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Challenging Conditions – Rolex Race Week

Just when conditions on the Bay of Lubeck seemed like they could get no more challenging for Rolex Baltic Week, so today large clouds passing overhead were responsible for reaping havoc on the race course.

Race six of the Star European Championship was started and then stopped at the gun as the wind shifted. It was then restarted once the wind appeared to have settled only to be cancelled again at the weather mark. Just before the ‘return to port’ horns were sounded as the Stars were clawing their way round, Norwegian unknowns Eivind Melleby and Lasse Kjus had been first to reach the top mark but their moment of glory was shortened when they were informed by the race committee that they had been over early at the start.

Meanwhile deeper into the bay, boats competing in Rolex Baltic Week’s IMS Offshore World Championship had an early start. With four races scheduled they had to contend with the most testing conditions. The race committee just managed to run all four and among the larger boats in division one there were four different winners: Christian Plump’s Evento 46 HLL Hanseatic Lloyd beat Sergey Shevtsov’s strong Russian team Yugtranszit into second place in the first race but could manage no better than a mid-fleet finish in the second, while the Russian team from the Azov Sea scored their second win of the series. In the third race it was the turn of Carl Edward Jansen’s Norwegian team on board 2 obnoxious finishing ahead of fellow countrymen Olympic Laser sailor Peer Moberg’s team on board the Grand Soleil 42R Al Cap One, also second in the previous race. Another Norwegian yacht in the form of Jarle Kristiansen’s X-Treme claimed line honours ahead of the Russians in the final race.

Volvo Ocean Race veteran Matt Humphreys, racing here on board Frans von der Heijden’s Swedish Sinergia 40, earlier this year outright winner of the Gotland Rund and now second overall, described the day’s conditions: “It was a hard day, really shifty. The saddest thing was in race three where we were leading on the water and then we got totally becalmed. We sat there for probably 40 minutes and then the fleet turned itself inside out.”

In the following race they were becalmed for 10-15 minutes. “We were 4th or 5th at the top mark,” said Humphries of that race. “And then we went down the right hand side picked up some breeze and came in under everyone and then 11-12 knots came in and brought the whole fleet down. So it was not a good day.” Today their best result was fourth in race two.

Despite consistently mid-fleet results throughout the day the Dutch IMS champions on board Frans von der Heidjen’s Sinergia 40 Daikin Airco were happy with their performance since they had nearly not made Rolex Baltic Week at all. “We did very well today considering our boat has only just been relaunched since we broke the rudder on the way over here from Holland,” said main sheet trimmer Stjn Becker, who felt the performance of his team from Scheveningen had improved through the day despite the conditions.. “It was very hard sailing, very cloudy, so lots of shifts and big differences in wind strength. We ran out of wind, but everyone ran out of wind.”

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 14th, 2006 at 4:54 pm and is filed under Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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