A wet and wild start to the 2023 ORC World Championship

A wet and wild start to the 2023 ORC World Championship

A wet and wild start to the 2023 ORC World Championship


07/08/2023 - 18:13

The weather today in the Kiel Bucht region was exactly as forecasted, with strong westerly winds of 20-35 knots on the first Coastal Race of the 2023 ORC World Championship, producing a wild but fast and fun experience for the 113 boats competing in the event.

 With the start made in front of Kieler Yacht-Club at Düsternbrook Harbor, four waves of starting groups successively filled the inner fjord with their small headsails and reefed mainsails, speeding northeast on a port tack close reach in flat water on the first leg of the course. Once around the second corner at Friedrichsort, the fiord opens up and the wind became gusty, and even more so once around the point at Lighthouse Buelk.

Here the wind and seas were at full force for a short lap of dropped marks and buoys to define short upwind and downwind legs before heading to the finish line set in front of the main event venue at Schilksee Harbor. Class A and Class B raced a 17.3 mile course, while the two groups of Class C raced a 12.6 mile course.

 “It was a fast but challenging race, even with a small upwind,” said Jürgen Klinghardt (GER), skipper of his Italia 9.98 PATENT 4 entry in Class C. “We had the #4 jib up and a reef in the main. The conditions were tough, but if you were properly prepared and made the right sail choice, it was okay. Seamanship won today."
Similar upbeat views were expressed by Willem Ellemeet (NED) today about sailing his Dufour 40 x2.10 FLYING DOLPHIN. “We started with the #3 jib and a full main, which we think was OK at the start, but once we got to the corner the wind got stronger so we had to reef to keep control. It was a good race course, a good start to the championship, and we had fun. My main trimmer is Belgian, and I told him he had to work hard today to earn his beer!”

 There were some, however, who felt the conditions exceeded their comfort level, and retired after starting. One was the young team on the Farr 42 UNIVERSITAS, whose skipper Jonas Missel (GER) said "We stopped racing on the upwind leg, it seemed too dangerous and we wanted to save the sails. We are all students and want to have fun at this World Championship. In the middle of the week, when the wind will slow down a bit, we'll take off."
At the front end of the fleet among the pro teams in Class A, there was still concern for safety in the tough conditions. “We were in the lead on the downwind leg,” said Gavin Brady (NZL), tactician on Karl Kwok’s TP 52 BEAU GESTE (HKG), “but we got lifted with the wind at 140°, so it was better for us to put up a spinnaker to sail low enough to make the turn at the last mark. This was not my first choice, but this was a safer choice than having to gybe twice.

Tilmar Hansen (GER) is racing his TP 52 OUTSIDER this week and is no stranger to rough racing conditions, having many thousands of offshore racing miles earned from decades of competition here and throughout the world. He viewed today’s choice of course in these conditions as a perfect start to the championship.

 “This was a good decision for the Race Committee to have this race, it gave us a perfect level of challenge in these conditions and the start area was fantastic. It was also great for us to see so many of our friends out on the race course here in Kiel, with everyone working hard and having fun. We are looking forward to what’s next in the format.”

Despite the tough conditions, use of ORC constructed course scoring that modeled the wind speeds and directions for each leg generated relatively close results in corrected time. After 2 hours of racing in Class B, for example, the difference in corrected time between Peter Buhl’s Swan 42 SIRENA (DEN) in second place and Erik Stannow’s X-41 DIXI 4 (DEN) in third place was a mere 2 seconds, and only another 49 seconds to Jens Kuphal’s Landmark 43 INTERMEZZO (GER) in fourth place.

Tomorrow racing will continue in Day Two of the 2023 ORC World Championship with the Long Offshore Race of 115 miles length for Class A, 105 miles for Class B and 85 miles for Class C. These courses are designed to have teams finished by late tomorrow night so that inshore racing may start late in the day on Wednesday.
ORC World Championship 2023 - Summary of the results - Day 1

 Class A

1. BEAU GESTE TP52 - Karl Kwok (HKG)

2. OUTSIDER TP52 – Tilmar Hansen (GER)

3. RED BANDIT TP52 – Carl-Peter Forster (GER)

 Class B

1. WINDWHISPER Grand Soleil 44P – Marcin Sutkowski (POL)

2. SIRENA Swan 42 – Peter Buhl (DEN)

3. DIXI 4 X-41 – Erik Stannow (DEN)

 Class C

Yellow fleet

1. MATILDA 4 J-112E – Juss Ojala (EST)

2. TOPAS Farr 30 – Harald Dr Brüning (GER)

3. NOLA J-112E – Margus Uudam (EST)

Blue fleet

1. SHADOW J-112E – Harles Liiv (EST)

2. SUGAR 3 Italia 11.98 – Ott Kikkas (EST)

3. TEAM PRO4U First 36.7 – Patrik Forsgren (SWE)

 The ORC World Championship in Kiel is supported by partners Sportland Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel.Sailing.City, Sydbank, Gaastra, X-Yachts, North Sails, Pantaenius, Cylops Marine powered by Gotthardt, Kohlhoff, Fachkanzlei für Wassersport Tanis/von der Mosel and NV Charts.

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