Yet another day of brisk westerly winds in the Kieler Bucht prompted race managers from Kieler Yacht-Club to hold another morning Coastal Race on Day Three of the 2023 ORC World Championship. This was the second Coastal race for Class A and the third for Classes B and C. Like the previous days, the start was close to the city of Kiel in front of Kieler Yacht-Club, with the course the same as the previous two days and a finish in front of the main venue at Schilksee Harbor.
Wind speeds today for this race were a more manageable 15-25 knots compared to near-gale force on Monday, yet there were still many teams that either dropped out or did not start due to damage from the previous two days of strong winds. The most common problem seemed to be broken sails, both headsails and mainsails, since many teams reverted to the back-up sails in their inventories to preserve their newest sails to use when the wind drops later in the week. These back-up sails were the most prone to problems, so the event’s supporting sailmakers have been kept busy overnight with repairs.
Photo: Sascha Klahn / ORC Worlds 2023
The westerly did, however, start backing down in the mid-afternoon today to 15-20 knots, allowing race managers to set windward-leeward courses on three course areas dedicated to each class and positioned between the Schwedeneck headland and the Kiel lighthouse. With the first warning signal at 1500 local time, two races were run in succession for all classes, bring the total number of races to five in the series for Classes B and C and four for Class A when racing concluded today at about 1800…it was a long day indeed for these teams.
In Class A, Karl Kwok’s TP 52 BEAU GESTE (HKG) continues to dominate this class with wins in every race, although Tilmar Hansen’s TP 52 OUTSIDER (GER) came within 19 seconds of defeating them in today’s first windward/leeward race.
After two days of racing, OUTSIDER is lying in second place overall with 9 points, while Carl-Peter Forster’s TP 52 RED BANDIT is in third with 12 points.
After three days of racing in Class B there is a similar dominance by one team: Marcin Sutkowski’s Grand Soleil 44P WINDWHISPER 44 (POL) has four firsts and one second, giving them a 7-point lead over the current runner-up SIRENA, a Swan 42 skippered by Peter Buhl (DEN).
“The first inshore race we had a strong start and did well in the shifts,” said Buhl, “and even after having a broach during a gybe we managed to still stay ahead of WINDWHISPER and take a race from them…but by only 30 seconds!
Aivar Tuulberg’s Swan 42 KATARIINA (EST) has finally climbed up the ranks in Class B with three third-place finishes earned today to be 10 points behind SIRENA and 1.5 points ahead of Torkjel Valland’s Landmark 43 WHITE SHADOW (NOR).
The fractional point in the Norwegians scoreline comes from having tied – to the second – with Sampsa Vehkamaki’s sistership MADAME GREY (FIN) in the Coastal Race this morning…a remarkable result after nearly two hours of racing.
In contrast to Classes A and B, in Class C it’s a hard fight at the top of the rankings after five races scored, with a tie at 11 points for the lead and only a one-point margin to third place. Juss Ojala’s J-112E MATILDA (EST) is on top now having two firsts to break the tie with Patrik Forsgren’s modified First 36.7 TEAM PRO4U (SWE), and yesterday’s Class C leader Harles Liiv’s J-112E SHADOW (EST) with 12 points.
“We had a good day,” said Forsgren, “starting in the morning coastal race when thanks to [Willem Ellemeet’s (NED)] FLYING DOLPHIN we received a tow on the long reach that boosted our speed by about 8/10’s of a knot and allowed us to pass three other boats. We owe them some beers for sure!”
The Swedes also benefited from having a good sail combination with jib top headsail used on the long reach in the day’s first race.
When 6 or more inshore races (which includes the Coastal Races) are completed teams may have their worst race discarded. This will occur after racing resumes tomorrow morning since two more inshore windward-leeward races are planned, and after a break in the afternoon a Long Offshore Race will be held starting tomorrow evening. Results from this race may not be discarded.
After this race finishes on Friday there will be no more racing until Saturday, the final day of the event.