FINEST Offshore series started strong
21 Mayl 2018
strong fleet of 25 ORC boats competed in the E4 Championship in
Tallinn, Estonia – 17 teams from Estonia and 8 from Finland
including some of the top ORC boats and teams in the world.
The event was a second stage of the Kalev Yacht Club’s offshore sailing series called SEIKO CUP 2018 but it was also the first event of the FINEST Offshore Series 2018 in recognition that Finnish and Estonian ORC sailors have decided to join forces. In co-operation with Finnish Offshore Racing Association and Offshore Racing Committee of the Estonia Yachting Union FINEST Offshore Series 2018 was created consisting of three events in 2018 – two in Estonia and one in Finland, including a joint ORC Estonian and Finnish Championship. The main principles of this series it to:
- have more ORC boats together on the starting line by joining the fleets
- create more competitive and international level events in the area
- give better preparation for the ORC championship title events
- provide more inshore races on windward-leeward courses
The E4 Championship was created 11 years ago with an aim to provide early season inshore racing and training on windward-leeward courses to refine teamwork and manoeuvers during the two days of the regatta. Besides ORC boats from Finland and Estonia there were also Folkboats, Dragons and LYS class boats competing at the same event. The organizers and sailors were blessed with amazingly beautiful summer-like weather. The first racing day started with the AP up ashore until midday, but then the wind built up and the racing started in the early afternoon. On Saturday the Triple Number coefficients in the HIGH range were used in all three races held with an average of 12-14 knots wind with gusts of 18-20 knots. The first race course was too short because wind picked up during the race and made it shorter than planned. The second day was sailed in a bit lighter winds with an average of 10 knots so MEDIUM coefficients were used for the results. The series of six races was held during two days of racing and one discard applied after four races sailed.
All 25 ORC boats were started in the same fleet, with entries varying from 34-footers up to a Cookson 50. The organizers admitted they should have been using a spreader mark with the upwind mark and gates instead of a single downwind mark with such fleet, but there was no damage despite some very close roundings. There were three boats that managed to win races – Olympic EST463 X-41 (3), Mercedes-AMG FIN45 X-41 (2) and Katariina II EST949 One Off 36 (1). On the first day only X-41’s and One Off boats managed to be in the top 3 results, but on the second day with the lighter winds the NM385 and 34-footers managed to also be in the top ranks.
This tight and competitive racing was great practice and preparation for future events. The organizer’s decision not to split the fleet was welcomed as it gave the true feeling of a big event and the competition was fierce. The best and most consistent scores of 1-3-1-1-(9)-8 was sailed by the X-41 Olympic EST463 helmed by Tiit Vihul. Their total of 14 points gave them a 6.5 point margin (3-1-(17)-4-1-11,5) over another X-41, Jani Lehti’s Mercedes-AMG FIN45 with Riku Nissilä on the helm, who has been steering this same boat when it was named Nicolé. Sven Nuutmann’s Eesti Meedia Sailing Team with Juss Ojala helming the brand new One Off 37 designed by Cossutti Yacht Design and built at Ridas Yachts in Estonia was performing strongly, being only 1.5 points behind on scores of (7-4-2-6-(17)-3), thus completing the podium. Other top five finishers included the X-35 My Car of Harles Liiv in fourth and another Cossutti One Off 36, Aivar Tuulberg’s Katariina II.
The second event of the FINEST Offshore Series will be held in Talinn again in less than one month, where during Baltic Offshore Week the ORC Estonian and Finnish champions will be determined from among the 40 boats already entered.