Under yet another day of sunny skies, race managers from the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (KNS) used the perfect 12-15 knot southerly breeze to produce three windward/leeward races for the first day of inshore competition at the 2022 ORCi European Championship. As expected in all ORC championship events, the racing was highly competitive in each of the three classes that competed on two course areas set in the Oslofjord south of the KNS venue in Hankø.
In Class A there is one team that seemed to make it look easy: Michael Berghorn’s Mills 45 Custom HALBTROCKEN 4.5 (GER – shown above) enjoyed success with a clean sweep of victories today for a 5.0 point total after four races. The team’s corrected time margins of winning were 1:44 in the first race of the day, and that shrunk to 1:03 in the second race…not bad after about an hour of racing.
However, this winning margin shrunk to 15 seconds in the third race, a very tight time that Berghorn was thankful for due to a late puff of breeze that helped collapse the distance between him and his faster-rated TP 52 rivals ahead on the last downwind leg of the race.
“I bought this boat from an Australian owner that was convinced that you needed a TP 52 to win,” Berghorn said. “Yet here we’re proving in ORC this is not true, you just need to make fewer mistakes than your competition to succeed. This was a beautiful day of sailing.”
Jan Oplander’s Swan 45 KATIMA (GER), the winner in this class of yesterday’s Mills Long Offshore Race, is 7 points back in second place, tied in points with Per Ottar Skaaret’s TP52 JOKERMAN (NOR) sitting now in third place.
Berghorn’s sentiment was echoed by another German team leading the standings after four races. Jens Kuphal did not have a great start to the event on his modified Landmark 43 INTERMEZZO, scoring 7th in the Mills Long Offshore Race that concluded yesterday. Yet his quest to reduce the effects of this went far today with 1.5 – 1.0 – 2.0 earned in three races.
“This day was 110% perfect,” he said. “There is no better ORC racing in these conditions with moderate wind and flat water, everything was very close and really exciting.”
Why is there a 1.5 point score? this is because their ORC corrected time in this race was exactly the same – to the second, after just under an hour of racing – with Torkjel Valland’s Landmark 43 WHITE SHADOW (NOR) so they share points for first and second places. The two boats are mostly the same and differ only slightly in their set up to have a very small difference in rating, so they are often racing very close to each other while typically leading the class around the race course.
The Norwegians are 3.0 points off the lead, with Tiit Vihul’s modified X-41 OLYMPIC (EST) another 6.0 points back in third.
The standings in Class C are much closer, with the three top teams all earning victories in today’s races and just a 4-point spread between them. Sitting on top now is Aivar Tuulberg’s Arcona 340 KATARIINA II (EST) with a solid 2.0 – 2.0 – 3.0 -1.0 scoreline, only 2.0 points ahead of another Estonian team, Juss Ojala’s J-112E MATILDA 4 (shown above). Patrik Forsgren’s modified First 36.7 TEAM PRO4U (SWE) is only another two points back, but is the top Corinthian (all amateur) team in this class at this point in the event.
The racing in this class is always tight: for example, after an hour of racing in the first race today MATILDA won by 6 seconds over KATARIINA, while Harles Liiv’s J-112E SHADOW (EST) defeated TEAM PRO4U by only 1 second for third place in that race.
Tuulberg reckons he has raced every ORC World and European Championship held in northern Europe for the past 10 years, and every championship held in the Mediterranean region since 2016. He has done this by having a boat in the north (the Arcona) and a boat in the south (most recently a Swan 42).
This year alone he raced in 4 major events prior to coming to Hankø: in Italy for the ORC Mediterraneans in May, in Estonia for the Baltic Offshore Week in June, in Porto Cervo for the ORC Worlds in early July, then Copa del Rey in Spain last week.
“I really enjoy this racing in ORC,” he said. “The racing is fun, it is fair and we have a great time. It has come a long way from when we were 20th place in the Worlds in Helsinki in 2012.”
Inshore racing resumes tomorrow, with three races planned to once again start at 1100 with another favorable weather forecast.
Summary of top-three results after 4 races:
Class A: 1. HALBTROCKEN (GER), 2. KATIMA (GER), 3. JOKERMAN (NOR)
Class B: 1. INTERMEZZO (GER), 2. WHITE SHADOW (NOR), 3. OLYMPIC (EST)
Class C: 1. KATARIINA II (EST), 2. MATILDA 4 (EST), 3. TEAM PRO4U (SWE)