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  • Writer's pictureJake Farren-Price

Kieler Woche 2020

Firstly, University is completed. I am officially free (unemployed)...

This year’s Kiel Week was a bit of a weird one. The festival was canceled due to COVID so it was purely just the racing with a limit on the entry list. With no food stalls in the marina, I really questioned the point in going out there. I really enjoyed the filthy Bratwurst (German hotdogs) which would fire me up right before a big day on the water - and then coming ashore and being revitalised by inhaling a kinder crepe.

But oh no, that was not to be this year, just the pure racing. One thing which was nice was having my Dad help out with this event. The driving, the catering, the support coach. Felt like being back in an Oppie (the boat I learnt in) when he would drive me up and down the UK to events over the weekend. The drive is a bit of a killer. We left at 3am in the UK and arrived in Kiel at 6pm. After unloading the boat, we treated ourselves to the most ridiculously huge and expensive steak in a seaside restaurant. I definitely got the calories needed for the first day of the event. I wouldn't normally turn up to an event the day before it starts, but this year no training prior to the event was allowed, so it made sense.

The first day brought some big breeze. My main goal for the week was to work on my starting as I knew I'd slightly struggle for speed being below weight. My hiking legs had also gone AWOL after focusing on Uni over the last few months. First day was a little rusty and I had one bad start out of the three. But on the second day, I managed to pull some of the right ropes and nail all the starts and even managed to get a 2nd round the windward mark. That felt pretty damn good!

Unfortunately, I didn't quite make the cut for Gold fleet, falling two places short. I was 42nd after day two which put me 2nd in Silver fleet. The week seemed to get windier and windier and by the 4th day, our final race had to be cancelled as we had about 4 million knots come through just before a scheduled start (too windy for racing). I finished the week 46th. Not too bad, but I know the areas where I was lacking, and I need time to get the weight back up as well. Being 6 kilos underweight might not seem like a lot, but without diving into the physics of Force = mass x acceleration, it feels like a load.

When returning to shore the organisers were very strict with wearing masks as soon as we entered the harbour. After a wet'n'wild day my mask was completely sodden and putting it on felt like I was being water-boarded. Which I felt was the only fair penance for such a shocker in the last race...

Once off the water it was time for a turbo pack up and I'm pretty glad the last race was canceled as by the time we got to the Tunnel we had about 20 minutes to spare before our crossing. We also had to be quite tactical with our pit-stops because due to the current rules, if we had had to stop in France or Belgium we would have had to quarantine for 2 weeks upon return to the UK. You'll be pleased to know we made it to the tunnel on one tank.

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