Perfect conditions on the final day

The winners of the 2010 Rolex Baltic Week are Yquem II, the 8-Metre Euro Cup champion, with Trivia taking the 12-Metre class win in the Robbe & Berking mR Sterling Cup, and Sleipnir II the Robbe & Berking 6mR Sterling Cup. Whilst Yquem II and Sleipnir II had claimed their trophies by the end of the second-to-last day’s racing, the fight for the 12-Metres went down to the very last race yesterday (Sunday 4 July).

On the final day of Rolex Baltic Week all racing took place on the inner fjord, with perfect Mediterranean sailing conditions. The fleet raced in light six-nine knot northerlies, with some light patches and 25-degree windshifts to keep the skippers on their toes. The 23 classic beauties had brought a very special atmosphere to the former Olympic marina in Kiel-Duesternbrook, and Sunday made for a fantastic spectacle with all fleets racing in front of the host Kieler Yacht Club, providing spectators on shore with a magnificent view of these unique crafts.

The 8-Metre Euro Cup was decisively won by Jean Fabre from Geneva, Switzerland, owner and skipper of the Modern 8-Metre YQuem II, who scored eight straight wins to secure the victory. YQuem II didn’t compete in the single Euro Cup race on the last day, allowing Bernhard Kolbe’s Germania III to score a historic win for Germany, 74 years after she raced at the Olympic Games on these very same waters. Plenty of other boats enjoyed some time at the front of the fleet in the final race, with the British boat IF taking second and the 98-year-old Sposa, a First Rule boat from Lindau at Lake Constance, incredibly finishing third on the water. However, overall the first classic boat and runner up slot in the Euro Cup went to Aun (Japan), Yutaka Kobayashi’s recently built but classic-lined Eight, followed by Anne Sophie from Munich-based owner Hanns-Georg Klein.

After racing Fabre said: “We trained a lot for the event like for a world championship. So it went smoothly on the racecourse but we had no real pressure because we had no direct competitor. Our win was a must, but the sailing was great in nice area. We loved the Rolex Baltic Week.” Klein added: “We fought back on the last day of racing, although IF and Germania III did better and better throughout the regatta. The last race was challenging in between the big Twelves, but it was good to show off the class to the public close to the shore. It was our first visit to the Baltic Sea but definitely will not be the last.”

It went right down to the wire for the 12-Metre class, with Danish Vanity V taking the last day’s opening race, which put them on equal points with overnight leader Trivia. Sphinx (both Germany) then won the second, but in the contest for overall victory it was Wilfried Beeck’s Trivia who came out on top, managing to finish two places ahead of Vanity in the final race, and discarding a fourth place to claim the trophy with a winning margin of just one point.

Owner and skipper Wilfried Beeck explained the nail-biting final race: “We pushed the drama to the maximum today, with a misunderstanding before the first start of the day between tactician Carsten Kemmling and myself helming. We were equal on points before the decisive race when we pushed Vanity V into a match race. But then while Sphinx was leading, suddenly Anitra slipped into second place which would have seen us finishing only second overall. We changed our strategy, overtook Anitra again and are more than happy with this outcome at the end!” Stig Westergaard, tactician on Vanity V added: “The racing is fantastic when it is this tight, so we aren’t complaining at all. We enjoyed it and the Rolex Baltic Week was a great regatta.”

The Robbe & Berking 6mR Sterling Cup stays in Kiel with Andreas Krause’s Sleipnir II. She scored seven wins to take the Cup, including winning the final all German contest. However, behind her racing was surprisingly mixed with all but one 6-Metre finishing on the podium. On Sunday it was the turn of Mena (Thomas Kuhmann) to come home second, scoring her best result of the regatta, from Lillevi (Anton Berking). However, it was Aida (Bjoern Storsberg) who scored most consistently over the week to finish in runner-up position.

Albert Schweitzer, tactician on Sleipnir II, had steered a 6-Metre back at the 1975 Worlds in Sandhamn, Sweden as the youngest helmsman of the event. He recalled: ‘We felt the fascination of the Sixes again this week, sailed by so many world-class athletes like Dennis Connor, Pelle Petterson and Peter Norlin in the past. The class spirit is high and we hope for a even bigger field at the 2011 Rolex Baltic Week.’

After racing competitors enjoyed an event prize-giving in the garden of Hotel Kieler Yacht Club. Antje Ebert from title sponsor Rolex awarded three Rolex Submariner Date chronometer watches to the overall winners, while Oliver Berking also presented them with a silver cutlery from his manufactory. Special trophies included the Coppa d’Italia for YQuem II; the Neptune Trophy, given by the Royal Northern & Clyde YC for the best classic Eight, which was handed over by club member and jury chairman Terrence Brownrigg to Anne Sophie’s Hanns-Georg Klein; the First Rule Cup was awarded to 98-year-old Sposa, owned and skippered by Hans-Robert Nitsche; Heti also received a special award for being the only First Rule Twelve competing.

The eighth Rolex Baltic Week will be held from 28 June to 3 July 2011 on the Flensburg Fjord in Northern Germany opposite the Danish border. Flensburger Segelclub is hosting the event in co-operation with Kieler Yacht Club. All the Metre classes are once again invited, with the Robbe & Berking 12-Metre World Championship set to be the highlight of the week.

Final results:

8-Metre Euro Cup

1. YQuem II (Jean Fabre/Switzerland, 1/1/1/1/1/1/1/1/(DNC) 8 points
2. Aun, (Yutaka Kobayashi/Japan, 3/3/2/2/3/3/2/4/(6)) 22
3. Anne Sophie (Hanns-Georg Klein/Germany, 2/2/(6)/3/2/5/5/2/4) 25

Robbe & Berking 6mR Sterling Cup

1. Sleipnir II (Andreas Krause/Germany, (3)/1/2/1/1/1/1) 7 points
2. Aida (Bjoern Storsberg/Germany, 2/4/(5)/2/2/3/2) 15
3. Mellum (Joachim Wolter/Germany, (5)/2/4/3/3/2/3 17

Robbe & Berking 12mR Sterling Cup
1. Trivia (Wilfried Beeck/Germany (4)/2/2/2/2/1/1/1/4/2) 16 points
2. Sphinx (Gorm Gondesen/Jochen Frank/Germany, 3/3/(4)/1/1/2/4/2/1) 17
3. Vanity V (Patrick Howaldt/Denmark, 1/1/3/(5)/3/3/2/1/4) 18

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