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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49
The sixth edition of the Rolex Baltic Week (Kiel, Germany) will be featuring the Star Class European Championship for the second time. After the 2006 event, the oldest Olympic class will once again be carried on the Baltic Sea in Germany. The regatta will take place from 5 to 12 July 2009 in the modernized Olympic sailing centre in Kiel-Schilksee. The news were delivered by Dierk Thomsen, Vice Commodore of the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association (ISCYRA) and Vice Chairman of the Kieler Yacht-Club (KYC) during this year’s Star Class European Championship on Lake Balaton in Hungary.
“We want to present the sailors an extraordinary event both on the water and on shore. And we are very happy to have won Rolex as our partner to fulfil this,” said Thomsen. The renowned manufacturer of Swiss timepieces with its German branch located in Cologne is known and loved for providing a top-class social event programme. The sixth Rolex Baltic Week will start with an opening party, and end with a festive prize-giving ceremony. This summer’s edition will be held from August 27 until August 31 in Travemuende and features the Rolex Farr 40 Europeans.
In the post-Olympic year of 2009, the organizers of Kieler Yacht-Club reckon to have about 60 to 70 crews from Europe and beyond, as the event takes place just in between Kieler Woche and the Star Worlds in Varberg, Sweden. The Star Class is known for always sailing open championships inviting also non-Europeans to take part, which allowed US-Americans Mark Mendelblatt and Mark Strube to win the 2006 Rolex Baltic Week. And 1998, when the Star Class Europeans were also sailed on the Bay of Kiel, also seaw a US crew win the title with Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl. “That was a very nice event, as everyone was personally cared for by the organizers and still remembers the special atmosphere,” said Dierk Thomsen from Kiel.
With the help of the Star Class fleet from Kiel, this spirit shall prevail in their hometown again next year. Kiel is one of 20 German fleets and belongs to the 13th district of the class. For more reasons than its different organizational structures, the Star Class is a very particular one. Tradition and modern times go hand in hand in this fleet which has over the years attracted nearly all of the big names in sailing with US legend Dennis Connor, and it runs through to the three-time America’s Cup winner Russel Coutts from New Zealand, and also encompasses the Rolex ISAF World Sailor of the years 2002 and 2004, Robert Scheidt from Brazil, who is one of the top favourites for Olympic Gold in Qingdao, China 2008.
Germany’s fleets, too, have procured World and European Star Class Champions. The German helmsman of this year’s Olympic crew, Marc Pickel of Kieler Yacht-Club even builds his own tailor-made Star boats in his own Kiel based boatyard. “Being polite hosts, we think that hospitality should come before winning the title ourselves,” says Thomsen with a smile on his face. In any case, he expects thrilling races and great sailing off Kiel. The detailed race programme will be published by the end of the year, after the international racing rules and the new class formats are fixed.
Information on the Star Class:
The two-hand keelboat was designed in 1911 by the Americans Wilhelm Gardner and Francis Sweisguth. The first boats were rigged with a steep gaff parallel to the mast. The international class association is the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association (ISCYRA). The Star boat is the longest-standing Olympic class (since 1932). More than 8,370 boats have been built of which around 2,000 are actively sailed. Worldwide, the class is divided into 21 districts, which are subdivided into fleets. There are 20 fleets in Germany, with 150 helmsman registered in the national ranking list so far.
Length-over-all: 6.922 m
Length at waterline: 4.72 m
Displacement: 671 kg
Draft: 1.02 m
Sail area: 27.92 m²
Mainsail: 20.5 m²
Mast length: 10.0 m
The Rolex Baltic Week is the only regatta event in Germany that is sponsored by Rolex. The international Rolex regattas this year feature profiled events like the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup in September in Porto Cervo, Italy, the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta at the end of October and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starting on Boxing Day in Australia.
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