Mittwoch, Juni 28, 2006

Double-Hand-Challenge and Kiel Week Finals

Mmmh, I wanted to write about my "non" preparation for the Double-Hand-Challenge, starting this weekend. But so much to do in my last week before the holiday and except of avoiding coffee and cakes, I am not able to contribute much. Neither for the boat and navigation preparation, nor for my sailing blog. Anyone interested in the competitors list of the race should visit:
The race is an overnighter and will last about 20hours. The course will be set 2 hours before the start. Last year I survived the race only for 20 minutes, than my Kevlar mainsail exploded in a gust where a nearby brand new X-37 broke it´s mast. Only 50% of the competitors survived the very strong winds last year but the ones who did, looked well oiled and set.

Reading through Scuttlebutt this morning, the following letter caught my interest. I hope that Magnus L. is OK with me printing it here on my blog. It is an important letter which is in stark contrast to the press releases everyone has read about the final medal races in the Kieler Woche. He is so right. I have participated in numerous Kiel Week races and often wondered about: "where does the information, out from the racecourse, come about?" Answer: Mostly written in the sheltered press center. Also the course inside the bay is definitely not ideal for medal races. Many unpredictable shifts due to the high shores on the left. The massive concrete buildings for the 1972´s Olympic races further contributing to disturbed air. And nothing has changed since the fierce Soling match race battles, between Jesper Bank, Jochen Schümann and others in the same area. Fantastic racing, but spectators: nearly none. We had always packed our Cruiser/Racer with fellow sailors and stayed till the end but there were no more than 2-3 other boats out there. Sailing will never be a real spectator sport with spectators on the water. Desk or couch spectating has a big future and I do not want to miss the America´s Cup Radio with Andy Green and colleagues. Great reporting! But for now let Magnus talk:

* From Magnus Liljedahl (edited to our 250-word limit): I feel obligated to comment on the new format of finishing a grade 1 event. I witnessed the Star finals during the recent Kiel regatta and my opinion it was very different from what went out in the event’s press release. It stated that it "offered perfect conditions" and that it was "successfully launched". In my view it was a very sad ending to a super nice event. The racing, up until the finals, was challenging and the leaders were deserving of podium finishes, as usually is the case. The problems in the medal race were three-fold. The course was much to short. Anyone who took a penalty was out of contention. The course location was absurd. There weren’t many spectators at all.

Finally and arguably the most serious problem was the officiating. For years sailing has been self-policed, and it still is. The judges need to understand what impact their calls have on the outcome of the race, especially a short one. The first and second place teams were both called for fouls during the run and at least one of them was totally uncalled for. The other one was questionable and that's why it should not have been called. The referees are under a big scrutiny and some will never return to "show time" events. I would agree that the sailing judges is not all a bad thing, but don't go out there and screw up and think that you deserve applause.

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