Nord Stream Race - Leg 3 now underway

The start of the final leg, 2012 Nord Stream Race, Visby
The final leg of the Nord Stream Race is now underway. The five Swan 60s taking part left Gotland for Karlskrona this morning to complete the third and final leg of the inaugural race through the Baltic Sea organised by the Yacht Club of Saint Petersburg.

The Gazprom Swan 60 Class had a deserved rest day yesterday on the scenic island off Sweden before setting off on their new route to mainland Sweden as severe winds are forecast for later tonight and all day Friday.

Fifteen points are available to the team who wins today’s leg with Team Europe, Russia and Holland all able to secure the first prize of 100,000 Euros.

Pieter Keijzer, Skipper of Team Holland sponsored by Gazprom International and current overall leaders, commented on the leg ahead before the boats headed out of Visby harbor: 'This leg is like any other, the fact that we’re ahead doesn’t make a difference and more points need to be gained in today’s race to ensure our victory The main tactic is just to sail as fast as possible – we simply have to do that.'

Keijzer’s navigator Kalle Coster gave his view on the day ahead: 'The forecast is for very light winds at the start and increasing throughout the day, by the end of the day the bad weather will arrive, with 30 knots of wind. It’s a one tack course – a run then a tight reach to the finish and we are in the lead so have to hold onto our position, we are all going to be closely bunched together so it’s all about our boat speed.'

Team Europe’s Skipper, Tim Kroger, who currently sit only 1.5 points behind Team Holland is aware the race win is still wide open: 'It’s an early start, but we are well prepared and keen to get going. It is a very short leg, so we have to be on our toes from the off. My crew is in good spirits and we are looking forward to this leg. It’s definitely still all to play for, it has a great points weighting than the first two, but this leg is radically shorter, we’ll push very hard.'

The start of the final leg, 2012 Nord Stream Race, Visby

Leg One winners, Team Russia, supported by Gazprom and skippered by Vladimir Liubomirov, will be looking to improve on their second leg performance. Tommaso Chieffi, the team Coach shared his views prior to the start: 'It’s going to be light and tricky at the beginning and possibly strong winds at the end. We want to conclude this race on a high, there are still points to be won. Tactics are to sail as fast possible, the opposition are strong we have seen this week – we are looking forward to the challenge ahead.'

At the start Team Russia and Team Germany chose to stay on course side using their position until the gun, enabling them to sail on starboard, close hauled to the line and secure an optimum position just 45 seconds before the start.

Team Europe, closest to the committee boat, were on for a prime starting position but were forced to turn away by Russia’s manoeuvring until they were clear ahead, when they were both able to turn back to the line and start.

At the time of sending Team Russia were just ahead of Team Germany with Team Holland in third.

Leg Three of the Nord Stream Race marks approximately 150 nautical miles of racing south in the Baltic Sea crossing waters from Visby to Karlskrona. As with Legs One and Two, points from this leg will be carried forward to secure an overall prize fund win of 100,000 Euros. The fleet of Swan 60s are due to arrive in Karlskrona on Thursday evening where the race will finish due to the strong winds forecast. The boats will then motor to Greifswald, Germany arriving on Saturday 27 October for a welcome party and prize-giving with the race organisers Yacht-Club of Saint Petersburg.

Current Overall Standings after Legs One and Two:

1st - Team Holland – 3 and 12.5 Total15.5 points
2nd - Team Europe – 4 and 10 Total 14 points
3rd - Team Russia – 5 and 7.5 Total 12.5 points
4th - Team Germany – 2 (RDG) and 5 Total 7 points
5th - Team France – 2 and 2.5 Total 4.5 points

Nord Stream Race website