Back at the place of record: ORC World Championship 2023 in Kiel
It was the biggest ORC World Championship ever. 151 offshore yachts from 15 nations competed in the 2014 World Championship in Kiel. This mark is unrivaled, and the offshore sailing world is still raving about it today. Now the ORC World Championship is coming to the Schleswig-Holstein state capital for the second time in 2023. From August 4 to 12, the Kieler Yacht-Club as organizer wants to get as close as possible to its own record.
With the expertise of two Olympic sailing competitors, over 130 years of Kiel Week and numerous World and European Championships, Kiel rolled down open doors at the Offshore Racing Congress. “Of course it’s a big challenge, and we were truly able to set standards in 2014 as well. We would like to follow on from that.” said Eckart Reinke, Head of Offshore of Kiel Week and in 2014 one of three race officers at the World Championships in Kiel, along with Stefan Kunstmann and Fabian Bach. After the event, participants and officials raved at the time. “That was really one of the most atmospheric award ceremonies I have ever experienced. The fact that the sailors celebrated the helpers in such a way shows how pleased they were with this World Championship,” summed up then ORC Vice President Wolfgang Schäfer (Lüneburg). The participants had applauded the 120 staff team and volunteers with a long standing ovation. “We couldn’t be prouder. The next venues will have to face the challenge of maintaining the standards that have been set here,” added Paolo Massarini (Italy), at that time chairman of the ORC Event Committee.
And Kiel now wants to take on this challenge itself in 2023. One of the driving forces behind this is Eckart Reinke, who has been chairman of the Offfshore committee of the German Sailing Association since August and is regarded as an absolute offshore expert. The internationally renowned Race Officer has already been involved in four World Championships (2005, 2009, 2014 and 2021). He has also been involved in five European Championships, the America’s Cup, the Nord Stream Race, in the Farr40 Circuit and race management assignments throughout Europe.
Now a second top-class ORC World Championship on his homeground is the big goal for the 56-year-old “Kiel has a good reputation thanks to Kiel Week, and the 2014 World Championship showed what is possible in Kiel. Even today, the ORC community is raving about the Kiel World Championship, a top-class World Championship,” says Reinke.
Incidentally, the Kiel team maintains excellent contacts with the Offshore Racing Congress, where Reinke’s mentor Eckhard von der Mosel is vice president. The 66-year-old from Kiel was himself the head of organization for the Kiel Worlds in 2014, and he will also take on this task in 2023. Reinke, meanwhile, wants to concentrate on race management.
Following the cancellation of the 2020 World Championships in the US, the Worlds will be held annually between the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. The World Championship in Tallinn (Estonia) this year will be followed in 2022 by the World Championship at the Italian club Costa Smeralda (Sardinia). For 2023, the World Championship has now been awarded to Kiel. The confirmation had already been in the tray for 14 days, now it was just a matter of fixing the date, said Reinke, who had submitted the application documents together with Kieler Yacht-Club Chairman Dr. Carsten Krage. The verbal promise from ORC President Bruno Finzi (Italy) came immediately after the decision of the Offshore Racing Congress.
ORC Vice President von der Mosel now hopes that the World Championship in his own country will also provide impetus for the German ORC fleet. “I assume that the ORC stagnation in Germany will be overcome then and that the offshore scene will be revived,” he says. With the European Championships next year in Norway and the World Championships a year later in Kiel, the bigboat scene in the north will be offered two real highlights. And perhaps the Kiel Week 2023 could also benefit from this, if the world championship participants already want to train on the world championship waters.
The infrastructure in the Olympic Sailing Center Kiel-Schilksee with cranes, common berths and parking spaces for the trailers, the regatta house with rooms for jury, race committee and organization, sailing in front of the spectators, a modern media center and areas for large event village are powerful arguments for the state capital of Kiel.
And comprehensive media relations are also guaranteed: The offer ranges from press releases to social media such as Facebook and Instagram, the presentation of the World Championship on the official ORC World Championship website to the photo and TV feed.
Framed by an opening ceremony and the award ceremony, two days of registration and measurement as well as seven regatta days are planned. The realistic goal is to reach the same number of participants as this year in Estonia, according to Kiel. Before Tallinn 104 yachts from 13 nations went to the start. Among them there were only nine starters from Germany, but they returned with three medals (gold, for “Halbtrocken 4.5”, silver for “Outsider” and bronze for “Sportsfreund”). In 2014, 70 German yachts were at the start. The host country Estonia provided 35 participants this year.
Text: Hermann Hell