All photos Studio Borlenghi/YCCS
Offshore race finishes fast at ORC World Championship
Porto Cervo, Sardinia - Today’s finish of the first race of the 2022 ORC World Championship has not only put results on the scoreboards of the three classes racing at this event, but also given the participants a full experience of all race conditions offered here in northern Sardinia. Yesterday and last night’s light and shifty breezes changed to a much more brisk easterly with winds approaching 30 knots at times and with large seas.
Ken Read (USA) is the helmsman this week of Karl Kwok’s (HKG) TP52 Beau Geste, and being the fastest-rated entry in Class A it would seem like no surprise they crossed the finish line first on their 171.87 mile course. This is misleading, however, as the team had the lead, then lost it, and then had to fight hard to get it back.
“This race was fantastic, a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work,” said Read, a past champion in the Volvo Ocean Race and multiple World Champion in numerous classes. “We had everything from no wind to really strong breeze, a perfect test of offshore skills. I’m also really grateful to step aboard with this team that Karl and Gavin [Brady] have put together because we were able to shift gears in all these conditions, and against really tough competition we were able to fight back.”
The racing was so close in this class that in corrected time Beau Geste was only two seconds ahead of Roberto Monti’s (ITA) TP52 Blue for 10th and 11th place, respectively, after almost 23 hours of racing. Points in this Offshore race are non-discardable regardless of how many more races are sailed in the series.
The reason the TP52’s were deep in the results was due to the building breeze on the course, which gave three slower-rated and well-sailed Swan 45’s a slight advantage by sailing in more wind on average. Fernando Chain’s (ARG) From Now On was the best of these, but only 5 minutes ahead of Claudio Terrieri’s (ITA) Blue SKY in corrected time. Blue SKY is also the top all-amateur Corinthian entry in Class A.
In Class B the reigning ORC World Champion team on Catalin Trandafir’s (ROU) Grand Soleil 44P ESSENTIA44 looked to be on top of the results until 2.5 hours later another Romanian team - Catalin Corduneanu’s First 40.7 IRONY - crossed the finish line to corrected time victory. This too was close: after 27 hours of racing on the Class B course of 152.83 miles IRONY won by a mere 4 minutes and 14 seconds.
Mati Sepp’s (EST) modified X41 Technonicol was another 8 minutes back in third place, a position he felt “Was a good start to the championship. There are 10 Swan 42’s in this class, and they are faster than us, so I think in the coming [inshore] races we will have a good chance on the second lap of the courses.”
And while not his first time to Porto Cervo to race, and he was the ORC European champion in Cyprus in 2018, this is his first time here in ORC competition.
“This place as a sailing venue is amazing, and the organizers are doing an incredible job.
In Class C the top rankings of this race are dominated by no less than four Matteo Polli-designed Italia 11.98’s: in order, these are Vincenzo de Blasio’s (ITA) Scugnizza, Ott Kikkas’s (EST) Sugar 3, Guido Enrico Tabellini’s (ITA) Batanga, and Stefano Rusconi’s (ITA) TO BE.
The top non-Italia 11.98 in the rankings is Willem Ellemeet’s (NED) Dufour 40 2.10 Flying Dolphin who finished in 5th place and was a full hour slower in corrected time than the top Italia 11.98. This did not seem to bother Ellemeet who felt they had a great race.
“The Italia’s are faster, for sure,” he said. “Yet we kept in touch with them on a very complicated race course. For a while we were match racing the other Dufour 40 [Nicolas Gonzales Cuadrado’s (ARG) LADY], but then we split when they went south along the Sardinia coast while we went north to Corsica. This made us nervous, but fortunately worked out well. This is very different than racing on the North Sea its complex and challenging but at least we can race in shorts.”
Tomorrow racing resumes on Day Three of the championship, with the first Inshore windward/leeward races held on two course areas set east of the harbor in Porto Cervo. Race managers may hold as many as three races per day, depending on weather conditions.