C class boats sailing towards the sunset © Sascha Klahn

C class boats sailing towards the sunset © Sascha Klahn

Beautiful night for racing on the Long Offshore Race of the ORC Worlds


12/08/2023 - 06:05

Starry skies, varied wind speeds and close competition in all three classes made for a beautiful night of racing on the Long Offshore Race of the 2023 ORC World Championship. The forecasted westerly winds held in – more or less – throughout the night, helping the fleet make good progress around their marks in the Kieler-Bucht.

However, PRO Eckhardt Reinke sent this message to the fleet at 0630 this morning: “Weather observations and forecasts are presently conclusive, suggesting that the gradient wind will drop significantly before - according to our routings - the majority of all fleets who would approach the finish line at Kiel lighthouse. Fair sailing cannot be assured for the final 12nm of the course,” so the courses were shortened for all classes to finish in the mid-morning hours.
All teams seemed to agree with this decision as overcast skies accompanied a new light southwesterly wind that was starting to die out and would have affected all classes in their final miles of the race.

Teams in Class A pushed each other more than any other class on their 102-mile course, resulting in some very close racing throughout the night and some new entries at the top of the leaderboard. In this seventh race of the series, Johannes Wackerhagen’s Knierim 49 cruiser/racer DESNA (GER) managed to defeat all four all-carbon full-race TP 52 designs, but not by much: after 14 hours of racing – two hours longer than the faster TP’s - their corrected time margin of victory was only 14 seconds over Tilmar Hansen’s OUTSIDER (GER) and only 20 seconds over a podium newcomer, Carl-Peter Forster’s RED BANDIT (GER).

Long Offshore Race - ORC Worlds 2023 Kiel © Janis Spurdzins for ORC
Long Offshore Race - ORC Worlds 2023 Kiel © Janis Spurdzins for ORC

Series leader BEAU GESTE, owned by Karl Kwok (HKG), finished in 4th place another 1 minute back, and Holger Streckenbach’s IMAGINE (GER) in fifth by just another 24 seconds. Among the top 8 boats in this race, all were within only 10 minutes in corrected time – this is only 1.1% of the elapsed time of the slowest boat in this top-eight group, the all-women’s team on Kirsten Harmstorf-Schonwitz’s DK 46 TUTIMA.

“This was a perfect night of sailing,” said Tilmar Hansen, “a little cold but exciting because we were so close with the other boats. We had the early lead but then broke our starboard D1 shroud and lost some time rigging a replacement. Fortunately we have a spare shroud to rig today to be ready to fight again tomorrow.”
For this class a discard of the worst result of the inshore races will come into play after the second of two planned windward-leeward races tomorrow – under ORC rules the results from the Long Offshore Race are not discardable.

Unlike in Class A, Class B results today show the same top teams remaining at the top, and not by small margins. Marcin Sutkowski’s Grand Soleil 44P WINDWHISPER 44 (POL) won the 91-mile race by over 19 minutes in corrected time over Aivar Tuulberg’s Swan 42 KATARIINA II (EST) after nearly 14 hours of racing, and 26 minutes over Peter Buhl’s Swan 42 SIRENA (DEN).

Johannes Wackerhagen’s Knierim 49 cruiser/racer DESNA (GER) ©Christian Beeck
Johannes Wackerhagen’s Knierim 49 cruiser/racer DESNA (GER) ©Christian Beeck

Not only is the Polish team stretching away from the pack with a lead now increased to 9 points, but so have the Estonians and the Danes from others in the class: 18 points now separate KATARIINA II from Jens Kuphal’s 4th-placed Landmark 43 INTERMEZZO (GER). When tomorrow’s discards get applied after the first race, WINDWHISPER does not have anything worse than a second place, but SIRENA has a 6th to discard, KATARIINA II a 7th and INTERMEZZO a 16th to help compress the standings.

One possible problem for the Poles could be an unfavorable outcome of an outstanding protest between them and Henning Uck’s Mat 1180 TOSEN 2 (GER) from an incident in yesterday’s first windward-leeward race – TOSEN alleges WINDWHISPER did not keep clear to windward on approach to the start. Yet even if WINDWHISPER were to get a DSQ for this race, one race sailed tomorrow would trigger an inshore race discard and likely still keep them on the podium.

Results from the long race today in Class C are similar to Class B: the leaders had good results with sizeable gaps to their rivals in corrected time. Patrik Forsgren’s modified First 36.7 TEAM PRO4U defeated the Blue group runner-up Kai Mares’s Italia 9.98 IMMAC FRAM (GER) by 5:43 after 21 hours of sailing the 72-mile course, while Ott Kikkas’s Italia 11.98 SUGAR 3 (EST) won the Yellow group by 3:55 over runner-up Juss Ojala’s J-112E MATILDA (EST).

