Roccabella wins Leg 1 of the Thousand Islands Race
20 September 2017
Latvian Roccabella with Edgars Salmanis at the helm is the winner of
the first leg of the Fifth Thousand Islands Race. Favourable winds
accompanied sailors throughout the entire course and it turned out
that the first leg was different from the previous years. At the
start in Rijeka in light wind Chilean Mardivino singled out and
given the forecast at one point it seemed that for the first time
Mardivino would be the boat to choose the course on the west side of
the island of Cres.
However, the wind soon filled Kvarner bay and less risky course would be to leave island of Cres to the right and continue through narrow straight between islands Krk and Cres was chosen by everyone. This year's fleet is fairly balanced in performance and all sailboats throughout the course were often within just a few nautical miles. The average speeds were generally between 8 and 10 knots until Monday morning when calms in the area between Šibenik and Rogoznica put the fleet to rest and waiting for Maestral.
In past years, one of the decisive points in the regatta was to pass island of Korčula either onto starboard or through the channel between islands Hvar and Korčula. The former was the choice of entire fleet thus avoiding twisters that occurred after fleet passed island of Korčula.
And then in the end, once again, the unpredictability of Boka Kotorska Bay was revealed. The finish line in Tivat in front of Porto Montenegro first crossed Chilean Mardivino helmed by Miguel Gonzales after 52:41:19 hours of sailing hoping that this will be enough to win under corrected time. But it was not, because the Latvian Roccabella finished almost exactly 2 hours after Mardivino what was enough giving them 43:08 minutes advantage under the corrected time. The wind slowed down after that in the bay of Boka Kotorska favouring Roccabella in relation to still racing boats.
Along the real time tracking system on the web sites of the regatta, finishing times for each boat to take the lead under corrected time after first boat finished, were also posted. As long as these numbers were marked in green boats behind had chance to overtake Rocabella, but once they all turned red Roccabella’s victory of the first leg was confirmed. Mardivino held second place ahead of Lithuanian Hispaniola helmed by Saulius Veselauskas taking third. Rest of the fleet crossed the finish line during the night from Tuesday September 19 to Wednesday September 20.
In multihull category Austrian Sayg I retired after breakdown near Šibenik, luckily without any severe consequence to the boat or the crew and after British Proper Job Two did not start German Proteus helmed by Werner Stoltz remained the only multihull still competing and crossing the finish line after 57:23:56 as fourth boat in real time.
Latvian Roccabella will not race the second lap and fight for title of overall winner of the Fifth Thousand Island Race will be interesting to follow.