Three offshore race winners at ORC World Championship 2021
Wednesday, August 11, 2021 12:30 AM
After about 24 hours of battling all range of conditions – sun and rain, calm wind to over 20 knots, beating and reaching and running – all teams are finished and scored in the first race of Alexela ORC World Championship 2021. Results are in for the Long Offshore Race powered by Tactical Foodpack, with three winners declared in each of this event’s three classes.
Three German teams earned podium finishes in Class A. Michael Berghorn’s Mills 45 HALBTROCKEN 4.5 won the class by a margin of 9 min 49 sec over Tillmar Hansen’s first-to-finish TP 52 OUTSIDER after racing for 23 hours 43 min over that class’s 200-mile course. In third place was Holger Streckenbach's TP 52 Imagine, over 27 min in corrected time behind the leader. As they pulled out sails and gear to dry out in the sun this morning, Berghorn and team were pleased with the results.
“We have only had this boat for just about two years,” he said, “from having bought it in Australia. It’s a great boat, very well built, and we have not really had any time for the normal build-up of races and training this year [due to all the restrictions and uncertainties]. It was difficult for our team to plan their time off to participate, but we’re glad we’re here and the results are showing we have potential…it’s going to be up to us to perform.”
Among the 33 entries in Class B, the winning margin was even closer for Catalin Tranafir’s new Grand Soleil 44P ESSENTIA44, flagged for Romania but with a lot of Spanish team members on board, such as tactician Nacho Postigo. After 23 hours 32 min of racing over their 167-mile course, they almost got defeated by 2 min 7 sec in corrected time by runner-up SEANNA, Seppo Sjoroos’s Grand Soleil 45 from Finland, who was also the top Corinthian team in this race. In third was another team from Finland, Martin Estander’s X41 XINI FREEDOM, another 12 minutes back in corrected time.
When asked where they could have found 14 minutes on the course to overtake the leader in corrected time, XINI tactician Sten Mohr said “Actually I think we were pretty lucky to do this well. There was a lot of reaching and our sail inventory is optimized for up and down racing, so we’re happy with the results.”
Due to the enormous size of Class C (63 entries), it has been broken into two groups, Blue and Yellow, who are being scored each day separately, and the composition of each group re-shuffled each day. This arrangement will continue through racing tomorrow and Thursday, when the results will then reveal a top half that will race in the Gold fleet on Friday and Saturday and the bottom half that will race in a Silver fleet.
In the Yellow fleet, three Estonian teams were on top, led by Eero Pank’s Salona 38 CREDIT 24 SAILING, who has also won the Corinthian prize in this race. Erki Melts’s Italia 9.98 DIRECTO finished 3 min 8 sec behind in corrected time after 22 hours 32 min in elapsed time on the 143-mile course, with Alan Kodar’s X-34 BRIGITTA-X another 4 minutes behind in corrected time.
In the Blue fleet, the corrected time margins were similar, with Juss Ojala’s 2019 ORC Class C European Champion MATILDA 4, his J-112E from Estonia, earning a 3 min 12 sec margin over the 2017 ORC Class C European Champion, Patrik Forsgren’s modified First 36.7 Pro4u from Sweden, and a 9 min 10 sec margin over third-placed Rainmondas Slugzdinis’s Italia 11.98 ARABELA from Lithuania. Of interest is that the reigning Class C World champion from the 2019 Worlds held in Sibenik, Croatia - Ott Kikkas’s Italia 11.98 SUGAR 3 skippered by Sandro Montefusco - was another 3 minutes behind in corrected time, perhaps an indication of the competitive nature of this fleet.
“We had a rough start, over early at the start, and a tough first two legs,” said Montefusco. “There were opportunities to come back, just not on the long reaching legs. We prefer the up and down races and look forward to this starting tomorrow.