ORC World Championship 2022. Photo credit: YCCS/Studio Borlenghi
ORC World Championship, offshore sailing in Porto Cervo
With a practice race followed by the skipper's briefing and the traditional welcome cocktail on the YCCS terrace, the ORC World Championship for offshore sailing officially kicked off today. The event is organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) together with the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), under the aegis of World Sailing and the Italian Sailing Federation (FIV). Racing will conclude on 30 June.
The 69 participating boats hail from 16 nationalities, and range from the 9.43 metres of the Farr 30 to the 15.85 meters of the four TP52s taking part. The fleet has been divided into 3 classes (A-B-C) according to the type and relative performance of the boats, to achieve the most homogenous groups of competitors in each division. Class B will be the largest with 27 boats enrolled, 20 in class A and 22 in Class C. In accordance with the ORC regulations, one absolute title and one Corinthian title will be awarded for each class.
Among the boats to watch are certainly the four TP52s: Xio, with tactician Tommaso Chieffi, ORC A World Champion in 2019; Beau Geste, ORC A World Champion in 2018, with Gavin Brady and Ken Read on board; Blue and Jolt 3. There are the two competitive Ker 46 boats, the French Daguet and the Italian Lisa R, fresh from victory at the Rolex Giraglia. Class B, meanwhile, is home to a host of winning yachts consistently found at the top of international rankings, including the Grand Soleil 44 Essentia, World Champion in 2021, and the ClubSwan 42s Mela, Katariina II, Fantaghirò and BeWild. In Class C, the battle will be fierce between Sugar 3, the Italia Yachts 11.98 that claimed the World Champion title in 2019, and her sister ship Scugnizza.
Many of the top names in professional sailing have gathered in Porto Cervo for the event, in addition to those already mentioned on Beau Geste, the Hong Kong-based TP52 also fields Kiwi Simon Daubney; Paul Campbell James is calling tactics on Peter Harrison's Jolt 3; Xio, owned by Marco Serrafini, is also home to the brothers Cassinari and "Ciccio" Celon with his son, Matteo; Afonso Domingos and Hugo Rocha on Essentia; Flavio Favini and Luca Santella on Fantaghirò, and the Bodini brothers along with Andrea Caracci on Katariina II; Enrico Zennaro on the ClubSwan42 Mela, Simone Ferrarese on the IY 11.98 Sugar 3 with Matteo Polli, who designed the boat.
Back in in 1999 the YCCS organised the first ever IMS World Championship, today - 23 years later - the global offshore competition returns under the current name of ORC World Championship. The rating system, constantly updated in line with the evolution of the boats is, in fact, the ORC system, which originated from the IMS.
Racing will commence tomorrow, Saturday 25 June, and will continue through Thursday 30 June. First up is a long race that will see the fleet navigating for at least 24 hours, returning to Porto Cervo over the course of Sunday 26 June. Windward-leeward races will follow along with a coastal course to complete the schedule, which is subject to change at the discretion of the Race Committee. Weather forecasts indicate light to medium wind at the beginning of the event, with a strengthening of the mistral wind on Tuesday 28.
Over the past few days the boats have been checked with respect to ORC rules and standards, and as the event progresses class leaders will be constantly inspected and measured after racing to ensure ongoing compliance.
Michael Illbruck, YCCS Commodore, had these words: "The ORC World Championship brings Porto Cervo back to the golden days of top offshore regattas. I have many fond memories of this type of event from my youth, it was offshore regattas that brought my family to the Costa Smeralda and first led us to discover the YCCS. While welcoming all the owners and their teams, I also hope that they will enjoy this unique setting, both on the water and ashore. Fair winds to all."
Bruno Finzi, ORC Chairman: "Let's go back to Porto Cervo after 23 years, in fact the first IMS World Championship was held here in 1999. Over time, the rating system has evolved and on this occasion we will use the Performance Curve Scoring, for a more precise determination of the performance of each individual competitor. The challenge of the ORC is to compensate the times of a heterogeneous fleet, such as the one present in this Worlds, where we also have an excellent balance in the distribution of appearances between the three classes, as well as a wide international representation as befits a high profile World Championship."