Challenging light air in doublehanded Norwegian Championship

 24 September 2020


Norwegian Shorthanded Chamiponship was a light wind challenge for both sailors and organizers. Eight sailors can now call themselves Norwegian Shorthanded Champions. The championship was characterized by very easy and difficult conditions - both for sailors and organizers. Sunday's sailing was especially difficult, and it was characterized by some as a parody. The wind blew down from all sides between the moments of calm winds. Everyone who has arranged regattas in the Inner Oslo Fjord in the late autumn knows that it can be challenging, but the conditions the NM sailors were served were limited to the more extreme.

“I have seldom experienced such strange conditions in the Oslo Fjord before,” said regatta chief Espen Kuhle. “Sending the sailors out on a voyage like this was therefore a difficult decision to make. It was between getting a valid Championship - or not.”
The backdrop was this: the championship this year consisted of distance races, and there had to be at least two completed for the medals to be awarded.

The first day there was a light wind in the fjord which provided reasonable sailing for the boats that had the earliest starts or that got around the track the fastest, while those in the rear had a much longer day on the fjord than the foremost group.

On Sunday, conditions were even more difficult. The sea was clear, but later in the day a southerly wind became visible in the far south of the Inner Oslo Fjord. The wind belt moved slowly into the fjord; out by Håøya several stuffed spinnakers appeared. The forecast was for 3-4 m/sec of wind from the south in the afternoon, and it was the one that seemed to be on the rise.

“All the experts in the launch boat then believed that the south wind would spread across the fjord,” said Kuhle. However, the wind belt moved very slowly, and north of the front the wind blew down from all sides between the calm moments. Experience and the weather forecast, however, pointed in the direction that the south wind would eventually fill the entire fjord.

Time was also running out, as the sailing regulations specified that no boats would be allowed to finish after 6:00 PM. The deadline for being able to start a race where all participants could have a fair chance of reaching the finish line was approaching.

After conferring with leading sailors in the shorthanded community and believing that the south wind would come, the regatta commander decided to start. The alternative, and the shorthanded environment did not want it, was to blow it all off and send the sailors home without there being any valid Championship.

It looked promising when the start-up procedure was started. At the roundabout a few nautical miles south of the starting line, the buoy crews reported a nice, southerly wind. The surprise was therefore great for everyone when it initially hit a northern wind field which instead of biting wind gave all the sailors a boom start!

The solar wind never really hit during the race. Instead, the wind shifted north-south depending on the overall pressure systems - and occasionally there was tension in the field of boats and occasionally squeezing and what must be called restarts. Especially at the last rounding, there was a proper gathering where the majority of the nearly one hundred boats rounded in a huge cluster.
The result list shows, however, that it is the best who like to master such conditions, but when the result list is also determined by the boats' ratings, this can have a large effect when conditions are unstable and the field is either stretched or squeezed when the boats go to the finish.

And in that sense, it is possible to say that there was a kind of justice in the whole thing. On Saturday, it was the fast and large boats that took advantage of the fact that the wind died out for the boats with lower ratings Sunday was to their favor.

New DH champions are as follows:
Class A: Marius Løken, Røyken and Tim Sandberg, Tønsberg (Dehler 44)
Class B: Jon Holm, Oslo / Stefan Midteide, Ullern (J/109)
Class C: Silje Brathagen With, Asker / Christen With, Asker (X-34)
Sportsboat: Bjørn Forslund, Nesodden / Emil Forslund, Nesodden (Express)







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