Thrilling times as the breeze kicks in at Baltic Sea Race

By the morning of the third day of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race, the new 635 nautical mile event is producing thrilling competition, for both line honours and those in contention for overall wins.

The race for line honours has produced three different front runners and teams from all three IRC classes are ranked in the top 10 for the overall win.

A fresh northerly breeze is providing red-hot action with the leading boats pulling the trigger south of Gotland.

Those leading on the water had rounded the Swedish island of Gotland, while the slowest had made their way to the Almagrundet Lighthouse outside the Stockholm archipelago. Over 180 miles separates the fleet, but the rankings of the boats under the IRC rating system give a clear and exact picture of the leading boats in the race.

Yet another twist in the race for line honours, with flat water and solid breeze pumping up the action. Ambersail 2 rang the bell at the Helsinki Lighthouse while I Love Poland was first to Almagrundet Lighthouse.

VO65 Ambersail is vying for line honours – Janis Spurdzins pic

Now the Volvo 70 GP Bullhound has become the third boat to take pole position. Per Roman, at the helm of GP Bullhound, rounded the mark South of Gotland just after dawn on the third day of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race. I Love Poland skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski was just nine minutes behind. VO65 Ambersail, skippered by Clarke Murphy, is just 15 minutes from the leader.

The next waypoint is over 160 miles away at the Ristna Lighthouse off the Estonian island of Hiiumaa. The top three are on a broad reach, the absolute sweet spot for the Volvo boats, with boat speed in the high ‘teens.

“So far this has been a very tricky but great race,” Jens Lindner commented from GP Bullhound. “We are having a really tight battle and we think we will be fully engaged right up to the finish line.”

Spectacular scenery along the course includes these limestone cliffs on Gotland’s west coast – gotlandexcursion.se pic

For the overall win under IRC, the ranking has been changing at almost every update, from data provided by the YB Trackers on board, combined with the fixed IRC rating of each boat.

IRC Zero
The current overall leader under IRC is Tilmar Jansen’s German TP52, Outsider, which rounded Gotland just after 0800 local time.

Four boats are virtually tied for second in the overall IRC ranking, including three boats in IRC Zero: German Carkeek 47 Störtebeker, skippered by Torben Muehlbach with a young team from the HSV. Volvo 70’s GP Bullhound and I Love Poland are also challenging for the overall podium.

Störtebeker has a young team from the HSV – Störtebeker pic

The team on Störtebeker will no doubt be enjoying a spectacular view of the West Coast of Gotland as the German team are tucked right inshore. The limestone cliffs above the crystal-clear waters of the Baltic Sea are one of the highlights of the stunning nature of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race.

Kenneth Bjoerklund’s CNB 76 Enderpearl made a massive gain inshore at the Almagrundet Lighthouse. Enderpearl, the largest and heaviest boat in the race, suffered in the light airs at the start. However, the move inshore was a game changer, putting her into a local wind effect. Subsequently, she is into the fresh gradient wind.

IRC One
The nine boats in IRC One just failed to round the Almagrundet Lighthouse before the breeze shut down in the conversion zone. Twenty miles from the lighthouse, three boats headed north-east in the last of the breeze: Martin Buck’s German Pogo 44 MarieJo, Niclas Heurlin’s Swedish Farr 400 Wetjob and Ed Bell’s British JPK 1180 Dawn Trader.

MarieJo – one of three boats that headed north-east – Pepe Korteniemi pic

The strategy worked as all three got into the fresh breeze first to pass Arto Linnervuo’s Finnish xP-44 Xtra-Staerk. Dawn Treader is now close to the rhumb line, about 90 miles from rounding Gotland, leading the ranking for IRC One and placed fifth overall for the race. MarieJo and Wetjob put in extra miles to sail west of the rhumb line but may have a better angle to round Gotland.

IRC Two
On day two at about 20:00 local time, the 10 teams racing in IRC Two ran out of breeze approximately 40 miles from the Almagrundet Lighthouse outside the Stockholm archipelago. The park up was short-lived; two hours later the fleet was making good progress west.

However, the effect of the shutdown was to compress the fleet to produce a new leader in the IRC Two rank – Paer Lindfors and Nadine Kugel racing Albin Nova Team Mobline. Finnish J/109 Irie, raced Two-Handed by Julius Haartti and Sanna Moliis drops to second, with Nola third. Margus Uudam’s Estonian J/112 Nola still leads on the water and that lead has extended to about two miles from Olof Granander’s Swedish First 40.7 Embla.

Two-Hand IRC Two leaders Paer Lindfors and Nadine Kugel – Team Mobline pic

Just before 10:00 local time, Finnish Swan 441 Carissa was the latest team to round the Almagrundet Lighthouse. All eight crew, skippered by Raija Alapeteri, are from the Ocean Ladies Association which has 200 members with sailing backgrounds varying from beginners to racing veterans.

IRC Two-Handed
Team Mobline is ranked as leader of IRC Two-Handed and sixth in IRC overall, just over an hour ahead of the Finnish J/109 Irie, raced Two-Handed by Julius Haartti and Sanna Moliis.

Team Mobline is a Swedish 1984 Albin Nova raced by Paer Lindfors and Nadine Kugel under the burgee of the Runmarö Yacht Club, located on Runmarö Island in the Värmdö archipelago. Anders Lundmark and Louise Edgren racing Danish Figaro 2 The Spirit leads the class on the water and has approximately 110 miles to race to round Gotland.

The ladies aboard Carissa – Carissa pic

The official race supporters of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race are: The City of Helsinki; The Nyländska Jaktklubben (NJK), Finnish Offshore Racing Association (AMP); Helsingfors Segelklubb (HSK); FINIRC and the Xtra Stærk Ocean Racing Society.

Keep up to date with the race and track the fleet: https://yb.tl/Balticsearace2022

Louay Habib/RORC media

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