Estonian teams take early lead in ORC Europeans
10 September 2018
a hot Cypriot sun, the 29 teams entered in the 2018 ORC European
Championship today made their way through patchy and shifty
conditions to produce the first race results of the event from a
short offshore race sailed in Akrotiri Bay. From a starting line
laid out in front of the beach palms and cabanas at the host
Famagusta Nautical Club, the fleet raced upwind to a mark off Cape
Gata, the southernmost point on the island, then back to a mark east
of FNC, with Class C then sailing upwind to the finish off Limassol
Marina and Class AB racing on another lap.
The total course distance for Class C was 21.8 miles and for Class AB was 40.4 miles, and with start times at about 10:00 local time, the first finishers in Class C crossed the line at about 15:00 and Class AB at about 17:00.
The first boat to cross the finish in Class C was Tamumm-Marineshop, a modified Farr 30 from Thessaloniki, Greece skippered by Antonis Katigiannakis. With an elapsed time of 4H 24M 55S, this is one of the fastest-rated boats in the class, with their bold and bright red and black graphics easily seen on the clear blue Cypriot sea.
“The wind conditions were quite varied,” said Katigiannakis. “There was some pressure along the right side of the course, and some further offshore on the left, but a hole in the middle,” he said. “The trick was knowing where to stay in the breeze both on the way out to the first mark, and the way back.”
A team that played this well was the 2016 European Champion, Aivar Tuulberg’s custom Cossutti 38 Katariina II from Estonia. Skipper Karl-Hannes Tagu said they stayed to the outside in the pressure for most of the race, and could see where a mis-step into a hole would lead to disaster.
“We tried best we could to stay in the breeze, which really varied a lot,” said Tagu. This team has been particularly active all summer and is well-tuned for this week, competing in The Hague at the Offshore Worlds in July, then Copa del Rey in Palma in August, and now here in Cyprus. “Yes, we’ve been really busy,” admitted Tuulberg, whose low-key under-stated style masks the intensity this team puts into their ORC championship racing. Katariina II is a completely re-built version of their first custom Katariina launched in 2015. After this week the team plans to leave their boat over the winter in Ancona, Italy – not to avoid the cold Estonian winter but to do even more modifications before next season’s racing in the Med.
In finishing today only 5 minutes behind Tamumm, the Estonians were left with a 2:22 margin to defeat the class runner-up, Rudolf Vestral’s Czech-based Italia 9.98 Giulia in corrected time, with George Drakopoulos’s Bavaria Match 35 Blue Line from Greece in third by only 14 seconds after four and a half hours of racing.
On the long course it was another Estonian team dominating the results in Class AB, Mati Sepp’s Polli-modifed X-41 Technonicol, and by a similar margin: 2:50 in corrected time after nearly 7 hours of racing over Tomas Dolezal’s Swan 42 Daring Sisters from the Czech Republic. In third by another 3 minutes in corrected time was Easy Swisha’s X-41 NEXT from Israel.
Sailors in both classes – AB and C – will be having a leisure evening tonight because the start of racing tomorrow will not be until 13:00 local time, with the course area placed off the beach between FNC and Limassol Harbor. Beachgoers will have full view of the spectacle as both classes battle all afternoon in two windward-leeward races.