Cape Crow Yacht Club from Sweden lead out of Kiel on 1000 mile Nord Stream Race
After a windless morning, a northerly breeze filled in on Kiel’s Inner Fjord just in time for today’s 13.00 start of the Nord Stream Race.
The first of the 2017 Nord Stream Race’s four legs, takes the yachts on a 150 nautical mile passage to Copenhagen.
The upwind start near Kieler Yacht-Club was close between the five competing yachts. After a few tacks, Cape Crow Yacht Club (Sweden) had nosed into the lead ahead of Nyländska Jaktklubben (Finland). Frederikshavn Sejlklub (Denmark) was holding third place ahead of the local heroes, Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club (Germany) in fourth, and Lord of the Sail – Europe (Russia).
The boats are expected to finish into Copenhagen tomorrow lunchtime. Between now and then, the crews on the brand new, identical 15 meters ClubSwan 50 yachts will face many challenges.
First is the very variable wind. “It is going to be quite difficult,” explained Chris Nørgaard, navigator on the Danish boat. “Overnight it looks like there will be two different weather systems meeting each other. There will be light winds and the wind will do a 180° turn.” Crews are expecting to be becalmed at least once on the way to the finish.
There was more trepidation for 22 years old Niki Blässar, one of the young sailors, and one of three female at Nord Stream Race, with the Finnish team. Tonight she will be experiencing her first ever night at sea. “It is exciting. I am going to learn a lot. Being out there in the dark is different for me.”
German’s entry is from the Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club based near Munich. Skipper Michael Tarabochia said: “The idea was to bring the league team to the long distance race and get as much support as possible from a very experienced offshore sailor, Hugh Bradshaw, the British Figaro sailor, who is our navigator. I’m not too worried about this first leg. We are here to learn and to become more experienced in offshore sailing.”
This sixth running of St. Petersburg Yacht Club’s annual yacht race across the Baltic Sea is being sailed by five teams: Baltic neighbours Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Each crew comes from the club which won the National Sailing League tournament in its respective country in 2016. While the boats all have young sailors on board, all are accompanied by experienced offshore racers. In the case of the Swedish and Finnish crews, these include sailors who have raced around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Leg one into Copenhagen is expected to finish at around lunchtime tomorrow (Sunday).
The Baltic´s leading offshore regatta – the Nord Stream Race – has been run by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club with the support of GAZPROM and Nord Stream AG since 2012. The race connects Russia, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.