An impressive fleet of 60 boats from 8 countries have converged on the picturesque island of Sandhamn in Sweden’s outer Baltic Archipelago for the start of this week’s Avantime ORCi European Offshore Championship, hosted by the Royal Swedish YC (KSSS). Racing will start tomorrow, Monday August 5th and continue through Saturday, August 10th.
" We are extremely pleased with this strong turnout for the event,” said Eva Holmsten of KSSS. -" We have benefited from a successful ORC World Championship in Helsinki last year and a popular AF Offshore Race last month to have so many teams want to come here to race this week. We even accepted a last-minute entry today from a Latvian team who were keen to do the event but could not commit early, yet still pushed hard to get here. We hope everyone has a great week here in Sandhamn.”
The gorgeous sunny summer weather being enjoyed in northern Europe is forecast to continue, with the start of racing on Monday at 1300 local time predicted to be in a perfect 10-15 knot southwest seabreeze. Principal Race Officer Eckard Reinke and his race management team will start the event off with two windward-leeward races, with the intended format being a total of seven inshore and two offshore races through the week.
In an innovative departure from the usual two-class structure of ORC championships, KSSS has divided this fleet into three classes in order to provide closer racing on the water.
Class 1 will have the fastest 11 boats in the fleet from 4 countries that rate 550 sec/mi GPH or faster, while Class 2 has 20 boats from 6 countries that rate between 550 and 600 sec/mi GPH and Class 3 has the remaining 29 boats from 6 countries the rate between 600 and 655 sec/mi GPH. All classes will race in the same course area with sequential starts, but Class 1 and Class 2 may have an additional leg to the standard 2-lap windward-leeward course.
“This will be a tough week,” said Mihkel Kosk, Estonian owner/helmsman of the NM 38 Sugar 2, sistership to Scugnizza, the Class B winner of the ORC World Championship last month. “We have been working with [NM38 designer] Maurizio Cossutti to match the set-up on Scugnizza, but we think this will be a tough fight with several other boats in this class. In particular, we think Feelgood, Katarina II, Lenco, Quattro, Reval Café, and Team Arken Zoo will all be strong and put up a good fight.”
Kosk was also on the stage at the Opening Ceremony with Juri Sober, Commodore of the Parnu Yacht Club, to help promote the proposal of Parnu’s to host the 2015 European Championship. Formal acceptance of the proposal will await the next ORC Annual General Meeting in November.
“This will be an interesting week,” said Thomas Nilsson, Norwegian skipper of the TP 52 Trucknor Wolf. “The other 52 (Blixt Pro Sailing) has got newer sails than they had in Helsinki at the Worlds last year, so they could be tough. And Camilla (a Cookson 50, with a canting keel) has a lot of sail area with their modified rig set up, so in light air they could very fast. Our team is strong, and I’m confident we can do well, but it won’t be an easy fight.”
For more information, daily photos, results, videos will be available on the event website accessible from www.ksss.se