Thrilling Racing as the Breeze Kicks In
By the morning of the third day of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race the new 635-mile race is producing a thrilling competition. The race for Line Honours has produced three different front runners.Teams from all three IRC classes are ranked in the top 10 for the overall win. A fresh northerly breeze is producing red-hot action with leading boats pulling the trigger south of Gotland.
The fastest boats on the water had rounded the Swedish island of Gotland and the slowest had made their way to the Almagrundet Lighthouse outside the Stockholm archipelago. Over 180 miles separates the fleet, but the rankings of the boats under the IRC Rating system give a clear and exact picture of the leading boats in the race.
The race for Line Honours has taken yet another twist, with flat water and solid breeze pumping up the action. Ambersail 2 rang the bell at the Helsinki Lighthouse; I Love Poland was first to Almagrundet Lighthouse. Now, Volvo 70 GP Bullhound has become the third boat to take pole position. Per Roman at the helm of GP Bullhound rounded the mark South of Gotland just after dawn on the third day of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race. I Love Poland skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski was just nine minutes behind, and VO65 Ambersail sailed by American skipper Clarke Murphy, just 15 minutes from pole position.
VO65 Ambersail sailed by American skipper Clarke Murphy is vying for Line Honours © https://www.janisspurdzins.com/sailing
The next waypoint is over 160 miles away at the Ristna Lighthouse off the Estonian island of Hiiumaa. The three leaders are on a broad reach, the absolute sweet spot for the Volvo boats with boat speed in the high ‘teens, the canting keel flyers are battling full-on.
“So far this has been a very tricky but great race!” commented Jens Lindner from on board GP Bullhound. “We are having a really tight battle and we think we will be fully engaged right up to the finish line.”
For the overall win under IRC, the ranking has been changing at almost every update, from data provided by the YB Trackers on board, combined with the fixed IRC rating of each boat.
The current overall leader under IRC is Tilmar Hansen’s German TP 52 Outsider which rounded Gotland just after 0800 local time. Four boats are virtually tied for second in the overall IRC ranking, including three boats in IRC Zero: German Carkeek 47 Störtebeker, skippered by Torben Muehlbach with a young team from the HSV. Volvo 70’s GP Bullhound and I Love Poland are also challenging for the overall podium.
The team on Störtebeker will no doubt be enjoying a spectacular view of the West Coast of Gotland as the German team are tucked right inshore. The limestone cliffs above the crystal clear waters of the Baltic Sea are one of the highlights of the stunning nature of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race.
Crews will be enjoying spectacular scenery along the course, such as the limestone cliffs on Gotland's West Coast © gotlandexcursion.se
Störtebeker, the German Carkeek 47 skippered by Torben Muehlbach with a young team from the HSV © Pepe Korteniemi/RORC
Kenneth Bjoerklund’s CNB 76 Enderpearl made a massive gain inshore at the Almagrundet Lighthouse. Enderpearl is the biggest, but also heaviest boat in the race and suffered in the light airs at the start. However, the move inshore was a game changer, putting the team into a local wind effect. Subsequently Enderpearl is into the fresh gradient wind and at one stage after rounding Almagrundet Lighthouse was leading the race overall under IRC.
Kenneth Bjoerklund’s CNB 76 Enderpearl enjoying great racing in the Roschier Baltic Sea Race © Emmi Hakala/Enderpearl
The nine boats in IRC One just failed to round the Almagrundet Lighthouse before the breeze shut down in the conversion zone. Twenty miles from the lighthouse, three boats headed northeast in the last of the breeze: Martin Buck’s German Pogo 44 MarieJo, Niclas Heurlin’s Swedish Farr 400 Wetjob and Ed Bell’s British JPK 1180 Dawn Treader. The strategy worked as all three got into the fresh breeze first to pass Arto Linnervuo’s Finnish xP-44 Xtra-Staerk. Dawn Treader is now close to the rhumb line, about 90 miles from rounding Gotland, leading the ranking for IRC One and placed fifth overall for the race. MarieJo and Wetjob put in extra miles to sail west of the rhumb line but may have a better angle to round Gotland.
Martin Buck’s German Pogo 44 MarieJo was one of three boats which headed northeast in the last of the breeze © Pepe Korteniemi/RORC
On day two at about 20:00 local time, the 10 teams racing in IRC Two ran out of breeze approximately 40 miles from the Almagrundet Lighthouse outside the Stockholm archipelago. The park up was short-lived; two hours later the fleet was making good progress west. However, the effect of the shutdown was to compress the fleet to produce a new leader in the IRC Two rank - Paer Lindfors & Nadine Kugel racing Albin Nova Team Mobline. Finnish J/109 Irie, raced Two-Handed by Julius Haartti & Sanna Moliis drops to second, with Nola third. Margus Uudam’s Estonian J/112 Nola still leads on the water and that lead has extended to about two miles from Olof Granander’s Swedish First 40.7 Embla.
Two-Handers Paer Lindfors & Nadine Kugel on their Albin Nova Team Mobline are currently leading IRC Two © Team Mobline
Just before 10:00 local time, Finnish Swan 441 Carissa was the latest team to round the Almagrundet Lighthouse. All of the eight crew, skippered by Raija Alapeteri are from the Ocean Ladies Association which has 200 members with sailing backgrounds varying from beginners to racing veterans.
Hello from the race course - Ocean Ladies on the Finnish Swan 441 Carissa
Team Mobline is ranked as leader of IRC Two-Handed and sixth in IRC overall, just over an hour ahead of the Finnish J/109 Irie, raced Two-Handed by Julius Haartti & Sanna Moliis. Team Mobline is a Swedish 1984 Albin Nova raced by Paer Lindfors & Nadine Kugel under the burgee of the Runmarö Yacht Club, located on Runmarö Island in the Värmdö archipelago. Anders Lundmark and Louise Edgren racing Danish Figaro 2 The Spirit leads the class on the water and has approximately 110 miles to race to round Gotland.
Report by Louay Habib for RORC.