The 2012 Nord Stream Race continues today, 22nd October, with the start of leg 2, which takes the fleet from Helsinki, Finland to Visby in Gotland, Sweden. The second leg of this unique new race, organised by the Yacht Club of Saint Petersburg, will take crews 260 nautical miles in cold and challenging conditions to their second stop over.
Market Quay in central Helsinki provided an unforgettable send off for the teams as Finland demonstrated the beauty Scandinavia has to offer as the exquisite backdrop to the start of Leg Two. Conditions were perfect with bright skies and despite a light five knots of wind to begin with, conditions built for the start of the race.
The Gazprom Swan 60 Class enjoyed some exciting Match Racing during their stopover in Helsinki where Team Germany, supported by Stroygazmontazh, took the title - clearly benefitting from the experience brought onboard by the addition of Match Racing expert, Jesper Radich. Their Skipper Thomas Jungblut is particularly looking forward to getting underway: 'We are very much looking forward to this next leg and after the success in the Match Racing; team morale is high and we are ready to go.'
Leg One winners, Team Russia, supported by Gazprom and skippered by Vladimir Liubomirov, will be looking for a repeat performance in Leg Two. Tommaso Chieffi, the teams Coach shared his views on how Team Russia felt prior to the start: 'It is going to be a difficult race, especially in the early parts as it is going to be light and fluky, so the fleet will probably be close together to begin with. After that there is a breeze to Visby, so we will start slowly and then build up. We are really looking forward to it, although we are losing our skipper Vladimir for this leg, we are pleased that he will be back for the final leg. The competition is tough though, Team Germany beat us in the Match Racing and the others are all very competitive – it’s going to be an interesting leg!'
The start got underway as scheduled at 1300 with all five Swan 60’s in close contention off the line. The short upwind leg to the first mark saw Team Germany and Team Russia jostling for position, with Team Germany just taking the lead around the first buoy. Team Europe and Team Holland were also having a battle of their own, while Team France took advantage and shot ahead of Team Europe once heading downwind.
Tim Kroger, skipper of Team Europe supported by Nord Stream, commented before the start: 'We are looking forward to a nice, fairly long downwind leg but there are some traps along the way. The wind will swing to the west and we will have a kind of transition zone, so it will be interesting to see who gets in the new breeze first and this is something that we have prepared for. It will be light in the beginning so quite pleasant for us all. We will push hard on this second leg to get the most out of it, at the end it’s not over under the fat lady sings.'
Leg Two of the Nord Stream Race marks approximately 260 nautical miles of racing following the route of the new Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea crossing waters from Finland to Sweden. As with Leg One, 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 Visby early on Wednesday morning where they will have time to rest and recuperate before starting the final leg to Greifswald, Germany on Thursday 25th October.
Nord Stream Race website
by Philippa Holloway
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6:07 PM Mon 22 Oct 2012GMT
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