Two teams poised for the top at ORC Europeans


12 September 2018

  Today the Cypriot sun blazed hot and bright in a brilliant blue sky, with no haze or humidity and a refreshing burst of fresh breeze for Races 6 and 7 in the 2018 ORC European Championship. On the warm clear water right off the beach here in Limassol, its hard to imagine better sailing anywhere in the world than here today: the breeze starting at 13 knots from the southwest and built into the high teens, with the racing was fast and close, particularly in Class AB. And with another good day now behind them, the two teams who have been leading both their classes all week are positioned well to claim their European Champion crowns after tomorrow's final race in the series.

Mati Sepp's modified X-41 Technonicol from Estonia grabbed and has maintained the lead in Class AB from the first offshore race on Monday, and today in the first race came out strong to put another bullet on the scoreboard to match their three others earned in the first three races. However, the details in corrected time are more telling: the margin of victory over their nearest rival was only 24 seconds in over an hour of racing. This rival, the Czech-based team led by Tomas Dolezal and Radim Parizek on their Swan 42 Daring Sisters, is highly-experienced from years of past campaigns on their First 40.7 named Three Sisters and among their trophies was a Bronze medal at the in Class B at the 2014 ORC Worlds in Kiel.

With the breeze building into the next race, Daring Sisters looked poised to have another good result when disaster struck: at the leeward gate in a spinnaker takedown incident a crew member was injured with a cut to the head and had to be evacuated by RIB off the boat and taken to hospital...fortunately pit man Stepan Satoransky was patched up and is OK. Nonetheless, the team withdrew from this race, yet even with a new 17-point DNF discard they remain in contention, only two points out of third place in the standings.

The second race then became an even closer race than the first, with a newcomer to the winner's circle - Oleg Stashkevych's Ukrainian team on his XP 44 Maestro - taking the race win by only 13 seconds over Mikhail Kadetov's Skif 42 St Anna. This runner-up performance by Kadetov's Russian team and a third place in the first race today showed that their race win yesterday was no fluke and they have worked hard to earn their two-point lead over the Czech team for second place in the overall standings. The Russians had an even closer margin of victory over Technonicol's Estonians: an astounding 1 second in corrected time after an hour and a half of racing!

Class C racing in today's stronger breeze was dominated by only one team: the week-long class leader, Aivar Tuulberg's Cossutti-designed Katariina II from Estonia. Their winning margins were close but more comfortable than those seen among the larger boats in Class AB, with the their week-long rivals - the Czech team on Rudolf Vrestal's Italia 9.98 Giulia - coming the closest at 45 seconds behind in the second race of the day. Giulia was a little further back by a margin of 1:17 in the first race, and a newcomer to the top in this class - George Drakopoulos's Greek team on his Bavaria 35 Match Blue Line - managed to take third place in both races.

So, for tomorrow's final showdown, the Class AB ORC European Champion crown will go to whoever can not only defeat Technonicol but also put another 7 points between them if its St Anna or 9 points if its Daring Sisters. Only the Czech team on Giulia has a chance to stop the Estonians on Katariina II from winning their second European championship crown And in Class C the race for the crown is tighter, but only with one close contender: Katariina has to stay within 4 points of Giulia, or the Czechs have to win with more than that margin to claim the title.

In any case, the wind forecast for tomorrow is similar to today, so at 1300 should be the start of a fast and furious final conclusion to this first-ever ORC championship event held in Cyprus.





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