Some races are more special than others and attract sailors from far away. It may be for historic reasons, for great parties ort the number of boats on the starting line.
The Færder Race have all of those components, and that’s why wee ceep coming back each year, despite nearly 400 nm transport back and fourth.
It’s been dubbed ”the Worlds largest overnight race” with over XXX boats in many different classes racing a number of different courses; all starting in the middle of Oslo and finishing in Horten in the middle of the Oslo Fjord.
The bigger boats races 85 nm to Tristein, just outside the iconic Færder lighthouse, and the race usually provide everything from calm in the narrow Drøbak straits to offshore conditions out by the lighthouse. And everything in between.
The two J/111, Blur and Dacapo, where in the racing class R40 with four Xp-38, three Arcona 410, a couple of First 40 and a number of other fast boats. In total 41 of Norway’s and Sweden’s most competitive 40-footers.
The weather forecast pointed to a northerly 10-12 knots, possibly 14-16 in the evening, so it should be a fast race. Our routing indicated a finish around midnight and 01:00 saturday morning.
Friday morning greeted us with a grey sky and a few drops of rain. The wind we’re pretty much as forecasted, but as usually very puffy inside Oslo. We all remembered our famous chinese gybe in the same conditions just a few years ago:
But we shouldn’t make that misstake again!
The tricky part was to choose between A5 or the big A2 Whomper, as the wind went back and forth 30 degrees. We made a late call for the A5 and got a nice hole 20% down from the northern mark where there were a lot of boats including J/111 Dacapo. To leeward we had both Bavaria 42 Match Ille Moro (winner of many regattas in Norway) as well as Arcona 410 DAD Sportsware with UK sailmaker Anders Nordström. The race was on.
After the first few puffs we were slightly ahead of the fleet and peeled to the A2 Whomper and went for TWA 150 which tends to be the fastest angle in a blow. I was a bit worried at the start that we would be under-powered, but I didnät have to worry. There was plenty of power. We struggled as the wind shifted 20 degrees back and we had to go back and forth between soaking and planing modes.
Every time there was a big puff we extended on the fleet.
The wind increased all the way down the fjord as we passed through the shorthanded fleet that started 10 minutes ahead. Most of them had blown out their spinnakers and where sailing with white sails. We picked a lighter spot for the gybe, and hit the mark at the perfect angle. The last stretch was amazing with 15 knots average and a 19 knots peak when we passed a capsized F18. Wow. The first leg took just under an hour and we were way ahead already.
We choose to go to J2 and then re-set the A5 for a fast reach down to Drøbak where we peeled back to the A2. We had some troubles since two of our spinnaker sheets were chafed during the first leg, so there was some quick maintenance needed. Dacapo choose a more westerly routed and caught up a little before we got in to the groove again.
Towards Filtvet it was straight forward. The current was with us, so we tried to stay middle or west where there was more pressure. A decent leg where we managed to keep the distance.
After Filtvet we had a decent lead. The first gennaker is a First 45 that started ahead. The red is J/111 Dacapo and Arcona 410 DAD is still at Filtvet.
We changed helmsman & trimmers to get some rest after an intense first part. Pelle and Magnus worked hard to stay in the curraent and also work the shifts. We had TWD ranging from 000 to 030, and managed to get the most of it while staying to the west of the fleet. We had some luck with the shifts getting around Fulehuk at the east end of Bolærne.
Then it got very light, but we sailed conservatively on rhumbline working the puffs that came along. We caught up with three of the X-41s, the King 40 Magic and a ILC-40. All of them started 20 minutes ahead. And now we couldn’t see the boats in our class, except for Dacapo with the red gennaker. Photo: NSF.
We even used the code 0 for the last 200 meters to the Tristein mark.
Rounding Tristein the forecast was for 14-20 knots of wind. But it was alread evening and very light, so we didn’t trust the forecast. Started out with J1 but soon we had 12 knots of wind hand had to go to #2. Initially we managed to match the King 40 and the X-41s, but as the wind picked up we lost them. Photos: Mats Herding Solberg.
We stayed west and went through Bolærerna, pretty much the same way as everyone else. We tried to stay out of the current and the choppy sea.
Suddenly we had 20 knots and went to J3.5 just before it got dark (as dark as it gets in Scandinavia this time of year. I e you can still wear sunglasses). Pretty tough sailing, but we managed to sail to the polars. But we knew that the bigger boats were catching up fast in those conditions.
At the buoy in Åsgårdsstrand we met the boats from the shorter courses. Lot’s of Express and similar boats who got into a lot of trouble after rounding for the last upwind.
We had an Express dropping the rig just to leeward, several boats had torn sails, some went had to wind with engine and sails just flogging. It was chaos and carnage. But under a full moon it was kind of spectacular.
We worked hard all the way to finish and crossed the line just after 00:30. We knew we had done a great race, but not really sure how much the bigger boats had gained during the lass hours of upwind slog.
1 Blur J/111 Peter Gustafsson (CCYC) 1,075 11:22:40 (corr 12:13:52)
2 DAD Sprtswear Arcona 410 Anders Nordström (GKSS) 1,059 +02:29
3 Fortitude First 40.7 Erling B. Skallerud (Asker) 1,029 +03:56
4 First Tracks first 40.7 Svenn Erik Hansen(Drammen) 1,031 +08:58
5 Breezin Xp 38 Morten Gaarud (KNS) 1,036 +09:59
6 Ille Moro Bavaria 42Match Ludvig Daae (Bundefjorden) 1,048 +10:13
7 Venus Xp 38 Egil Norli (Fredrikstad) 1,035 +14:31
8 Dacapo J 111 Jørgen G. Heje (KNS) 1,062 +15:33
9 Flash V First 40 Erik Krister (Sandefjord) 1,050 +21:58
10 Xpronto Xp 38 Rune Øverås (KNS) 1,048 +25:56