The festivities began Friday night with an erg sprint. The winner of the erg sprint had the opportunity to select their lane for Sunday’s long distance canal race. On Saturday, the teams got to test the water with a 300-metre sprint event.

The main event, the long distance race, took place on Sunday afternoon. The race started in Kiel Canal in Breiholz and ended 12.7 kilometres later in the Rendsburger Kreishafen.

This year’s contestants were Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the United States. The German men’s eight kept their winning line-up from the World Rowing Championships. The Germans are not only defending World Champions, they have also won the Netz Cup 13 times, including the last two years. 

The United States, who finished fourth at the World Rowing Championships, travelled to Germany directly from the Championships retaining their same line-up. The Dutch and the British had small changes to their respective line-ups.

2018 S H Netz Cup start line, Germany © Detlev Seyb /

It was the Netherlands who took an early lead in Sunday’s race. However, at the 2km mark, the Dutch had spent their energy and the Germans edged into the lead. For the next 6km, the British and the Germans went stroke for stroke. It cost them hard.

Eight kilometres in, the Americans made their move. American coxswain, Julian Venonsky cleverly steered the crew through the German and British wake. Exhausted from their own battle, the two leaders had no response. With a final push, the USA moved into the lead and kept moving away. They won with a comfortable lead.

After the race, German coach Uwe Bender said, “We had a strong headwind at the start, then came the duel with Great Britain. The Americans were able to use that to their advantage. When they moved past the British, they flew. We could not keep up.”

The crews were cheered on by thousands of spectators and others who participated in the many activities offered during the weekend.  The activities began with the Sparkassen Canal Triathlon and continued with Dragon boat races, ergometer races and VIP gig boat races. 

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