MELX III unstoppable – Stavros Papagiannopoulos wins the Robbe & Berking Sterling Cup 2023 with GRE 5
The Flensburg Fjord once again showed its best side and offered the sailors three sunny days with light winds up to 10 knots on Friday and in the peak up to 25 knots on Saturday and Sunday; overall demanding conditions. Besides nine 12mR and 10 Classic Dragons, eight 5.5mR were competing for the coveted Sterling Cup. Here the guys from GRE-5 / MELX III (Stavros Papagiannopoulos and his crew Kambouridis Panagiotis / Yannis Mitakis , who both saw a 5.5 from the inside for the first time), showed an outstanding performance. With 5 firsts in seven races they dominated the field and also the only other Modern GER 125 Ali Baba (Wölfi Richter / Max Müller / Beata Kallkowski ). Also competing were five Evolution (GER 37 Singora / Hans Köster; GER 30 Criollo / Felix Christiansen; GER 115 Salamander IV, Morton Raecke; GER 84 Ali Baba, Susanne Struth and GER 110 Pittwater, Kaspar Stubenrauch) and one Classic, SUI 20 Alzira.
Friday’s opener brought complex conditions with lighter unsteady north-easterly winds and an onrushing current, which posed challenges for the sailors. In the first of three races, Ali Baba GER 125 prevailed, finishing just ahead of MELX III. Best Evolution after a strong race was the ladies crew around Susi Struth from Essen on Ali Baba with a third place directly behind. For the young team from Hamburg around Morton Raecke it was only the second regatta in the 5.5, but they underpinned their claim to the top places with a 5th and two third places.
On day 2, a strong easterly wind had built up, with 20 to 25 knots at the top, putting the strength and endurance of the three fields to the test. For Criollo/Felix Christiansen, Julius Plass, Sebastian Irrgang the conditions proved to be optimal and the three Hamburgers could score with two 2nd places just ahead of GER 125. Besides the gusty wind conditions the especially upwind very fast 12mR were a real challenge.
Before the last day, GRE 5 was then in the lead after 5 races (2,1,1,1) followed by GER 125 (1,2,2,3,3) and GER 30 (6,6,6,2,2) in third place, tied on points with GER 37 (4,4,4,4). The decisive last day offered almost congruent conditions. The two moderns were able to handle them much better and sailed out a considerable lead over the Evos. Behind them an exciting fight for 3rd place developed between Singora and Criollo, who sailed their own race on this day. While the latter mostly won the upwinds narrow, Singora showed a breathtaking downwind speed and was able to finish half a boat length ahead of Criollo in the penultimate race and two lengths ahead of Criollo in the last race. Thus, Singora GER 37 prevailed in the end narrowly against Criollo GER 30 and won the Evolution Prize. Winner overall was Stavros Papagiannopoulos followed by Wölfi Richter.