Kiel.Sailing.City is back on the top stage of international sailing with the return of The Ocean Race after a 21 year absence.
The Ocean Race was last in Kiel in June 2002 for the legendary finish of the winning Illbruck team in Kiel's inner fjord.
This week, The Ocean Race confirmed the Kiel Fly-By for 9 June 2023, as the fleet races between Aarhus, Denmark and The Hague in The Netherlands.
The Lord Mayor of Kiel, Dr. Ulf Kämpfer said: "We have never lost contact with the organisers of the Race since the great final in Kiel in 2002. Now we are again part of this special international regatta with stops on four continents.
"I am happy that the stage goes from Aarhus directly to the Kiel Fly-By and that we can further enhance our twin city status with Aarhus through this as well. We will now try to build on our various points of connection through The Ocean Race."
Uwe Wanger, Managing Director of Kiel-Marketing knows about the enthusiasm for top-class sailing events in the city and the impact of the Ocean Race: "Our mission is, among other things, to charge the Kiel.Sailing.City brand with sport and to offer 'sailing to touch'. We couldn't present our location as the Capital of Sailing in a better way. With a turning mark of the race course right in the heart of the city, we offer the top teams of the sailing world a unique exprience. Thousands of spectators on land will experience the race nearly close enough to touch, right at the edge of the water and the city."
Two German teams have their sights set on The Ocean Race: Offshore Team Germany and Team Malizia.
"Seeing Germany back on the map of The Ocean Race fills us with great pride. Sailing through the narrowness of Friedrichsort into the Kiel Fjord and presenting international offshore sailing in this setting is another great motivation for us as a German team to finally be back at The Ocean Race," said Offshore Team Germany team manager Jens Kuphal.
For Team Malizia skipper Boris Herrmann, The Ocean Race has had an appeal since he first watched the winning illbruck campaign race across the finish line in 2002.
“I remember witnessing the German Illbruck Team winning the Volvo Ocean Race 2001 in Kiel and dreaming of competing in this prestigious event one day myself! Now we have that chance to race around the world as a team," Herrmann said earlier this year as he announced his racing programme for the next four years. "We will use it as a chance to test and develop the boat for the Vendée Globe 2024, to inspire children, collect valuable ocean-data and promote ambitious climate action.”
“Bringing The Ocean Race back to Kiel with this exciting Fly-By is a reflection of the strong interest in the Race from Germany,” said Richard Brisius, the Race Chairman of The Ocean Race. “I remember well the amazing finish with the illbruck team in 2002 and all of the fans who came on the water and along the shoreline to welcome the overall race winners. We look forward to seeing similar enthusiasm from German fans for the Fly-By in the Kiel Fjord in June 2023.”