ORC European Championship 2019

Idag drar ORCi-Em igång i Oxelösund. Foto: MarcS.

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Near-perfect conditions produce close practice
racing at SSAB ORC European Championship 2019

70 entries to compete from 8 nations for three 2019 ORC European Champion titles starting tomorrow

Oxelosund, Sweden – A mix of sun and clouds today and a highly variable southwesterly breeze greeted both race managers and competitors on the practice day prior to tomorrow’s start of the SSAB ORC European Championship 2019. Principal Race Officer Hakan Andersson and his team managed starts and short races in two course areas: one for Classes A and B about a 10-mile commute from the harbor in Oxelosund, and another for Class C about half that distance away.

The 8-14 knot wind speeds and variable directions helped challenge all in their skill sets, making for near-perfect conditions for a demanding day on the water.

Some teams took advantage of the opportunity to practice on the race course today, while others focused on their own team work and practice on the water or other preparations done ashore and at the dock. By 10:00 at the first Skipper’s Briefing the technical committee had inspected and approved all boats to race, and the Race Committee was informed by many competitors that a proposed change in schedule to start the event with two inshore races followed immediately by an overnight Offshore race be reconsidered…this was approved and announced later at the second skipper’s briefing held at 19:00 in the evening.

This second briefing also revealed a clever solution to another issue for the organizers: to give the host town of Oxelosund a parade of sail in the harbor at 18:00 tomorrow, the original planned time to start the Offshore race. Instead, the competitors will race two inshore races, then after returning and at their own discretion, participate in a fun promotional race that starts in the harbor and finishes at a channel mark a few miles out. As incentive to participate, the inner of this fun race will receive a new AIS unit, courtesy of event sponsor True Heading.

The last news was the final list of all-amateur teams eligible for the Corinthian trophies awarded in each class was also produced at this meeting: 34 entries have been approved.

In practice race action for Class A, only four teams participated and completed an 8.6-mile three-lap Windward/Leeward course. Erik Berth’s Swan 45 SD Tarok 7 from Denmark bested the runner-up Aida, Lennart Evrell’s XP-44 from Sweden, by 56 seconds in corrected time.

In Class B action, 18 teams raced a two-lap 5.9-mile Windward/Leeward course, with Riku Nissila’s X-41 Mercedes-Benz EQ from Finland on top of the pack, only 4 seconds ahead of runner-up Jens Kuphal’s modified Landmark 43 Intermezzo from Germany in second. Another 49 seconds back was Priit Tammemagi’s modified X-41 Premium from Estonia in third, while C-J Marnell’s Farr 40 Warpath from Sweden was only 7 seconds back in fourth. This kind of close racing in corrected time amongst teams from multiple nations is a prelude of the type of results we will expect to see this week from this class.

And in Class C of 26 of 36 teams participated for racing on a 2.25-mile one-lap course, with a predictable large number of BFD’s assigned due to aggressive starting: eleven teams in the class. Punching through the crowd and earning the win in this practice race was the reigning Class C World Champions, the mixed Estonian-Italian Sugar team, this time racing OU Leitvaagen’s Italia 9.98, rather than the new Italia 11.98 they raced in June at the 2019 ORC Worlds in Croatia. But the margins were close: Anders Helmrich’s Farr 30 Cheyenne from Sweden was second by only 37 seconds, and in third by a mere 8 seconds more was another Estonian team, Prantsuse Jahtlaevad OU’s Salona 38 bc Credit 24 Reval Café.

The forecast for tomorrow’s first two inshore races of the series and the promotional fun race looks solid: southwest to west winds of 10-18 knots, and shifty again like today. Racing will continue daily until concluding on Saturday, August 17th, when three podiums of 2019 ORC European Champions will be crowned for each class.