ORCi Championships - Entries approaching record levels

ORCi World Championship 2011
The Audi ORCi World Championship is set to take place in Finland this year and already the event is approaching 100 entries for the August start. The Celadrin ORC European Championship in Italy expects over 70 to attend in June.

The two largest events on the 2012 ORC calendar are on track to becoming among the most popular ever in the 43-year history of the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC). To date there are 95 entries from 11 countries in the Audi ORCi World Championship, being held over 4-11 August in Helsinki, Finland, and organizers from the YC Punta Ala in Italy are expecting over 70 entries to their Celadrin ORC European Championship being held over 23-30 June.

'We were hoping for 60, maybe 80 boats last year in the planning,' said Pekka Lopmeri, Manager of the host YC Merenkävijät in Helsinki. 'So we are amazed to see the enormous interest in the event, and we are still only at the first entry deadline. The total number of boats is now predicted to rise to over 100. This gives a good expectation that we will see tight starts and outstanding racing in August.'

Entries received for the Audi ORCi World Championship received before 1 March will be €450, then will go up to €700 until 15 July, and €1000 after 15 July. This event is the sole offshore World Championship sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

Patrick Lindqvist has made the latest entry with his TP52 Blixt Pro Sailing, armed with renowned Swedish skipper Thomas Blixt on the helm and a mixed Swedish and Finnish crew. Lindqvist says 'It has been fantastic to see the enormous interest for the Worlds in Helsinki. I am not really surprised, as the location is fantastic on the island with the old fortress, and the Gulf of Finland has its best sailing weather in August.'

Blixt Pro Sailing will have some important rivals from the other end of Scandinavia: the TP52 Wolfpack from Norway. 'As a team we look forward to racing against our old friend Thomas Nilsson from Oslo! We also hope the other big boats that are planning to show up will do that too. That would make the racing even more challenging and exciting.'

Another new entry comes from Italy: the NM38 Scugnizza, skippered by Vincenzo de Blasio from Napoli. With help from renowned Italian match race skipper Paolo Cian, Scugnizza won the ORC division in last year's Rolex Capri Sailing Week, and was fourth in Class B at the 2011 ORCi Worlds in Cres. Designer Maurizio Cossutti was recently in Helsinki to give a presentation of his ideas on how the ORC rating rule influences design.

Meanwhile in warmer climes to the south preparations are underway for the Celadrin ORC European Championship in Punta Ala, a beautiful peninsula jutting out from the Tuscan countryside into the blue Tyrrhenian Sea. YC Punta Ala has had a long history of hosting this event, in fact eight times since its inception in 1997, and has attracted numerous high-level teams to compete in a venue renowned for its perfect weather conditions for inshore and offshore sailing. It's no wonder this has been the traditional base for the Luna Rossa America's Cup team.

ORCi World Championship 2012

'We have received many inquiries and enrollments,' explained Emanuel Sacripanti, Secretary General of the YC Punta Ala, 'and we expect to have over 70 entries. As in the past, we will focus on making the best organization for the racing on the water, as well as on the shoreside facilities. For those unable to sail, we have a pool at the Club, beautiful beaches in the area, or many interesting historical and cultural centers of the province and the region.'

Until 9 April, entry fees for the Celadrin ORC European Championship will be €600 for Class A yachts with GPH ratings faster than 600 sec/mi, and €400 for Class B yachts with GPH ratings slower than 600 sec/mi. From 10 April - 31 May these fees will increase to €800 and €600, and after 31 May they will be €1200 and €800.

As an incentive to attract international teams, the first four entries in Class A and Class B from outside Italy will each receive use of a four-bed apartment offered by YC Punta Ala which is very close to the regatta village.

Noted Italian sailing journalist Emanuel Richelmy has commented that he expects the event to 'attract the best boats and the highest sailing talent from all of Italy.'

Formats for both week-long events are specified in the ORC's 'Green Book' of championship standards, and include two days of measurement and registration, followed by six days of a mixture of inshore and offshore racing. Top three finishers in each class will receive trophies, with the winners being declared Champions in the respective classes.

'This is very exciting for us to see the ORC World and Continental Championships at such a high level this year, it shows the popularity of ORC systems in these two important sailing regions,' said ORC Chairman Bruno Finzi. 'After the record turnout of 119 boats at last year's Worlds in Cres we learned many things to help make regattas this size successful, and we look forward to continuing to work with the organizers up to and during these events.'

For more information on entries and a schedule of events for the 2012 Audi ORCi World Championship, contact event manager Pekka Lopmeri on +358 40 5130 888, at toimisto@merenkavijat.fi, or visit the event website.
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