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North Sails sets its sights on Kiel: preparations begin now

Perperation start now

supported by North Sails

The news that the Offshore Racing Council, ORC World Championship is coming to Kiel again in 2023 has triggered a real hype throughout the worldwide fleet of ORC sailors. For the local fleet in Germany, this will mark the season highlight of the next two years and after two seasons of events being influenced by the pandemic, there are hopeful signs for a sporty and ambitious summer of sailing. If you want to be there in 2023, ideally, preparations should start now. Those who start preparing in good time not only reduce the risk of nasty surprises, but also go into the World Championship with greater composure.

Someone who knows the ORC scene like the back of his hand is North Sails expert and sailmaker Bertil Balser. As a native of Frankfurt, Germany, Bertil has been sailing since he could walk and took his first steps in the world of offshore racing in 1996, when ORC was still called IMS (International Measurement System). Several National and International successes later, as well as one or the other rule loophole (keyword: “Berta”), Bertil is not only an impressive sailor, but also the ideal contact for all questions about ORC sailing.

Reason enough, then, for us to quiz him with a series of questions in the run up to the World Championship, starting off with a few basic questions about ORC sailing:

Photo: Felix Diemer

How well do you know the ORC formula?

As there are countless measures that add to the overall rating, you can basically change and adjust virtually anything concerning the boat’s performance. This makes the ORC system both very technical but also somehow intuitive. The question here is: Which screw is worth turning and which one should you avoid touching in the first place? After more than 15 years in the ORC circuit, I can judge quite well what makes sense and what doesn’t.

What is key for a successful ORC campaign?

Good material and a clean underwater hull are one thing. But the other thing is having a crew that not only harmonizes, but also really trusts and works together.

I recommend North Sails 3Di RAW 780 for your upwind inventory, and our Superkote Spinnaker styles for your downwind inventory. We will be sure to find your weapon of choice amongst our product range.

Photo: Felix Diemer

When should preparations for the 2023 World Championship begin?

Such a campaign always goes through phases of varying intensity and each team has its own dynamic. However, no matter how you choose to run your campaign, the following still applies: time is ticking.

If you want to be there in Kiel in 2023, you should start preparing today. The more time you have, the easier it will be to get material and crew into a competitive mode. As always, the devil is in the details.

What advice would you give to crews with limited previous experience?

Be sure to get started! Every project starts with the first step. What many do not know is that often the step from ambitious Wednesday sailing into the ORC world is much smaller than it might look from the outside.

How to contact you with questions?

To get in touch with Bertil directly, please email him at, or click here to talk with an expert at your local loft. We look forward to hearing from you and our team of experts will be happy to help you get closer to achieving your goal at the 2023 ORC World Championships.

What is your greatest personal success?

That is hard to say. The four victories at the IDM See – most recently with the X-41 Sportsfreund – were certainly just as much a highlight as various podium positions at World and European Championships. When “my” team became European Champions in 2019, I was involved with fatherly joy on the home front, so a gold medal is still missing. One more reason to attack again in 2023!