Light air yields one race and 5 leaders at ORC Worlds

 

4 August 2014

   
 

A dominant high pressure center in northern Germany today challenged sailors and race managers alike in the first day of racing at the 2014 ORC World Championship, but there is one race on the scoreboard and five early leaders in the competition. The northerly breezes never topped 8 knots and dropped at times below five before shutting down completely and preventing further racing today.

In Class A, the slower boats benefited from a lull in the 7.2-mile race, and were able to gain back on the larger fast boats who initially held the lead. Thus Claus Landmark's Landmark 43 Santa from Norway won the first race by over 2.5 minutes over Morten Ulrikkeholm's Oxygen from Denmark. Perhaps ironically, it was Landmark that raced this Farr 400 as Santa in the 2012-13 season, but has switched back now to his larger racer/cruiser. The three TP 52's were deep in the standings in this race, with two-time ORC World Champion Alberto Rossi on his Enfant Terrible from Italy managing only 8th in corrected time, and the race's elapsed time winner, Ole Martin Vordahl's Cookson 50 Camilla from Norway, only 10th.

In Class B, the fleet was quite aggressive, and race manager Stefan Kunstmann allowed two general recalls for each of the two 29-boat groups racing in this class before hoisting the Black Flag to control the crowd. Once off and running on their 7.5-mile windward-leeward course, Per Weiskvist's Ker 11.3 Visione 3.1 from Denmark found the correct path through the shifts and lulls to correct to first by over two minutes in the Yellow group, while in the Blue group it was a young team on the German Farr 30 H.E.A.T driven by Max Augustin who won by a similar margin.

Augustin's success in this race came in large part from having a perfect start at the signal boat end of the line, where the nimble Farr 30 managed to swoop in to an available space where their larger rivals could not go, especially with the Black Flag flying. This gave them a front row advantage to work the shifts and vault themselves into corrected time victory.

The two-time ORC European Championship team on Giuseppe Giuffre's modified M37 Low Noise from Italy showed their winning form today in the Class C Yellow fleet, winning the 5.9-mile windward-leeward course by an impressive three minutes in one hour 23 minutes of sailing. Yet the margin of victory in the Blue group of Class C was even more impressive: Patrik Forsgren's modified Beneteau First 36.7 Team Pro4U from Sweden defeated their closest rival by 1 second shy of 4 minutes.

"We knew the wind was very shifty today, and so tried to focus on speed rather than committing to a side of the course or fighting for a side of the line at the start," said Duccio Columbi, helmsman of Low Noise. "And we knew our strength is in upwind rather than downwind speed, so we used our light jib for the first upwind leg, but then changed to the Super-light jib on the second beat, and this made a big difference for us...we were always fast on these legs."

Patrik Forsgren, helmsman on Pro4U, commented that the racing was close despite the great diversity of boat types in Class C. "It was a very close race, many yachts with different design had done a good job," he said. "We got on the right side on the first leg the, and then were second to Mark 1.

We had a good downwind leg and were first at the finish. Then we calculated the times and hoped we were correct, so now we are happy. After a Bronze medal for the [ORC] Europeans in 2013 and at the [ORC] Worlds in 2012, we want to get back on the podium...but a different color of medal would be great!

Racing resumes tomorrow for all classes with the first offshore race, a 62-mile course that given another light wind forecast will keep the teams out on their tour of the Kieler Bucht for 8-10 hours. This course is designed to replicate the variety of wind angles found in the Offshore Single Number handicap used for this race, but if the wind dies out the Race Committee has the option of shortening the course at several rounding marks in this race. The Warning signal for Class A is scheduled for 8:55 AM local time, followed by the Yellow and Blue groups in Classes B and C.

Photos: Pavel Nesvadba, Segler-bilder.de/KYC
 

   
 

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