Kiel ORC World Championship: Highest quality and great quantity
The ORC World Championships in Kiel (August 4-12, 2023) will combine the highest level of racing with what promises to be a record-breaking number of participants. Already less than 18 weeks before the start, 101 yachts are registered in Class A (13 entries), Class B (26 entries) and Class C (62 entries).
With the recent entry of the German TP 52 “Outsider” (Hansen/Teichmann/Kieler Yacht-Club), all nine medal winners from the 2021 ORC World Championship in Tallinn/Estonia are now also going to be at the start in Kiel. They are joined by two reigning ORC World champions, the Grand Soleil 44P “Essentia 44” (Catalin Trandafir/Romania) in Class B and the Italia 11.98 “Sugar 3” (Ott Kikkas/Estonia) in Class C. The Swan 42 “Katarina II” (Aivar Tuulberg/Estonia), bronze medal winner at the 2022 ORC World Championship in Porto Cervo (Italy), completes the field of top teams. All together they belong to a circle of favorites, with the “Outsider” team in particular wanting more than a triple repeat of their recent silver medal performances after earning second place in the 2018 ORC World Championship in The Hague (Netherlands) and again in 2021 before the Worlds in Tallinn (Estonia).
“We are delighted that so many top yachts are competing, and that so many ORC yachts have entered so quickly,” said event chairman Eckhardt von der Mosel, who was already in charge of the Kiel ORC World Championship in 2014 that had a strong record turnout.
“Our goal is definitely not to be called a perpetual second place finisher,” says Bo Teichmann. The 39-year-old project manager has been sailing with “Outsider” owner Tilmar Hansen (KYC) for 23 years. After two ORC World Championship Silver medals in 2018 behind Karl Kwok (Hong Kong) with his TP 52 “Beau Geste” and in 2021 behind Michael Berghorn and his team on the Mills 45 “Halbtrocken 4.5”, the silver triple is to be prevented.
Five professional sailors are getting on board for this event, led by Markus Wieser (VSaW and Bavarian YC). Born in Bavaria, he has collected titles in many classes and is considered one of the most successful and versatile tacticians in several classes: the Vaurien, the Tempest (reigning World Champion in 2022 off Kiel), the Flying Dutchman (multiple Olympic campaigns), three European Championship titles with the Asso 99 class, World Championship titles in the 5.5, 6mR, Dragon and Swan 50 classes as well as two TP 52 World Championship silver medals are to his credit.
Wieser has good memories of Kiel, not least because of the Tempest World Championship he won last year. “I always look forward to Kiel-Schilksee,” says the sailing whiz who has won Kiel Week three times in the Dragon and twice in the FD.
For the ORC World Championship, the 60-year-old father of four will be sailing with four other professionals, including Michi Müller. The Kiel native sailed in the 2014 Kiel ORC World Championship together with Wieser on the TP 52 “Platoon” (Harm Müller-Spreer/Hamburg) and, prior to The Ocean Race currently underway, was the last German to take part in the tenth and eleventh editions of the Volvo Ocean Race as a grinder aboard “Puma”. In addition to Müller, the Wieser crew includes Gert Habermüller, Victor Marino and Peter van Niekerk.
Nor does the term amateur do justice to “Outsider” boat captain Holger Lenning (Ready4Race), who specializes in optimizing racing yachts and is currently on assignment in New Zealand for the Swiss Sail GP team, and North Sails Germany boss Stefan Matschuck.
But the German competition is also continuing to upgrade: Jes Gram Hansen from Denmark is a regular crew member on “Halbtocken 4.5”, and is joined on board by Frans Hinelaaar (Netherlands). The match race specialist is also no stranger to Superyachts in the J-Class.
“We already have big goals, but we also know that with the quality at the start, one wrong maneuver can make the difference. The three medal winners from 2021 are at the start, plus the reigning World Champion from Romania and the bronze medal winner from 2022 from Estonia,” said Berghorn, who knows about the high quality of the competition.
The “Outsiders” at the 2021 World Championships also felt how close things are at the top. “Leading before the last race, we threw the gennaker into the water at the leeward buoy and lost the title,” says Teichmann, who regrets that until a major competitor is still missing: Karl Kwok with his “Beau Geste”.
Preparation plans for the championship are very different. While Berghorn completes the full preparation program from the Maior to Kieler Woche until the World Championship, the “Outsider” team will concentrate on a training weekend in advance. For both the World Championship, will be the conclusion of a very focused season.
For the 2021 Bronze medalists in Class C, the boat and crew will perform separately. The X-41 “sportsfreund” is sailing for Denmark now that Axel Seehafer has sold his boat to Erik Stannow. The former German “sportsfreund” crew, centered around the Nickel brothers Gordon and Morten, announced at boot Düsseldorf they will race with another boat that has not yet been entered.
All-female crews are unusual in offshore sailing, but these projects are always in progress in Germany. “Rodeo” (1985 to 1990) kicked things off, followed by the DK 46 “Tutima” (2009 to 2020), which returns to the ORC Worlds this year after a three-year break, and “Akka” (2016/2017).
And for the past two years, there has been another women’s offshore sailing project in Germany: a group of young female sailors founded the Network of Women Offshore Sailors in 2021 and has also been sailing ORC on “RubiX” in cooperation with the Hamburg Sailing Club since 2022. The network comprises around 30 active female sailors. “Our concept is based on the fact that, with the help of a regular crew and our female skippers, we try to give young female sailors an opportunity to expand and build up their skills, with the long-term goal of increasing the proportion of women on the sea,” says Eshana Müller, project coordinator and one of four female skippers.
The ORC World Championship is the big highlight, she said, “Not only because it’s our first World Championship together, but also because it’s an important date for women in ORC sailing. After a relative lull in terms of women’s participation for the 2021 World Championships in Tallinn, at least three all-female teams will be competing this year. Besides the “Tutima” and us, the team “Rebella” from Norway will also join. We are really looking forward to finally getting to know each other live and to extend the network in the Baltic Sea,” says Müller.
Preliminary schedule of the Sailing World Championship off Kiel, August 4-12, 2023:
- Friday, August 4 to Saturday, August 5: Registration & Measurement.
- Sunday, August 6: Practice Race & Opening Ceremony
- Monday, August 7 to Friday, August 11: Races
- Saturday, August 12: Final Races & Award Ceremony
Text: Hermann Hell