2018 ORC European fleet poised and ready to race
9 September 2018
a fleet that is not overly large but is incredibly diverse, two
classes will start battling tomorrow for two class crowns in the
2018 ORC European Championship. This is the first ORC championship
event held this far east in Mediterranean waters, with sixteen teams
in Classes AB representing the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia,
France, Israel, Russia and Ukraine, and thirteen teams in Class C
from these countries plus Greece. All will start the five-day
championship tomorrow with an offshore race off the coast of
Limassol of 39-mile duration for Class AB, while Class C will
race a 21-mile course. Racing starts in the morning at 10:00 local
time, with a time limit of 21:00.
"The goal is to give the teams a chance to sail this course in the thermal breeze during daylight hours," says Principal Race Officer Giancarlo Crevatin, "and our forecast indicates that this will build from light in the morning and may reach up to 20 knots in the late afternoon."
Most of the local-based teams are new to this championship-level of ORC racing, but there are some loyal veterans who are back from past events in quest of a 2018 title crown.
In Class B, for example, Mati Sepp from Estonia brings a strong team with numerous podium performances on his modified X-41 Technonicol, while another team from Estonia, Aivar Tuulberg's custom Cossutti-designed Katariina II, was the 2016 ORC European Champion in Class C at that year's event held in Porto Carras, Greece and wants to claim the title again this year. In Class A the local-based team racing on Nicolas Epiphaniou's Corel 45 Iron FX will be hard to beat being the fastest boat with some of the best local knowledge in the fleet.
One third of the fleet here is from a nation relatively new to ORC championship racing: Israel. These teams have also sent some of their best sailors to Limassol, including Ayal Hamburger's First 44.7 Spirit, who has 470 Olympian Eyal Levin on the helm. Most of these teams will also be racing back to Tel Aviv on September 16th in the Cyprus - Israel Regatta.
Today the fleet practiced on a race course set out on the Limassol beachfront, with the reliable Cypriot seabreeze that propelled the Opti World Championships last week kicking in today at 12-15 knots. This produced close racing among the Class A and Class B entries racing together but being scored separately, and among the Class C entries who have their own separate start.
"Our current forecast models indicate we should have this all week," says Crevatin. "So our intent is to have the larger faster boats in Classes A and B racing 3 laps around the course area, and Class C just two laps. In this wind we will have very close racing all week." Seven inshore races are planned for the Championship fleet.
There is an adjacent regatta to the 2018 ORC European Championship that carries on the tradition of the annual Ioannideia Regatta held here that brings more casual cruisers to race on the Limassol coastline. Called the Challenge Trophy Mare Nostrum, the 19 boats entered in this event are mostly from Cyprus and Israel and are racing using ORC Club certificates with a more casual format of less buoy racing and more short distance coastal courses being held in the same general area as the main event. Scoring and race management are being treated separately as a "Class D" and all participants enjoy the same shoreside hospitality as crews racing for European Champion titles in Classes A, B and C.