Perfect inshore race conditions today at ORC European Championship
28 April 2023 – Ta’Xbiex, Malta – Sunny skies, flat seas and 8-13 knots of wind made for perfect conditions in the start of inshore windward/leeward racing on the third day of the 2023 ORC European Championship, hosted by the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Two races were held for all classes, with the 10 teams in Class A and 9 teams in Class C racing on one course area to the north of Valletta harbor, while the 18 teams in Class B competed on one course area set to the south.
After a brief postponement to allow the breeze to stabilize for the first race, Class A got started a little too fast: enough teams charged the start line to have the race committee call everyone back on a General Recall signal. Once away in the second attempt this first race of the day – three laps of the windward/leeward track – Class A results were close in corrected time despite a range of rated speed of over 16 minutes: Karl Kwok’s (HKG) TP 52 BEAU GESTE won the race by only 40 seconds over Claudio Terrieri’s (ITA) Swan 45 BLUE SKY after an hour of racing, and by one second less in the second race. These two are 1-2 respectively in the Class A standings after three races.
Lying now third in the standings and the top Malta-based team is ELUSIVE II, a modified First 45 owned by Maya and Christoph Podesta, who actually tied for fourth place in corrected time in the today’s first race with the Cyprus-based team IRONFX, a Corel 45 owned by Morkos Kashiouris. This yields a total score of 10.5 points, putting them 1.5 points ahead of Giulio Cafaro’s (ITA) Adria 49 ARS UNA.
“We are normally set up in an offshore mode for our racing,” said Christoph Podesta, “so today was a real lesson for us, but the conditions were fantastic. We did not have a great start in the first race, so it was difficult to get back in the game since we are one of the slowest-rated boats in the class. But in the second race the team did well – we pushed hard and made some improvements that we can build on for the rest of the week.”
On the Class B course there was slightly less wind but also close racing over the 5.8-mile course on the first race. Like in Class A, this race was won by the Long Offshore race winner, Marcin Sutkowski’s (POL) Grand Soleil 44 P WINDWHISPER 44 by a margin of only 30 seconds over Ermanno Galeati and Davide Angelo’s (ITA) Grand Soleil 43 R REVE DE VIE. Another 40 seconds back in third place was Tomas Dolezal’s (CZE) DARING SISTERS, first of the five Club Swan 42’s in the class and the first all-amateur Corinthian entry as well.
Yet in the second race the top ranks were filled by all Club Swan 42’s, with Renzo Grottesi’s (ITA) BE WILD on top, followed one minute back by Aivar Tuulberg’s KATARIINA II from Estonia, and Nicola de Gemmis’s (ITA) MORGAN V only 7 seconds astern in third.
“It was a perfect day for sailing today, though we had problems with some leaks in our rig system,” said WINDWHISPER 44 owner Sutkowski, shown left during an interview. This deprived them of some of their settings data, “and so we are sailing on our ‘feelings,’ and I’m especially proud of our crew.”
After three races scored, WINDWHISPER has a narrow 2-point lead in the Class B standings over BE WILD. and only 3 points over KATARIINA II.
As expected, the racing in Class C is dominated by two very well-prepared and sailed Italia 11.98’s: Ott Kikkas’s (EST) SUGAR 3 and Vincenzo De Blasio’s (ITA) Italia 11.98 SCUGNIZZA. These two have been trading wins and 2nd places, with SUGAR now on top by one point having won both races today. From there it’s a five-point gap to third place for Jakoubek Zdenek’s (CZE) M37 HEBE V.
For more information on the 2023 ORC European Championship, visit https://orceuro2023.com.
Race results will be posted at https://orceuro2023.com/results.