(PRWEB) June 7, 2005
The largest fleet – 43 boats – and number of nations – 13 – in the past eight years signalled the return of the Soling to its amateur roots and attested to its health in Europe, North America, and South America. The new amateur champions, Roman Koch / Maxl Koch / Gregor Bornemann from Germanys Chiemsee, who began racing in the class as a teenager 35 years ago, bested the two-time World Champion, Gustavo Warburg with Flaco Notebohmm and Eduardo Coulon, a developing champion from Slovenia, Bostjan Antoncic / Gennadi Strakh / Hemlek, and an experienced group of contenders from three continents. The top six were from six different countries – Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Argentina, Austria, and Brazil. In the top quarter of the fleet were three Germans, two Hungarians, two Austrians, two Argentinians, one Slovenian, one Brazilian, and one American. The racing was close – four different race winners Koch/Koch/Bornemann(Germany), Antoncic/Strakh/Hamlek(Slovenia), Gyenese/Gyula/Vezer (Hungary), and Warburg/Notebohmm/Coulon (Argentina) – a span of but 35 points between second and 13th – except at the very front where Koch/Koch/Bornemann dominated with two firsts, two seconds, and two thirds!
Race #1 – The first race, on Monday May 23rd, held in late afternoon in a dying southwesterly – and abandoned after two rounds – was notable for USA842 (Stu Walkers/Tom Price/John Standiford) port tack start across the fleet, ARG32′s (Warburg/Notebohmm/Coulon) seizure of the lead by a daring move to the left at the start of the second beat, and the disqualification of eight boats under the black flag rule! (No further use of the black flag – and no further recalls of any nature! – were employed, the committee apparently assuming that one warning was enough.)
Race #1 – (resailed) -Tuesday 18 kn. amalgamated sea breeze – 295-310 (320 near shore)- Course #1 – 16 mile triangle, windward, leeward, triangle –
The local Italians, GER300 (Koch/Koch/Bornemann), SLO1 (Antoncic/Strakh/Hamlek), and USA832 (Kamps/Kasniunas/Kamps) (seeking clear air while repairing a separated jib tack!) headed for the shore to the right – where the overland and overwater segments of the parallel-to-shore flow with water on its right diverged, accelerated, and veered. Those who first noted that the leaders were in a near-shore starboard tack lift were able to catch up but could never overcome their initial lead. GER300, revelling in the 18 knot winds and his early lead, won easily with SLO1 2nd, USA832 3rd, CAN848 (Allen/Anderson/Norris) 4th, ARG32 (Warburg/Notebohmm/Coulon) (from a long way back) 5th, local Italian ITA 243 (Carducci/Genna/Ferraro) 6th, Kochen/Bernd/Holl(Germany) 7th, and HUN77 Georg Wossala/Kovasci/Nemeth (Hungary) 8th.
Race #2 – Tuesday – 18-20 kn. amalgamated sea breeze – 295-310 (320 near shore) – Course #2 (again)
Now that everyone knew that getting into the near-shore veer to the right was essential, the fleet started in a congealed mass at the starboard end allowing GER300, HUN1, GER 308 Haist/Pastrach/Oldbrich, and USA842 to cross them from the upwind, port end, and lead into the shore and around the weather mark. HUN1 and GER 300 pulled away together, but HUN1 beat GER300 down the reaches and held on to win with GER 308 3rd, (and when USA842 jib tack blew out) SLO1 4th, ARG34 Busch/Noceti/Feldtmann 5th, AUT117 Auteried/Moser/Kendler 6th, ARG 32 7th, and GER 304 Maschkiwitz/Oheler/Sauerbier, 8th.
Race #3 – Wednesday – 14 kn. dying, offshore, oscillating northeasterly – 40-60
After port end starts, USA842 and GER300 fought their way up the first leg with GER300 moving ahead as they approached the mark and USA842 being passed by BRA68 Cunha/Falcao/Goretkin and GER318 Schuckmann/Marquadt/Hanke as they rounded. The northeasterly died on the second run and the sea breeze could be seen encroaching from the right. Those like GER300 and SLO1, who were leading, sailed through the convergence with ease, but most of those astern were trapped for varying lengths of time in the zone of stagnant air between the two winds as the advancing sea breeze front, unable to cross the shore ahead, stalled. Those who attempted to go high towards the sea breeze in the old wind, like USA807 Hoeksema/Collins/Hoeksema and ARG 34 Busch/Noceti/Feldtmann, lost 10 or more boats, while others like USA842 Walker/Price/Standiford and GER267 Kochen/Bernd/Holl, who held low, below the worst of the convergence, gained an equal number. SLO1 won in the now well-developed sea breeze, but GER300 garnered another second. GER304 was 3rd, HUN1 Hansgrohe-AIG-VIP team 4th, NED 25 Offermans/Zijilstra/Dusee 5th, and HUN77 T Mobile team Wossala/Kovasci/Vezer 6th.
