”For me the last boat is actually always something special“
Mid-September the second edition of the Nord Stream Race will get under way leading the participating yachts from Glücksburg to Saint Petersburg. Race director Alan Green, one of the most experienced race directors in the offshore scene, explains his view of this challenging regatta.
Alan, what are the characteristics of the Nord Stream race from your point of view?
A regatta like the Nord Stream Race is a completely new concept. To sail 800nm non-stop across the Baltic Sea has never been done in a regatta before. The sheer distance already is one aspect where this regatta distinguishes itself from traditional races like the Fastnet Race or Sydney-Hobart, both of which are about 200nm shorter. The date of the regatta is also a challenge: In September we can get strong winds which could mean a very fast race.
Have you ever been to Saint Petersburg?
No, not yet but I am very excited to travel there now. I have led regattas all over the world but Saint Petersburg is unknown territory, even for me. I think this will actually be the attraction for many participants. It is great that this race will bring the sailing communities in the East and the West closer together. In the organisation process of former regattas in the Baltic Sea region we always had the idea in mind to go to Saint Petersburg. Now the Nord Stream Race finally made it happen.
What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to seeing satisfied and happy faces of the participants at the end of the regatta. I see my duty as race director in providing safe and fair conditions for the sailors. For them the Nord Stream Race is a huge challenge where technical skills and mental strength will be put to the test. I very much hope they will all enjoy the experience as much as possible.
Being race director of such a regatta is probably rather stressful for you?
Sometimes, but it’s not over-stressful. I too have moments when I can enjoy the regatta. The start is great. But the moment I look forward to the most is the finish. After following the yachts on the race tracker it’s a great feeling to see them appear on the horizon.
What do you think will be the deciding aspects for a good result in the regatta?
It is difficult to say because in sailing so many factors are important. When comparing the Nord Stream Race with the Fastnet Race I would say that in the Baltic Sea tactics will probably not be as crucial. In the Solent it is more important to know the local area and the tide very well. But in the Nord Stream Race, how crews deal with the weather conditions may be crucial. Predicting wind variations can have a big influence on which boat will take the lead at the end.
Do you get excited, too, when there is a fight for the win at the front?
Of course I am happy for the winners. But, to be honest, for me the last boat is actually always something special. Firstly you have the certainty that all boats have reached the finish safe and sound. And secondly I have a lot of sympathy for the last boat as they probably had to fight just as hard as all the others and have still not given up. Their achievement in completing the course is just reward for their efforts.