A class heading to the Long Offshore Race © Felix Diemer for ORC
A class heading to the Long Offshore Race © Felix Diemer for ORC

However, the points gaps are close among those currently on the podium, so the fights in tomorrow’s two planned windward/leeward races will determine what color medals are won in Class C and how the discards play out. MATILDA is currently in the lead by 2 points over TEAM PRO4U, and both have 4th places as their worst score. SUGAR 3, however, is another 3 points behind the Swedes but have a 6th place to discard, and an early series leader – Harles Liiv’s J-112E SHADOW (EST) – is another 6 points back and has a discardable 7th place from yesterday.

So, with discards coming to the scorelines tomorrow, it will be all to play for in Class C for sure, and possibly in the other classes as well to determine final podium positions and the new 2023 ORC World Champions.
Quotes from the teams

After returning to port, INTERMEZZO Landmark 43 (GER) helmsman Jens Kuphal (Class B) stated in a scratchy voice: "I caught a cold, got a fever during the night and am completely exhausted. Nevertheless, it was a great race. We were in the lead for a long time and had a tight battle at the front." 

Tilmar Hansen’s OUTSIDER (GER) © Felix Diemer for ORC
Tilmar Hansen’s OUTSIDER (GER) © Felix Diemer for ORC

For tactician Robert Stanjek, the crux of the race was in the east of Langeland: "We made a beat towards land to avoid the counter-current. That was an expensive manoeuvre. Unfortunately, the wind was so much weaker there that it cost us around two miles, so the others passed. The gap to the top three is now too big to be able to really intervene in the medal fight."

Marcin Sutkowski,  WINDWHISPER 44 Gr. Soleil 44 P (Class B) was not entirely satisfied: "We only had an average start, then the wind shifted to the left and we were quickly three minutes behind. After that we worked hard. The whole team fought, hiked and did a lot of gybes. We are all tired now." But the work paid off as the WINDWHISPER 44 also won the long distance after three second places and four victories before. "Along Langeland we did the banana tactic, kept more distance from the land. That paid off"

Juss Ojala, MATILDA 4 J-112E (Class C): "It was cold at night, but we had fun. The race committee's decision to shorten the race at Langeland was right. Tactically, however, there were hardly any options. We chased 'Sugar' through the night but had no chance to get past." Juss Ojala has to settle for second place in this race but still has his hand on the gold: "We want the title!"

Sandro Montefusco, SUGAR 3 J-112E of Ott Kikkas (Class C): "It was beautiful sailing through the night, with a light but stable wind with flat water. However, it was cold. We are used to something different from our southern Italian home in Puglia." Regarding the Estonian-Italian team, he explained: "It's a mix of both nations. The boat owner Ott Kikkas is a client of mine in the sailing loft, that's why we came up with the idea of forming a crew."

Jens Kuphal’s Landmark 43 INTERMEZZO (GER) © Felix Diemer for ORC
Jens Kuphal’s Landmark 43 INTERMEZZO (GER) © Felix Diemer for ORC

Summary of the results after Day Five

Class A (15 entries) – 2 coastal, 4 inshore and one long offshore race

BEAU GESTE TP52 - Karl Kwok (HKG) 1+1+1+1+1+1+4=10
OUTSIDER TP52 – Tilmar Hansen (GER) 2+4+2+2+6+3+2=21
RED BANDIT TP52 – Carl-Peter Forster (GER) 3+3+3+4+9+6+3=31

Class B (29 entries) – 3 coastal and 4 inshore races

WINDWHISPER 44 Grand Soleil 44P – Marcin Sutkowski (POL) 1+1+1+2+1+2+2+1=11
SIRENA Swan 42 – Peter Buhl (DEN) 2+2+2+1+6+1+3+3=20
KATARIINA II – Aivar Tuulberg (EST) 7+7+3+3+3+4+1+2=30

Class C (65 entries) – 3 coastal and 2 inshore races

MATILDA 4 J-112E – Juss Ojala (EST) 1+4+2+1+2+1+2+2=15
TEAM PRO4U mod First 36.7 – Ptrik Forsgren (SWE) 2+4+2+2+1+2+3+1=17
SUGAR 3 Italia 11.98 – Ott Kikkas (EST) 3+5+6+2+1+1+1+1=20

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