Godspeed 52 wins Leg 1 of Thousand Islands Race
26 September 2018
Peter Steinkolger on Godspeed 52 is the winner of 278 NM long first
leg of Thousand Islands Race from Rijeka to Tivat. Single word
description of the leg would be - BURA. Strong and gusty offshore NE
wind caused by cold inland air precipitating to the sea from top of
the high mountainous range along eastern Adriatic coast that
numerous books and studies are written about over centuries and is
eternal challenge for sailors to master. In six years of Thousand
Island Race BURA is regular partner but first time influnced sailors
so significantly even before the start and of course during racing.
The reason was the forecast that called for gusts of 60-80 knots and
caused originally entered 17 boats from 10 countires reducing down
to 9 starters one multihul included. Modern times provide access to
loads of information and various prognosis that one could trust and
follow in deciding to race or not, thinking primarily about safety
of its own crew and boat.
Start was in drifting conditions and boats were crawling between islands Krk and Cres hoping to get quickly through known area of light irregular winds and reach island Plavnik to get fresher winds. No surprise Wild Joe was the fastest boat and reached island Silba quickly. Given the forecast they decided to turn back and hide in Mali Lošinj waiting for bura to form and vent off. Others followed suit shortly after and racing was rather report where each of them is stationed: Hispaniola decided to retire and returned to Rijeka, Cassiopea stoped in Rab, Cleansport One in Sali, trimaran Sayg I in Ilovik.
Godspeed 52 choose to continue through Zadar canal where bura was little weaker that later will be proven as detrimental for their first leg win. Slovakian Lucia X owned by Milan Fabian with Croatian crew of Sailing Club Plav from island Krk and Montenegrin crew with Jeremija Kurbanović helming onboard Stribor were only two boats continued but all of them sheltered in leeward of islands several times to change rig to storm set to meet the conditions.
Conditions demonstarted also importance of thourough safety equipment scrutiny that is traditionlly and persistently held in Rijeka before the start of each Thousand Islands Race. It followed that Cleansport One and Sayg I retired from the race and Cassiopea continued and also Wild Joe after stop of more then 24 h in Mali Lošinj and attempted to cross the finish line in Tivat within time limit expiring within next 29 hours.
Godspeed 52 crossed finish line at Porto Montenegro marina on Tuesday 25 September at 14:36:52 after 50:36:52 h with bura that was still gusting 40 knots. At the time of her finish two boats still had chance to win on corrected time. Lucia X needed to finish before 19:32 h. Unfortunatelly after 56 hours of racing she missed to win this leg by 36 minutes. Montenegrin crew cheered by local social media needed to hit home waters finish line by 02:30 to win on corrected times and it looked possible at some point. Perhaps storm sails did not allow for faster sailing and it ended at 05:11:11 and secured podium as third. Godspeed 52 secured its first place on first leg under elapsed and corrected time and is entering the second leg as favourite to win 6th Thousand Islands Race overall. Lucia X is second under corrected time.
After Wilde Joe decided to continue it attracted lot of attention as it sailed very fast up to 28 knots at times. Hovewer, could not reach the finish line because logistic reasons of her crew organisation prevented them to complete the leg so they announced retirement in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday and motored to Tivat. On entering Boka Kotorska bay they still reported 50 knots gusts of bura.
This first leg edition with fenomenal bura will for sure stay in long memory of all and all sailors deserve congratulations for their preparedness in mastering the conditions without any serious issues. Boats are now resting one day in fabulous Porto Montenegro marina before retun second leg start on Thursday 27 September at noon from Tivat to Rijeka.