Sixty-nine teams ready to race at 2022 ORC World Championship
Sixty-nine teams from 16 nations are assembled in the beautiful harbor in front of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda getting ready to race tomorrow at the 2022 ORC World Championship. The fleet is divided into three classes – 20 entries in Class A, 27 in Class B and 22 in Class C – who will race for separate World Championship medals awarded in each class. Each class will also have scoring and awards for all-amateur Corinthian teams.
“We’re very pleased to have such an impressive high-quality fleet here this year,” said ORC Chairman Bruno Finzi. “The number of current and former World, European, National and regional ORC champion teams assembled here is unprecedented, so we anticipate a hard fight ahead in the next week. Its good we also have with YCCS such a strong team of event and race managers to keep this regatta at the highest quality both on and off the water.”
For the past three days the teams have been inspected to confirm compliance with ORC rules and standards, and throughout the event class leaders will also be inspected and measured after racing to ensure continued compliance. The race management team is led by veteran PRO Alfredo Ricci who said he is “confident this will be competitive week ahead.”
The format is a mix of offshore, coastal and inshore windward/leeward course racing. The schedule calls for tomorrow's start to the Offshore race intended to last for 30-36 hours for the slowest boats on a course around the Costa Smeralda, the scenic northeast coast of Sardinia. This will require not only accurate navigation but it will help to have experience in knowing what lies around each corner of this complex coast dotted with islands of all sizes, rocky promontories and secluded beaches.
The YCCS has had a long and storied history of organizing races on the Costa Smeralda, iconic events such as the Sardinia Cup, the Maxi Worlds, the Swan World Cup and other championship regattas at the highest level of the sport.
For Monday and Tuesday 27-28 June there will be Inshore windward/leeward racing on two course areas set east of the harbor, with Classes A and B sharing a course area and Class C being on its own course. Wednesday 29 June will feature a 10-12 hour Coastal race for all classes, and Thursday 30 June will resume Inshore racing followed by Awards to conclude the championship.
A minimum of one Offshore and four Inshore races or two Offshore and three Inshore races are needed to constitute a Championship, and up to three Inshore races can be held daily.
Gavin Brady (NZL) will be tactician aboard Karl Kwok’s (HKG) TP 52 Beau Geste, with this mixed international team returning to ORC championship competition after winning the Class A Worlds title in The Hague in 2018.
“We anticipate this to be a tough week ahead,” he said. “The weather will be a factor for sure in the long races, which are important in the points scoring. But my feeling is that the ORC system is fair among the different boat types so any well-prepared and sailed boat has a chance.”
Another ORC champion tactician, Lorenzo Bodini (ITA) racing with Aivar Tuulberg’s (EST) Swan 42 Katariina II, is looking to help earn the team their first ORC Worlds title after winning the Class C ORC Europeans title in 2016 and 2018 and multiple podium results in other major ORC events. They will now be racing in Class B and he too thinks it will be a tough week ahead.
“We have several Swan 42’s in Class B, and all are very well-sailed,” he said. “We will have both one-design and handicap racing at the same time. I feel we will have maybe a little edge because we are used to racing in handicap space and can avoid getting into the tactical traps of one-design battles.”
The size of Class C is not as large as at many other recent ORC Worlds events, yet there are numerous credible contenders to watch this coming week. One of the strongest is another mixed EST-ITA team: Ott Kikkas’s Italia 11.98 Sugar 3.
Sailing aboard is designer Matteo Polli (ITA), who said he too thinks this will be a competitive week of racing in this class, which has in recent history not decided their winner until the last race of the series. The SUGAR 3 team has been on both sides of this: as a Class C winner at the 2019 ORC Worlds in Sibenik, Croatia and as a runner-up at last year’s Alexela ORC Worlds in Tallinn after a highly contentious week of racing.
“While this is our first time in Porto Cervo, our team has been preparing seriously for this week,” he said. Sugar 3 won their class at Tre Golfi Sailing Week in Sorrento last month, competing against many of the same rivals they will have here at the Worlds. Polli is also a member of the ORC’s International Technical Committee and regularly provides input to improve the system’s rating science.
“We seem to be doing a good job with the ORC VPP these days, the racing is very close in corrected times among the best-sailed teams,” Polli said. “There is good progress and cooperation among our members, and input from racing fleets like this one provides valuable insight to the performance of the system and where improvements can be made.”