[Photo: Klahn / Kieler Woche ]
Sailors from Down Under are On Top
In the first day of finals competition, and plenty of wind and waves to contend with, Australia’s Zac Littlewood continued where he left off the day before, winning two more races while fellow countryman Caelin Winchcombe finished with second and a fourth (the latter now being dropped as his worst finish so far), to move up two places in the standings and now just 3 points off the overall leader.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for some of the sailors, though. Niklas Dehne of Germany came back ashore with mast and boat separated. At the start for the second race of the Silver Fleet of the Laser Radial Worlds, his outhaul broke. “It was too much wind for my equipment”, he commented. “It felt like more wind on the upwind than yesterday and big waves.”
Other sailors seemed to relish the challenging conditions. “A little bit more would have been possible”, explained Germany’s Maximilian Walkenbach, who is in the gold fleet, at 42nd overall. Nevertheless, he is content. The legs are trembling, the muscles hurting. “Until yesterday, up to rank 20 would have been possible.” But now the wind is too much, he said. He doesn’t quite have the height and weight to sail further in front in those conditions. With the steep waves from the right side, he had to watch out to keep the boat straight on the downwind and not to capsize. “But it was great fun, nevertheless.” These are the Worlds, and the conditions are difficult, but feasible, he commented.
In total, ten sailors from Germany are on the start line. Maximilian Walkenbach regrets a little that there are not more. His brother Philip for example, sailed earlier, in the first part of Kiel Week during the Radial Open competition; his highlight later this year will be the Laser Radial Youth World Championship in August in Kiel. But Walkenbach did pay tribute to the overall quality of the fleet. “The first 15 are really strong, after that the level drops a bit.” For the next days he will try to keep his rank or improve a bit, aiming to get up to 30 if he can.
Top Five [provisional results] after Day 3, net score includes one drop:
1. Zac Littlewood, Australia – 6 pts
2. Caelin Winchcombe, Australia – 9 pts
3. Alexander Arian, Poland – 11 pts
4. Marcin Rudawski, Poland – 14 pts
5. Uffe Tomasgaard, Norway – 22 pts
Complete Results are available during the event through the Kiel Week website.