2022 ORC World Champions defend their titles for 2023
Photo: Christian Beeck / ORC Worlds 2023
After two light and wet windward-leeward races held today, the final results after six days of inshore and offshore racing reveal that that last year’s boats and/or teams have defended their titles for the 2023 ORC World Championship.
Karl Kwok (HKG)’s TP 52 BEAU GESTE dominated the 15 entries in Class A all week, with wins earned in every race except for a 4th place in the non-discardable Offshore Race. The ORC Class A World Champion victory for this international team of 14 sailors from Australia, China, Great Britain, New Zealand and the USA was not as easy as it looked: winning margins against their rivals were as close as 13 seconds in corrected time.
Silver medal winners in this class are the team led by Tilmar Hansen on his TP 52 OUTSIDER (GER), with Bronze medals going to Carl-Peter Forster’s TP 52 RED BANDIT (GER). The Class A Corinthian Division winning team was Kirsten Harmstorf-Schonwitz’s DK 46 TUTIMA, the 9th-placed all-women’s team competing for over a decade throughout northern Europe and making their final competition as a team this week in Kiel.
“This was not an easy week at all,” said BEAU GESTE tactician Gavin Brady (USA). “Our competition was always tough and we had to have the hammer down all the time. It came down to us maybe having just a slight edge in our teamwork since competed in two other ORC championship regattas this year. We really enjoyed the diversity of conditions and courses in this event, and all that Kiel had to offer.”
In Class B the new Gold medalists similarly dominated their class of 29 entries, winning five of 10 races on a boat that also won the Class B title last year’s ORC Worlds in Porto Cervo. Marcin Sutkowski’s Grand Soleil 44P WINDWHISPER 44 (POL) has won the title of Class B ORC World Champions this year with a team of nine sailors from Poland, Portugal and Norway. The racing was also close in this class, with even the last race tied for second and third place between the Poles and Peter Buhl’s Swan 42 SIRENA (DEN), so they were each scored 2.5 points each.
“We are super happy now. I couldn’t sleep at all tonight, I was so nervous,” said Sutkowski. Overnight the team was disqualified for a starting line incident in Wednesday’s first windward-leeward race and needed to have good results to get rid of the 30 points this mistake cost them in a discard.
“Peter [Buhl, skipper of SIRENA] is an incredibly strong sailor and demanded everything from us. The wind was not good for us today because we have the heaviest boat in the fleet. We just tried not to take any risks in these tricky conditions. And then in the second race we were able to control the situation.”
Photo: Sascha Klahn / ORC Worlds 2023
In the final standings of Class B, SIRENA won Silver medals and Aivar Tuulberg’s Swan 42 KATARIINA II (EST) won Bronze, and in 7th place overall, Tiit Vihul’s X-41 OLYMPIC (EST) won the Class B Corinthian Division.
The final results among the 67 entries in Class C were not determined until today due to lead changes in the class throughout the week and discards applied after the first race today.
A measurement protest on Juss Ojala’s J-112E MATILDA 4 (EST) caused them to be rescored with a new and slightly faster rating, pushing them out of the lead as well and much closer in points to their nearest rivals.
Yet in the end the reigning champions prevailed: Ott Kikkas’s Italia 11.98 SUGAR 3 (EST) racing with a team of eight sailors from Estonia and Italy are the 2023 Class C World Champions, a title they also earned in 2019 and finished as runners-up in 2021.
“There are actually no secrets to success,” said SUGAR 3 helmsman Sandro Montefusco (ITA). “We started well, had the right announcements for the wind shifts. And once we were in the lead, we defended it well. In the first race, MATILDA had a fight with [Patrik Forsgren’s First 36.7] TEAM PRO4U at the start allowing us to sail with clear air. In the second race MATILDA tried to fight with us, but we still got away well at the start and then we were just faster than them.”
Silver medal winners in Class B is the team on MATILDA 4, with Raimondas Siugzdinis’s Italia 11.98 ARABELA (LTU) winning Bronze medals. This team was also the Class C Corinthian Division winner and ecstatic about their results.
“This is the best a team from Lithuania has ever done in an ORC championship,” said crewman Andrius Nikanorovas when interviewed, “and will be an inspiration to other teams from our country.” Siugzdinis also confirmed they are regularly trying new younger-aged crew to inspire a new generation in offshore sailing.
Many of the teams here in Kiel, such as BEAU GESTE and ARABELA, have confirmed they will be headed for the Aland Islands in Finland for their next ORC championship, the 2024 ORC European Championship being held over 9-17 August 2024.
The next edition of the ORC World Championship will be at New York Yacht Club in Newport, USA over 27 September – 5 October 2024. A presentation on this event was made today this morning by regatta chairman Matt Gallagher, with interest expressed already from several teams here in Kiel. For more info, visit https://nyyc.org/2024-orc-world-championship.
“We congratulate the World Champions, they fought very hard this week in a wide variety of conditions, from stormy winds to light air,” said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. “Our rule system worked well in the enormous variety of conditions we saw this week in Kiel, and the racing results were incredibly close in most races and in all classes. We also congratulate the organizers from Kieler-Yacht Club who managed some difficult situations very well for this world-class event.”
Photo: Sascha Klahn / ORC Worlds 2023