaw on the last downwind leg to take the bullet.

Sturges commented: “It was great that we all had such a good day and to see the younger girls leading the way in the first race. I played the shifts well and just managed to overtake Bryony on the second race, but it was pretty close.”

Sturges finished second in the third race of the day in the gusty conditions. With a 3,1,2 score-line, she had sailed a good day and was rewarded with second overall, behind 1996 Olympian Lai Shan Lee of Hong Kong. With one or possibly two races left to go, it is unlikely that Sturges can catch Lee but it is looking good for Sturges to leave Kiel with a medal.

French sailor Lise Vidal, made an early exit from the regatta after she got a call from her French team mates in Marseille, saying that one of the team had become injured and she was required to take their place at the ISAF World Sailing Games.

By the time the Mistrals had finished and packed up for the day, no other classes had even left the shore. At 3.15 p.m. after a skippers’ meeting, the race committee made the decision to abandon all of the classes, with the exception of the Lasers and the 470s who were sent out shortly after on inshore courses closer to the harbour.

The Lasers completed three races in 23 knots of breeze and enjoyed exciting racing just outside the harbour wall. It was not an easy day as the shifts were considerable and the conditions were still gusty even when they were sailing in at 8pm.

Team GBR sailor Paul Goodison was leading the first race of the day, but then made a tactical error which saw him drop to fifth place and Anders Nyholm from Denmark take the bullet.

In race two of the day Goodison took an unintentional swim at the leeward mark and although he climbed back up through the fleet, the leaders had got too far in front to catch. Maciej Grabowski of Poland won the race from Mark De Haas from the Netherlands, with Goodison finishing in the teens.

Anders Nyholm of Denmark added another first place to his score line in the third race of the day from Brendan Casey of Australia, Goodison posted a fourth place.

The 470 fleet also managed to add another three races to their regatta, on a course slightly closer to the shore than they have previously sailed on. They too saw winds ranging from 18-25 knots and shifty conditions. At the end of eight races Nathan Wilmot/Malcom Page of Australia lead the charge from Gildas Philippe/Nicolas Le Berre of France.

After seven races in the 470 women’s fleet, there is a new race leader, Jenny Armstrong/Belinda Stowell of Australia have an eight-point lead over Vlada Ilienko/Diana Krutskih of Russia. Team GBR sailors Christina Bassadone/Katherine Hopson have sailed a good regatta and are currently in eighth place after posting a number of results inside the top ten. Team mates Josie Gibson/Saskia Clark have finished their regatta early has they have had to ‘hot-foot’ to France for the start of the ISAF World Sailing Games on Tuesday, but were pleased with their performance in Kiel.

It is expected that the breeze will drop slightly for the last day of Kiel Week, the race committee are so keen to get a series in for the Finn, 49er and Tornado classes that they are on stand-by at 8.30am. Racing is planned to take place in the morning with no race starting later than 3pm. with the prizegiving following as shortly after as possible.