• Swan 60s get underway in the Nord Stream Race. Photo World Wide Images.
    Swan 60s get underway in the Nord Stream Race. Photo World Wide Images.
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May 30 sees the start of Nord Stream Race 2014. Many international top-class sailors, including world and European champions, Olympians and many America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veterans, have entered the competition.

Saint Petersburg gave the participants of Nord Stream Race 2014 a warm though rather rainy welcome. However, the weather had no effect on the good mood. All skippers expressed their excitement and answered the questions of journalists during today’s opening press conference in anticipation of the race. Race director Alan Green explained that the crews will have to be ready for some difficult light wind conditions during the first leg: “Sailors know that little wind is often more exhausting than strong wind.” So much is clear: It will definitely get exciting.

Nord Stream Race is already well known for its variety. “Every single one of the previous races has been completely different, no matter whether this was because of the wind conditions, the event timing or the competitors. However this is exactly what makes the regatta so attractive”, says Tim Kröger, Skipper of Team Europe.

Tommaso Chieffi, tactician of Team Russia, could also tell the press about tension and excitement. Last year the team of owner Vladimir Liubomirov reached the finish line in a nail-biting fight after having raced for 800 nautical miles. “And this was only with a difference of one boat length to the winning Team Britain.”

A lot of attention for the newcomers

Especially the newcomers in the Swan 60 fleet got a lot of attention. One of them is Team China with owner Yeliang Fan and skipper Lorenzo Bortolotti: “We are newcomers to this race but we are no beginners”, so the America’s Cup veteran. “However we still have a lot to learn on this new boat.”

The situation is similar for Team Estonia of skipper Alar Volmer: “We have a very good crew but unfortunately not a lot of experience with the Swan 60.”

The core of the crew from Tallinn has been sailing together on a 42 ft yacht for years and has already been amateur world champion in the ORC 1 class. The team of the Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge is still dreaming about such success: The young crew around the Russian Whitbread Round the World Race participant and Olympian Sergey Borodinov is still at the beginning of their sailing career. “We have a long way to go but every mile we sail will bring us more experience.”

Leg 1: 150 nautical miles from Saint Petersburg to Helsinki    

At the moment the yachts are moored in the center of Saint Petersburg at the English Embankment. Tomorrow morning they will make their way towards the fortress island of Kronstadt, where the customs and emigration formalities will be completed. The start of the race is scheduled for 2pm.

Depending on the weather conditions the fleet is expected to reach Helsinki on Saturday afternoon after 150 nautical miles of sailing. However, everyone who has ever sailed before knows that many criteria come together. Currently it looks like a light wind race but this can change at any time.

Of course there will be a race tracker available online again so that fans, friends and family at home can follow the race at any time: Every participating yacht will be equipped with a GPS unit. Beginning with the start in Saint Petersburg on 30th of May every movement of the boats can be seen on the race tracker on the Nord Stream Race website. So go online and follow the race live.

www.nord-stream-race.com

 

PROGRAMME*

30. May 2014
14:00 (local time)

Start Leg 1
from Saint Petersburg to Helsinki, 150 nautical miles

31. May 2014

Finish Leg 1
in Helsinki

1. June 2014
11:00 (local time)

In-port Races/WB Sail Race
in Helsinki

2. June 2014
11:00 (local time)

Start Leg 2
from Helsinki to Rostock-Warnemünde, 600 nautical miles

4.-6. June 2014

Finish Leg 2
in Rostock-Warnemünde

7. June 2014
11:00 (local time)

Concluding press conference and subsequent prize giving ceremony; Sail & Cook event

*subject to change

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