Light air and close racing once again characterizes the fourth day of competition at the 2014 ORC World Championship, with the fleet racing on their second offshore race of the series around the Kieler Bucht in variable conditions of 3-8 knots of wind. The slow going has prompted race managers to shorten the course for the fleet from its original length of 54 miles to 49 miles for Class A, 44 miles for Class B and 37 miles for Class C.
Reports from the course area have indicated that despite the light air, boats are close together and fighting hard all around the course. Final corrected time results will come in tonight as boats finish and can be viewed here
Close light air battles in Class B offshore racing today - 2014 ORC World Championship - © segel-bilder.de / Christian Beeck
The significance of today's sixth race in the event is that while it is weighted the same as that of any inshore race, it is the final race in the Qualifying series for the two groups each in Class B and Class C who are trying to finish in the top ranks and advance to the next stage of the competition. Only 30 Gold fleet competitors in each class will then be eligible to win podium trophies in the remaining two days of racing, while the rest will race in the Silver fleet.
Wolfpack digging pack after OCS start - 2014 ORC World Championship - Pavel Nesvadba/Ranchi
Class A has no cut, so all 27 competing teams have been racing for the podium prizes all week. Going into today, Claus Landmark's Landmark 43 Santa was winning this class on an impressive 1-1-1-1-2 record. At press time the first boat to finish in this class tonight was Thomas Nilsson's TP 52 Wolfpack, an impressive comeback from being called OCS at the very light start to this race.
So, with no discards available until seven races are completed, today's race is sure to be a nail-biter for those teams close to the cut, and many will not be sleeping tonight until the final corrected time results are in.
H.E.A.T feeling the heat to make the cut - 2014 ORC World Championship - Pavel Nesvadba/Ranchi
Among these are was Max Augustin's German team on the Farr 30 H.E.A.T in Class B, who ironically started the week in strong position with a first earned in their group in Race 1. But the results have been plummeting since, so at 29th position they were feeling the heat and in need of a good result today to remain in the top 30.
El Pocko also on the edge of the Gold fleet - 2014 ORC World Championship - Pavel Nesvadba/Ranchi
Another Class B team who is on the fence were among the favorites based on their strong talent aboard and the tremendous effort they've made to be here at the Worlds. Thomas Jungblut's Puma 42 El Pocko, who was lying in 31st place, is a project well-known here in Germany for the effort made by the team to revive this boat found in poor condition in Spain and brought to Germany last winter for a complete renovation and re-fit. Using a lot of voluntary efforts from team members who like North Sails's Jungblut are in the marine trades, El Pocko was thoroughly modernized and optimized, and its striking narrow appearance on the water identifies it as a boat clearly from the IMS-era of the 1990's...another indication of the tremendous diversity of boat types found at this event.
Halbtrocken in Class C traffic - 2014 ORC World Championship - Pavel Nesvadba/Ranchi
In Class C the 31st-placed boat in the standings this morning was Klaus-Peter Boock's German X-332 Quattro, whose best race was an eighth place in Race 1, and in slightly better position at 23rd was Knut Freudenberg's German 36.7 Halbtrocken, whose BFD (Black Flag DSQ) in Race 3 yesterday marred an otherwise good scoreline and now threatens them if they have not performed at least in the top half again today.
Inshore racing resumes tomorrow at 10:55 AM local time, and after the completion of the first race all will get their first scoring discard, which promises to compress the results in all classes even further. Event website