Rolex Baltic Week
No races, but a change of leader
GLÜCKSBURG, GERMANY. Competitors in the 2011 Rolex Baltic Week arrived at Flensburg Fjord on Friday morning (1 July) to find white horses dancing on the waters and a strong to storm-force west-north-westerly wind blowing. The rigging may have been whistling on the 46 stunning Metre yachts assembled in the marina of Flensburg Sailing Club, but with gusts topping 30 knots forecast every one remained on dock with all races for the third day of racing at the Robbe & Berking 8-Metre and 12-Metre World Championships and the first day of the Robbe & Berking 6mR Sterling Cup cancelled.
“Our weather expert Meeno Schrader predicted gusts of up to 32 knots,” explained the FSC race director Claus Otto Hansen, “and that is simply too much.” The decision to abandon racing was welcomed by the race teams, none of whom ventured afloat to train in a fleet where some
yachts have already celebrated their centenary birthdays. “This was an early, prudent decision,” said Andi Lochbrunner, owner of the 99-year-old Elfe II. The previous day the risks had been clearly illustrated with the 8-metre Svanevit of Karsten Niehaus (Cologne) losing their mast during racing.
Despite the lack of sailing, there has been a change on the overall leaderboard for the 8-Metre world title overnight. The British boat Lafayette, owned by Murdoch McKillop, now heads the scoreboard after winning a protest against previous event leader Hollandia as the Dutch team, headed by Ruud van Hilst and Jos Fruytier, was disqualified from the third race. During neck-and-neck racing to the finish both boats were powering along under spinnaker. Lafayette hailed that they were gybing onto starboard, but Hollandia reacted too slowly and the boats made contact on the approach to the finish line. Hollandia crossed the line without executing a penalty turn to exonerate themselves, and so were penalized by the international jury for violating Rules 10 and 11.
In the provisional results Lafayette now has a three point advantage over the Swiss YQuem II of Jean Fabre, who in turn is just three points ahead of the 1938 design Raven belonging to Richard Self and Mark Decelles. Hollandia now lies in fifth. There has been no change to the 12-metre fleet standings, which still sees Patrick Howaldt’s Vanity V (DEN) three points ahead of Wilfried Beeck’s Trivia (GER), with third-placed Sphinx (GER) belonging to Gorm Gondesen and Jochen Frank just one point further back.
A welcome consolation for the lack of competition, the crews will this evening gather at Oliver Berking’s Robbe & Berking Classics boatyard for the social highlight of the day; the Robbe & Berking Classics night. There, Oliver Berking – the initiator of the classic Metre yacht regattas on the Flensburg Fjord – will present his latest, spectacular project. The legendary Twelve Gretel
has been transported from Italy to the yard where she will undergo full restoration. “We want to enable the ship to return to its original state from 1962,” said Berking, “this is a unique piece of yachting history, and has to be preserved!”
Gretel sailed in the 1962 America's Cup as a challenger and was the first Australian 12-metre yacht ever designed by Alan Payne. The yacht proved so much faster than the American defender Weatherly, designed by Philip Rhodes that she became the first challenger to win a Cup race since the historic battle between Endeavour and Rainbow in 1934. Whilst ultimately the Americans may have won the 1962 contest yet again, Gretel proved that the often one-sided America’s Cup could once again provide true excitement as the Australians piled on the pressure against the outstanding Weatherly crew headed by Emil ‘Bus’ Mosbacher.
2011 Rolex Baltic Week
Ranking after four races (no races on Friday, 1 July)
Robbe & Berking 12-Metre World Championship
Place Boat name, Owner-Helmsman (origin), R1-R2-R3-R4, points overall
1 Vanity V, Patrick Howaldt (Denmark), 1-1-2-2, 6
2 Trivia, Wilfried Beeck (Germany), 3-2-1-3, 9
3 Sphinx, Gorm Gondesen/Jochen Frank (Germany), 2-3-4-1, 10
4 Anitra, Josef Martin (Germany), 4-4-3-4, 15
5 Vema III, Eric Svenkerud (Norway), 6-5-5-DNF, 27
6 Erna Signe, Einar Sissner (Norway), 7-7-7-6, 27
Robbe & Berking 8-Metre World Championship
1 Lafayette, Murdoch McKillop (Great Britain), 2-4-1-1, 8
2 YQuem II, Jean Fabre (Switzerland), 3-2-3-3, 11
3 Raven, Richard Self/Mark Decelles (Canada), 5-3-2-4, 14
4 Catina VI, Fred Meyer (Switzerland), 7-7-8-6, 28
5 Hollandia, Ruud van Hilst/Jos Fruytier (The Netherlands), 1-1-DSQ-2, 5
6 Sagitta, Timo Saalasti (Finland), 11-12-7-5, 35
7 Feo, Hans-Peter Strepp (Germany), 9-14-6-7, 3