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Future plans for Kiel Week include kiting

by Andreas Kling 28 Jun 07:27 NZST
Wide internationality throughout the world elite - here the British 49er winners James Peters/Fynn Sterritt - is the typical Kiel Week character. © Sascha Klahn / Kieler Woche

After the all-round success of Kiel Week 2022, the organisational team around Dirk Ramhorst is looking ambitiously to the future. In the coming year, the sporting importance will be further increased in order to attract even more top sailors to Kiel.

In the wake of the German Olympic qualification and other nations for Paris 2024, all ten disciplines are to be announced, including kitesurfing for the first time. In addition, the organisers are pushing World Sailing for World Cup status. Professional framework conditions thanks to a strong honorary team, a diverse internationality at the start and the integration into the summer festival are the convincing arguments of Kiel Week.

"46 nations at the starting lines and thus twice as many as in the pandemic year 2021 are not a matter of course in view of the cost explosion for the journey alone and the current geopolitical situation," summarises head of organisation Ramhorst. The event mile in Schilksee and the summer festival in the city centre were repeatedly mentioned as popular unique selling points of Kiel Week, especially by those active after two years of parties. And without the reliability of around 400 volunteers, a major event would be unthinkable.

Ramhorst, who is also Vice President of the German Sailing Association, predicts that the next Kiel Week will gain even more from a sporting point of view due to the Olympic qualification for the German squad and other nations for Marseille 2024. The Kiel agenda also includes the urgent wish to regain World Cup status by World Sailing. The organisational management's goal for 2023 is also to invite entries for all ten Olympic disciplines. The kite surfers would then probably start off the eastern shore of the Outer Fjord between Wendtorf and Heidkate, but would have to be ferried over by water shuttle from the Schilksee Olympic Centre.

"This is an enormous logistical challenge, but we want to match it," Ramhorst promises. In addition, he says, it is important to be firmly anchored in the international regatta calendar for the class so that there is no overlap with other events in the kite scene. "We also still have to lobby the iQ-Foilers to increase the number of participants in the future."

Pull effects like of the two 49er classes and the Nacra 17 due to the subsequent European Championships in Denmark this year must be used in future again. The prerequisite is close coordination with the class associations. Kiel Week wants to hold on to a top-class title competition such as the World Championships or the European Championships in both parts. The Gold Cup of the Folkboats and the 11th ACO Musto Skiff World Championship were it this year.

Looking back on nine regatta days with partly ideal, partly challenging wind conditions, a total of 326 races happened for about 4,000 active participants had brought almost 1,500 watercrafts from the "flying wasp" (Waszp class) to the classic folkboat to Kiel-Schilksee for the Gold Cup.

No one summed up the feedback from the protagonists better than the 2016 Olympic catamaran champion, sailing legend Santiago Lange from Argentina: "Kiel Week is unique, outstandingly organised on the water, the most beautiful flair anywhere in the world on land."

The organising clubs, with the Kiel Yacht Club at the helm, the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein from Hamburg and the Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee from Berlin, are happy to hear such praise, without resting on their laurels. No sooner had the Queen sound "We are the champions" faded away after the last, festive award ceremony with Schleswig-Holstein's Minister of the Interior, Dr Sabine Sütterlin-Waack, than the starting shot was fired, so to speak, for the preparations for the next Kiel Week, which will take place from 17 to 25 June 2023.

Sven Christensen, managing director of the Kiel Week marketing and event agency, Point of Sailing, experienced great gratitude and a high level of satisfaction from both visitors and sponsors, including premium partners Audi, REWE and boot. "People enjoyed informal encounters and surprising moments, whether onlookers or board members," Christensen said. Many a guest gained first as well as unforgettable sailing experiences. And the Kiel Week feeling left everyone wanting more.

The new Ferris wheel in the south of the event area was not only a popular photo motif from the water, but also popular for beautiful views from above. The sales stands in the Vaasahalle and at the official clothing partner Helly Hansen reported high sales despite fewer visitors than last in 2019, which was also noticeable at the catering stands. Christensen: "Due to the cost increases in all areas of daily life, people's money is no longer as loose. We will work hard to continue with an offer for everyone."

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