From Gunter Tzeschlock. After 6 races on course “Bravo” at Kiel bay the Finnish Team “SUUNTO – FIN 236” skippered by Kenneth Thelen are the winners of the German Open 2003.

17 boats checked in and for the first time we could welcome a Melges24 team of Ukraine on German Waters. Special thanks to the Finnish fleet which showed 4 boats on the starting line.

The races started on Sunday 22. June 2003 as the race committee decided not to sail on Saturday due to heavy winds with wind speed of 35+ Knots. On Sunday and Monday 4 races could be sailed in moderate winds up to 15 knots. “Suunto” and “Vito” were fighting for the top results and Kenneth Thelen took the lead after 4 races.

On Monday evening the Kiel area was hit by a massive thunderstorm with wind-speeds up to 75 Knots – this storm caused massive damages in the whole area. The Melges24 fleet was already moored in the harbour and everything went well.

As an effect of this thunderstorm wind picked up again and on Tuesday morning the weather briefing reported about a wind warning with wind speeds up to 35 knots – so a part of the fleet decided not to race (5 boats). The boats left on the race course had to wait 90 minutes until race No. 5 could be started as the race committee was not able to fix the weather marks. Some crews decided not to wait so long and returned to the harbour.

Race No. 5 and 6 were won by “Suunto” and a new Finnish Team “Sea Wind – FIN 262” skippered by 24 year old Joonas Päivärinta. But also GER 537 skippered by Dietrich Scheder showed good performance with two 3rd places.

The TOP 3 boats after 6 races with one discard were:

1 FIN 236 SUUNTO Kenneth Thelen 6,0 points

2 GER 537 Dietrich Scheder 14,0 points

3 FIN 262 SEA WIND Joonas Päivärinta 19,0 points

The German fleet and their guests were not really happy with the event out of several reasons:

- The no. of entries was quite small (17 boats), the acceptance of this race within the European scene was a shame.

- The races which were cancelled on Saturday were not sailed on Sunday and Monday, instead the boats had to sail back to the harbour on 15:00 o’clock on these days.

- The combination of H-Boats and Melges24 on the same course did not work as the performance of the boats are to different.

- The organisers did nothing to support this event (weight-controls, welcome-evening …) – but this may have been caused by the size of the fleet.

As a result of this the German Class will work on a new concept for the German Open 2004 which will be presented until September this year.