The third day of the BMW Sailing Cup did not went according to the plan...at least for us. The wind did not cooperate in the morning, very light, very fluky and turning around the clock. This was good in one way as the saturday of the Kieler Woche is always the day of the big Squarerigger parade. And what a parade it had been this time. I think that nearly every squarerigger from this site of the pond was participating. "Gorch Fock" leading the parade with "Sedov", "Khersone" and many, many other ship following. Spectator boats by the hundreds and thousands of people lined up ashore to watch and wave the parade slowly sailing (motoring actually) out of the Kieler Förde. All these boats and ships would definitely stolen our wind if there would have been any. At 13.00h the wind slowly kicked in. Not stable in direction but sailable. We had to sit out two "races of hope", for the not qualified and the first half final. Our toughest competitor (as to my personell thinking) sailed a first and a fourth which brought him into our halffinal group of 3 boats. To make it short, we messed it up. Leading at the weather mark, we did not sail the boat well on the run, got passed by Oliver though he had sailed out 2 penalties. Helmsman and crew never found together as we should. Difficult for me not to steer this nervous boat and seeing our skipper moving so much around with the tiller. Handbreak on most of the time. Me being nervous as I did see some chances to qualify for the final, also not being able to give my very best as crew. If you are sailing with a gennaker or spinnaker in very light air it is necessary to have the best communication and cooperation between trimmer and helmsman. We were just damn slow and this had cost us first place and direct qualification into the final.
There was still hope as the organisers had put a "runner up" race into place. 4 boats and the first one to qualify for the final of 3 boats. A nice shedule by the way as it kept 12 crews in the competition nearly until the end. The wind had kicked in from the west, direct from the shore which was high with a wood and therefore some nasty windshadows on the weather mark. The course area bwing restricted by the marked deep water, which has many ferries coming and going into Norway, Sweden and Finland. A big shift to the left at about 3 minutes into the starting procedure saw us timing for a portstart at the pin end. It did not go well, we had to duck the other two boats and found us in the lee of the competitors on a tight reach to the weather mark. All boats squezzed together at the weather mark but we could not get inside and on the run with the gennaker we were slow again. There were still chances at the downwind gate mark which we rounded nicely and a new wind brought us back into the race. We should have tried to get inside the other two boats but as we stayed outside, we did not have many options on the last run. We were even past by the fourth boat and the mood was low. No place in the final against Oliver and friends.
The only good thing with this result had been our chance to watch the football (soccer for you guys) game, Germany vs. Sweden from the beginning. One eye pinned on the TVscreen and the other eye trying to watch the final race where also Sigrid (my former Bull crew) was sailing in a team of youngsters. Would they be able to run down Oliver in two final races? No chance for the other teams. Oliver, Marcus and Jan won the first race easily and they pulled a trick in the last race when they were under pressure. They sailed very low on the run, mainsail out on one side and the gennaker out on the other side, assisted by a long arm. This put them inside on the rounding and they had god speed on the beat, with Jan sitting inside the boat, low on the keel and only two working in the cockpit. Two first places! Well done Oliver. You and your team deserve the final in Berlin and I press thumbs for you to qualify for Valencia! The BMW Oracle Team is waiting to show you around.
The picture above shows the view from the clubhouse in Kiel-Möltenort out to the race area and the beginning of the "parade of sails" in the "Sailing City Kiel".