A second day of fast coastal racing at the 2023 ORC World Championship
Photo: Christian Beeck / ORC Worlds 2023
In this second day of racing at the 2023 ORC World Championship, the persistent low-pressure center in southern Scandinavia continued to drive strong westerly winds in the Kiel Bucht. Accordingly, race managers from Kieler Yacht-Club set a coastal course for Classes B and C with early leaders emerging in these classes after two races.
An unfortunate secondary effect of these strong westerly winds was to drive water in the Kiel Bucht to the east, thus lowering water levels in the west, and causing the deep draft entries in Class A to remain at their slips in Schilksee Harbor due to a lack of depth to allow them to leave the marina. Nonetheless, at wind speeds of 20-30 knots today’s conditions were brisk but quite raceable from start in the inner Kiel fiord out to the same mark as yesterday at the mouth of the Eckernfiord, and return to the finish in front of Schilksee. Scoring was done for a constructed course of 16.8 miles.
The other outstanding feature of the weather today was the intermittent driving rain, lightning and thunderstorm squalls that buffeted the fleet.
Photo: Sascha Klahn / ORC Worlds 2023
In Class B the first boat around the first reach mark was Marcin Sutkowski’s Grand Soleil 44P WINDWHISPER 44 (POL), the reigning ORC Class B World Champion boat with a new Polish crew. This team was nearly caught at the bottom of the downwind leg by Sampsa Vehkamaki’s Landmark 43 MADAME GREY (FIN), yet they managed to hold the lead to the finish and defeat the Finns by 43 seconds in elapsed time and to win by 3:39 in corrected time over runner-up SIRENA (DEN), Peter Buhl’s Swan 42.
“We just sailed the Fastnet in even more wind, and even though with a different boat, we learned a lot on the first day and translated that into speed today,” said Aksel Magdahl, Navigator on WINDWHISPER 44. “The conditions were at the top of the range, but we have been prepared, our boat is optimized for a lot of wind, although even more than we expected. It was a lot of work in the heavy gusts, so we rotated crew on the grinder.”
SIRENA’s 2nd place yesterday and today place them in second place overall on 4 points, while Torkjel Valland’s Landmark 43 WHITE SHADOW (NOR) is in third place on scores of 6-3. 29 teams are competing this week in Class B.
Class C is now also led by a two-race winning team: Harles Liiv’s J-112E SHADOW (EST), but their winning margin today in corrected time was much closer: only 23 seconds over runner-up Raimondas SIUGZDINIS’s Italia 11.98 ARABELA (LTU) after over 2 hours of racing.
“We won the races today and yesterday due to our team being very efficient at shifting gears in the changing conditions,” said Liiv. “And today we knew we had to push hard because it’s not easy with our competitors – for example, we put up the spinnaker today in 30 knots of wind because we wanted to make a jump forward knowing our competition was close.”
Class C has 68 teams competing in two groups of 34 each, with the group members getting re-shuffled each day. The current top three teams are SHADOW on scores of 1-1, AQUAPLAY in second on scores of 4-1, and MATILDA, another Estonian J-112E skippered by Juss Ojala in third on scores of 1-4.
Racing resumes tomorrow with yet another coastal race in the morning, and after a brief break and if the conditions permit, the teams will move from the finish area at Schilksee to their respective course area for the start of windward/leeward inshore racing.
Photo: Sascha Klahn / ORC Worlds 2023
Schedule of the World Championship 2023:
- Wednesday, August 9: Coastal Race and Inshore Races, Midweek Event with buffet
- Thursday, August 10: Inshore racing: one to two races and/or one Offshore Race
- Friday, August 11: Finish Offshore Race
- Saturday, August 12: Final races and award ceremony with buffet