Killer Times in Kiel - 11th Overall
We finished 11th out of a very competitive field of 60 boats, most of which will also compete in the World Championships in August. This is the second event in a row that we’ve finished narrowly outside the medal race cut-off of the top ten. As gut-wrenching as that might sound, the disappointment only makes us hungry for the next event. And luckily we don’t have to wait long before the European Championships start in two weeks.
Kieler Woche is a truly one-of-a-kind event, and the numbers speak for themselves: 1,870 boats, 4,000 sailors, 60 nations, and 495 races held over 9 days of racing for a wide variety of classes. Sailors flock from all over Europe to camp out in the oversold (cold, wet and rainy) campgrounds. Additionally, the event village is like a well-organized state fair with sausages, schnitzel, beer mugs and crepe stands. Kiel Week is a special experience on and off the water.
We started the event with a bang posting snake-eyes (or two first place finishes) on the first day. The races were puffy, shifty and somewhat random - Steph loves this condition. We were able to keep our cool at the mark roundings, sail smart on the beats and stay in the front pack all day. It was an awesome feeling and a great experience to wear the yellow pinnies on day two.
The following days of racing were tough. We struggled to post consistent scores and put up several double-digit scores in the remainder or qualifying and Gold Fleet Finals racing. One statistic recorded by our coach, Giulia Conti is pretty revealing: our finishing position in almost every race was between 5-15 points better than our first windward mark rounding. Or in other words, we were starting the race behind and paying catch-up everytime. To execute starts at a very low percentage, but still finish the regatta in 11th place means that we’re fast, sailing smart, but really need to work on getting off the starting line more consistently. Luckily Kiel Week was a tune-up regatta for the next two championships that really matter, the Europeans and World’s. Our objective this past week was to identify the areas we need to improve, and seeing these weaknesses so clearly is a blessing this early in the summer season. We have 4 weeks and lots of racing before the Worlds begin, and we’re going to tackle the starting line head-on!
Now we go home for a week before we return to Gdynia, Poland for the European Championships.