Two weeks after they took home the world title at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, the German eight won the 12.7km long distance race on the Kiel Canal ahead of the the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

With seven out of eight from the World Champion crew on board, Germany made it a triple victory by also winning the Erg-Cup and Sprint-Cup – a first-time achievement at this event. It was the 17th edition of the iconic and annual invitational race, an approved FISA event, and the 13th time that the German eight won the long distance race, dubbed ‘the hardest rowing race in the world’. In front of a crowd of thousands of spectators, who celebrated the competing crews like rock stars on a sunny autumn day, it was a perfect end to the season.

“That was an extremely hard race. My muscles were unbelievably burning already after 2000m,” said Rendsburg first-timer Torben Johannsen. Jakob Schneider was also doing the race for the first time; “Maybe that wasn’t my hardest race, but definitely the meanest. The pain, which already started after 1000m, was just nasty. And after nine kilometres you really question why you are doing it.”

Germany, who had the first choice of lane after winning the erg and sprint race, chose lane one and moved in front right after the start. The German crew built their lead to half a length quickly with the United States following in second. Great Britain, who has won this event twice in the past, followed in third place and the Netherlands in fourth.At the first bend and having the advantage of the inner lane, Germany increased their lead, but the US stuck with them. Great Britain and the Netherlands were not able to follow the high speed and dropped to the back of the field.

2017 Schleswig-Holstein Netz Cup, Rendsburg, Germany © Maren Derlien /


The Americans, the 2017 World Rowing Championship silver medallists, who came to Rendsburg with three changes from their championship crew, did not make it easy for Germany and kept attacking. It took over five kilometres for the German crew to build a lead of one length and for more than 30 minutes the distance between the two boats was not more than one to one and half boat lengths, making it one of the tightest and toughest Netz-Cup races so far.

Germany crossed the finish line in 36:58 min with the USA nine seconds behind. Great Britain was third with the Netherlands fourth.

“Hats off to the Americans. We had to give it our all and they just wouldn’t let go. It was the hardest thing that the USA stayed with us for such a long time,” German stroke Felix Wimberger commented after the race.

“Our tactics worked though. We were able to use the advantage of the inner bend and then we were able to control the race from the front,” said Wimberger. “This type of race isn’t fun, but after crossing the finish line and everything else around was an amazing atmosphere.”

“We wanted to spoil their fun and tried everything, but it wasn’t enough,” said American rower Dariush Aghai.

“It was impressive how tough and tenacious they (USA) were and they never gave up,” said German rower Richard Schmidt who has competed in Rendsburg ten times. “That was a hard race and I don’t really know why I keep doing it, but it’s a great atmosphere and a one-of-a-kind event.”

In its 17th year and now called ‘the watersport spectacle with tradition,’ the event was broadcast live by German television ARD and attracted tens of thousands of spectators. Music acts as well as a corporate and school sprint cup, dragon boat racing, a duathlon and a variety of sport and family entertainment attractions complemented the elite rowing events.

Re-watch the race here

1. GER (36:58 min)
2. USA (37:07 min)
3. GBR (37:55 min)
4. NED (38:50 min)

Sprint 400m
1. GER (1:03.2)
2. GBR (1:04.21)
3. USA (1:04.60) 
4. NED

Ergo-Cup 500m
1. GER (1:20.30)
2. GBR (1:20.8)
3. NED (1:22.1)
4. USA (1:22.6)

1: Johannes Weissenfeld, 2: Torben Johannesen, 3: Maximilian Planer, 4: Laurits Follert, 5: Jakob Schneider, 6: Malte Jakschik, 7: Richard Schmidt, 8: Felix Wimberger, coxswain Martin Sauer, coach Uwe Bender

United States
1: Robert Moffitt 2: Michael Colella 3: Michael Clougher 4: Dariush Aghai 5: Jordan Vanderstoep 6: Andrew Reed 7: Nick Mead 8: Tom Peszek, coxswain: Julian Venonsky, coach Bryan Volpenhein

The Netherlands
1: Harold Langen 2: Niki van Sprang 3: Ruben Knab 4: Roel Braas 5: Bo Wullings 6: Vincent van de Want 7: Govert Viergever 8: Bjorn van de Ende, coxswain: Diederik van Engelenburg. coach Mark Emke

Great Britain
1: Tim Clarke 2: Lance Tredell 3: Jacob Dawson 4: Adam Neill 5: Matthew Tarrant 6: Alain Sinclair 7: James Rudkin 8: Matthew Rossiter, coxswain: Henry Fieldman, coaches Jürgen Grobler, Christian Felkel