Race #4- Wednesday – 10-12 knot secondary sea breeze – 275-285
Although the sea breeze crossed the shoreline and spread across the course, it never veered beyond 285 and never increased in velocity beyond 12 knots. The windward mark was at least a mile offshore so that until the final beat the along-shore divergence veer never reached out to the starboard layline. There was in fact a net back and a net increase in velocity along the port layline that brought GER300, NOR133 Usturud/Ottestad/Goldeng BI School team, AUT117, ARG34, and ARG32 Renault team into the weather mark ahead of the early leaders, HUN1 and USA 842. GER300 had his second victory and with a score of 1-2-2-1 was now nearly impossible to catch. Norwegian, NOR133, held his second position, HUN1 fought his way up to 3rd, AUT117 was 4th, CAN848, 5th, ARG34 6th, and ARG32 7th.
Race #5 – Thursday – 8-12 kn. oscillating northeasterly – 40-60
The wind was again offshore, USA842 was again off from the port end in the lead, found the weather mark free of traffic, and led SLO1 down the run. But on the second beat the group of boats that followed SLO1 to the left AUT 124 Franz team Schneeberger/Moser/Panek, GER300, and BRA68 – passed USA842 (who had taken the long tack to the right). On the final beat ARG34 moved into 5th and at the finish it was SLO1 (his second win), BRA68, GER300, AUT124, ARG34, USA842, and NED38 Bram Soethoudt/Figaroa/Verjeit in 7th, just ahead of the invading sea breeze.
Race #6 – Thursday – 10-12 knot secondary sea breeze – 275-285
Although the race committee waited until the sea breeze had spread across the beach and across the course before starting Race #6, the wind was full of holes, lumps, and 5-10 degree oscillations. Once again (as it had in the secondary sea breeze of the previous day) it paid to go left on the first beat and those that did rounded the weather mark in a back and an increase in velocity. ARG32 Ranault team found the speed and demonstrated the promise he had shown in the practice race, and led AUT117 around the weather mark and pulled steadily away. The first victory of the two-time World Champion (01 and 04) moved him into 4th place (where he had finished in a chartered boat in Marblehead in 02) with 29 pts. ahead of AUT117 whose second place had moved him into series 5th with 32 points, four ahead of BRA68, who finished 9th and took series 6th. But neither could catch HUN1 Hansgrohe-AIG-VIP team, who finished 6th and held series 3rd nor SLO1 who, with 19 points, 8 ahead of Gyenese and 10 ahead of Warburg, was second and virtually uncatchable. Roman Koch/Maxl Koch/Gregor Bornemann the big guys had his worst race, a third!, sealed his series victory and World Championship, and had no need to sail on the final day.
Race #7 – Friday – abandoned – 3-5 knot fluky sea breeze – 250-270
The final day dawned calm and only a light, shifty sea breeze appeared by noon. The fleet limped out for a 1:30PM start and waited for two hours in the patchy, shifting flow and a 3/4 kn. adverse current. The race committee, wisely recognizing that it was highly unlikely that any boat would reach the 1.5 mile distant weather mark in the 50 minute time limit and that the shifts made it impossible for them to set a fair course, abandoned the race at 3:30PM and sent us in to haul out and pack up. The previous days standings would decide the outcome, we had a complete series, and a champion who could not be beaten.
The top boats were typically about ten years old (but many were nearer twenty) using Curtis jibs and a variety of mains and spinnakers. Most were Borressens, but many were Abbotts. In the top half of the fleet were four Germans (placing from first to 19th), one Slovenian (2nd), two Hungarians (3rd and 10th), two Argentinians (4th and 8th), one Brazilian (6th), three Austrians (placing from 5th to 14th), three Americans (placing from 11th to 23rd), two Dutchman (13th and 20th), four Italians (placing from 15th to 24th), one Norwegian (17th), and one Canadian (18th).
These were all amateurs – the last pro, Sergei Pichugin, won the 2003 Worlds at Lake Balaton – and it is reassuring to see (now that the pros are gone) how many more boats are willing to attend a World Championship. Everyone enjoyed themselves, there were no protests and no requests for redress. The competition was undoubtedly not as good as it once was – but the infighting was as close as ever – and the big Guys – sailing at his best with the stimulation and support of success in the first race and in subsequent races (Nothing succeeds like success!) – would in this instance have given any of them a run for their money.