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
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."
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