The sun returned and racing finished for the ISAF Sailing World Cup classes today in the first part of Kieler Woche, the penultimate stage of the ISAF Sailing World Cup. Competitors have had to endure some long days on the water at this years Kieler Woche, which began with blustery wind and waves producing some exciting sailing and then became a crawl to struggle through the schedule with very light and shifty conditions across all course areas.
The race committee had to work extremely hard to swap the courses and re-arrange the schedule, often finishing racing late in the evening.
After five days of racing the medal races were a fitting finale for the 680 crews competing in the classes of the Olympic competition.
"When we saw the forecast this morning we were a bit afraid because it said that the wind will drop again during the day. But suddenly we had the breeze we were looking for and could organise fair races in all classes," chairman of the Kieler Woche Jobst Richter explained.
The home nation, Germany shared the biggest medal haul with the USA, both with four medals but no golds. Great Britain and Australia came out on top, GBR with two golds and one silver and AUS with two golds and a bronze.
Medal races were scheduled to take place on three race courses in the Stranderbucht using the customary short windward/leeward courses. The first to finish was the Men's 470 class on the North course whilst the Finns completed their medal race on the Middle course. The RS:X Men and Women's windsurfers sailed a windward/leeward leg with a slalom finish in front of the crowded spectator fleet.
The Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page finished the job by winning the first of the gold medals at Kiel with a second place in the medal race. Having already bagged four straight bullets they were virtually assured of the gold medal but the Swedes Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling sailed a good medal race to keep the Aussies concentrating and thus claimed the silver. The former world and European champions Sime Fantala and Igor Marenic of Croatia secured the bronze.
The win means the Aussie team, who have sailed every ISAF Sailing World Cup this year, go into an unassailable lead in the ISAF Sailing World Cup standings to win in the 470 class. Dahlberg and Ostling (SWE) move into the second spot in the World Cup standings.
The two British blondes Sarah Ayton and Saskia Clark capped off an excellent week claiming their first Sailing World Cup win in the 470 class. They finished the medal race with a fourth to secure the gold medal by four points from one of two Swedish crews in the top ten, Lisa Ericson and Astrid Gabrielson. The bronze medal goes to Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer of Denmark.