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Perfect conditions on Day 4 at the 2023 ORC World Championship

Perfect conditions on Day 4 at the 2023 ORC World Championship

Photo: Christian Beeck / ORC Worlds 2023

Sunny skies and 12-18 knots of wind were a welcome respite for the 111 teams competing here in Kiel on Day 4 of the 2023 ORC World Championship after three consecutive days of blustery west winds. Two windward-leeward races were conducted for each of the three classes competing on their own course areas, with the challenge not being the wind speed but the wind shifts that kept race managers from Kieler-Yacht Club busy with their course management.

Karl Kwok’s TP 52 BEAU GESTE (HKG) has extended their lead after six races in Class A with two more wins on their scorecard, opening a 13-point gap to runner-up Tilmar Hansen’s TP 52 OUTSIDER (GER). But in detail these wins are not by commanding margins, with new teams appearing high in the results of today’s racing.

“It was proper racing today, great conditions, and really perfect sailing,” said Gavin Brady (NZL), tactician on BEAU GESTE. “But this was not easy at all – just because you have a TP 52 these days is no guarantee of success in this event, we worked hard to win and the margins were really close, 13 seconds in the first race and only 20 seconds in the second race.”

Jesper Radich (DEN) is tactician on one of these Class A entries to appear in the top ranks today, Johannes Wackerhagen’s beautiful Knierim 49 DESNA (GER).

“We had a good day with a 3-2 in the inshore races, good results for us as we learn to push this boat harder than in the past. Unfortunately yesterday we push a little too hard and broke the bow sprit, but it was fixed overnight in time for us to use today.”

Similar to what BEAU GESTE is doing in Class A, Marcin Sutkowski’s Grand Soleil 44P WINDWHISPER 44 (POL) is dominating Class B with a 7-point lead over the runner-up, Peter Buhl’s Swan 42 SIRENA (DEN). These two advanced by four points each, WINDWHISPER on scores of 2-2 and SIRENA by 1-3.

Photo: Christian Beeck / ORC Worlds 2023

Yet in detail this class is racing very close in corrected time as well: in the second race the top five were only 2 minutes apart after 1.25 hours of racing, with third place-ranked Aivar Tuulberg’s Swan 42 KATARIINA II (EST) winning this race by a mere 1 second over the Poles.

This is similar to what’s seen in Class C’s two groups: in the first race two Estonian teams – Juss Ojala’s J-112E MATILDA and Ott Kikkas’s Italia 11.98 SUGAR 3 – won by only 9 and 47 seconds, respectively. In contrast the winning margins of victory in the second race were over 2 minutes for SUGAR 3 and 38 seconds for race winner ARABELA, Raimondas Siugzdinis’s Italia 11.98 from Lithuania.

“The conditions today were very good for our Italia 11.98, plus we got good starts and then it’s easy,” said Sandro Montefusco (ITA), helmsman on SUGAR 3. “We didn’t like the Coastal races so much, the courses were not easy for our spinnaker,” he said. SUGAR 3 is sitting now in third place, with a six-point gap between this reigning Class C World Champion team and MATILDA, the current class leader.

At 1900 tonight the fleets will start their non-discardable Long Offshore Race, with a 116-mile course set by PRO Eckhardt Reinke for Class A, 105 miles for Class B and 86 miles for Class C. The start line will be just outside Schilksee Harbor and the finish line at Kiel Lighthouse.

The teams on top are unlikely to make major changes in preparation. For example, Gavin Brady on BEAU GESTE said “We’re not changing anything for the race tonight, we’re staying in the same mode since this has been successful so far,” and Jesper Radich on DESNA said “We’re looking forward to the long offshore tonight where we can have the space on the longer legs to focus on trimming and navigation.

After this race finishes on Friday there will be no more racing until Saturday, the final day of the event.

Photo: Sascha Klahn / ORC Worlds 2023

Schedule of the World Championship 2023:

  • 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