Ultra-hot competition for the Metre Classes at Rolex Baltic Week

KIEL, GERMANY. Day 2 of the 2010 Rolex Baltic Week and the Metre classes are proving that age is no barrier to ultra-close racing. There’s a dead-heat for the headline act, with three boats tied on equal points for the Robbe & Berking 12mR Sterling Cup, whilst Friday’s (2 July) podium positions for the 6-Metres were once again split between five boats in the fleet. Meanwhile the Modern YQuem II may be dominating the 8-Metre Euro Cup, but there is tight competition for second among the Classic Eights.

The 12-Metres may have been built for match racing in decades gone by, but they showed that they’re still equally matched for speed, with three yachts tied for the overall lead at the end of Day 2. Competition for the Robbe & Berking mR Sterling Cup at Kiel couldn’t be hotter, with Vanity V (Denmark), Anitra and Trivia (both Germany) each scoring 10 points. Anitra opened the day with an impressive win and then climbed through the fleet to third in Race 4. Trivia scored two consistent second places, whilst Thursday’s leader Vanity V did just enough with a third and fifth to stay at the top. However, the leading three certainly can’t forget about German Sphinx, who won race 5 and is just one point behind the trio on 11 points. Despite the Twelves’ age and power, racing in this fleet is proving to be as closely fought as ever and there is all to play for over the remaining days’ racing.

Josef Martin, one of three co-owners of the 12-Metre Anitra, commented: “We were lucky enough today to score a bullet in the first race after leading from the start to the finish, and then fought back in the second one after a bad first beat. Racing at this event is just great – it’s like being on summer holidays with fantastic social events on shore!”

The all German 6-Metres are also competing for the Robbe & Berking mR Sterling Cup at Rolex Baltic Week, racing on the inner fjord at Kiel in light southerly breezes. Anton Berking’s Lillevi took the first gun of the day, following up with a third place turned into a disqualification after a protest hearing, while current overall leader Sleipnir II (Andreas Krause) took second and then the next win to head the table overnight. Aida added another second to her score sheet, whilst Mellum finished with two consistent fourths – she is now tied on points with Mena, who also picked up a third place.

Racing in the 6-Metre fleet is no-holds-barred, as Albert Schweitzer, tactician on Sleipnir II explained: “After a critical situation 35 seconds before the start of Race 4, when Lillevi took the risk of a collision with us, we bore away and lost the start. But we sailed pretty well after then, gaining back the lost ground until we led.” Following the incident, Sleipnir II filed a protest against Lillevi for touching their backstay with their boom.

The 8-Metres, racing for their Euro Cup, managed to fit in two races after a 1.5 hours wait for breeze on the outer fjord. Competitors basked in 30-degree sunshine, many enjoying a cooling dip in the Baltic Sea, until the sea breeze quietly kicked in and racing was able to start in 6-7 knots of easterly pressure, which increased slightly to around 12 knots by the end of the day.

Swiss boat YQuem II kept their winning streak intact, winning both races again. Skippered by Jean Fabre, a member of the famous SNG club in Geneva, YQuem II now has a healthy five-point lead over nearest rival Anne Sophie. The competition for second place overall is a little closer, with both Japanese entry Aun and Anne Sophie scoring a second and a third on Friday. Hanns-Georg Klein’s Anne Sophie just has the edge in second overall as first Classic yacht, but only a one-point lead over the recently built Aun. At the rear of the fleet the competition between the two First Rule boats is also impressively close – in the overall points the 98-year-old Sposa (GER H4) has a two-point edge on the other First Rule boat of the same vintage, Elfe II (GER H9), although Elfe II managed to gain two places on Sposa in both races – beating several modern Classic yachts over the water on the way!

Hanns-Georg Klein, owner/skipper of Anne Sophie, commented at the end of racing: “We are very happy to see two Vintage boats [division with wooden masts, no Mylar sails and no self-tailing winches] ahead of the others. We simply can't beat the Modern Swiss boat, but the fight with the rest of the fleet is tight. Speed is similar there, and if you start well and sail faultlessly you can beat them – like we did in the last race. It’s now up to Aun and us to pretty much sail our own races, but from Saturday onwards we may be looking more at what the other boats are trying on the course.”

Two or three more races are scheduled on Saturday, from 11:00 (CEST), with more light conditions forecast.

Results after day 2 of the 2010 Rolex Baltic Week

8-Metre Euro Cup
1. YQuem II (Jean Fabre/Switzerland, 1/1/1/1/(1) 4 points
2. Anne Sophie (Hanns-Georg Klein/Germany, 2/2/(6)/3/2) 9
3. Aun, (Yutaka Kobayashi/Japan, 3/3/2/27(3)) 10