From Friday 10 September, six of the Olympic classes will be racing at Kieler Woche in Germany – the 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, Laser, Radial and Finn.
This will include a number of competitors from British Olympic Team GB.
The 255 Olympic class dinghies are only a part of the 700+ dinghies that are taking part in the annual regatta, and due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the layout of the Olympic Center has been arranged to reduce intermingling between competitors, coaches and management.
If there is a case of infection, the measures being taken should make it possible to isolate the person/persons without the entire event collapsing.
But how are the Kiel Week organisers coping with hundreds of competitors in a confined area over a two week period, with the Covid-19 pandemic still very prevalent ?
Apart from the mandatory Face masks on the event area, all entrants to the area are issued with Corona Warning Bracelets with the Corona-Warnapp to automatically detect possible infected encounters.
In addition every competitor undergoes a a staged Covid-19 testing programme.
The initial testing is at the entrance to the regatta centre where everyone has to pass a temperature test. If this is OK, access is granted.
If the device detects a high temperature the next step of the screening process begins. First of all, a questionnaire clarifies the state of health, risk contacts, etc.
Then the patient is taken to the test centre for a voluntary Rapid Test fever measurement technique, able to detect a disease with Covid-19 within a few seconds.
With this new Rapid Test, many people can be tested in a very short time and a PCR test** carried out if anything abnormal is detected.
For the Rapid Test a swab is taken from the mouth – not from the throat, and evaluated using a spectral analysis.
They saliva sample is clamped into a device and X-rayed. A high-purity diamond splits the light into a spectrum in which each chemical element leaves behind certain traces. The resulting curve is then examined by an algorithm on the computer.
If there are no abnormalities detected then they can continue into the event area.
If the Rapid Test detects an abnormality samples are taken for a PCR test and sent to the laboratory. Overnight there is then a result, which is received by the hygiene officer of the Kiel YC.
So far, the handful of PCR tests have been negative. Also all of the approximately 300 spectral analyses did not yield a positive result.
Interestingly the Rapid Test at Keil Week is organised by Professor Maneesh Singh from England, together with Prof. Dr. Dr. Patrick Warnke, a physician from Flensburg.
The method has not yet been approved, so the procedure in Schilksee is a demonstration on a voluntary basis, but it will soon be released in several countries, including Germany.
Professor Singh commented, “So far we have had four participants who have attracted attention due to an increased temperature. Our test was negative, but to be on the safe side we ordered a PCR test. The result was reported the next morning: also negative”.
** polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test
Some Team GB selected competitors are entered in the Olympic events:
49er (61 entries) – No GBR but three Irish teams.
49er FX (61 entries) – GBR entry Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey
Finn (25 entries) – No GBR, one Irish entry.
Nacra 17 (28 entries) – GBR entry John Gimson and Anna Burnet
Laser Std (110 entries) – GBR entry includes Elliot Hanson, and seven other Brits
Radial Women (60 entries) – GBR entry includes Alison Young and four other Brits.