Organisers expect over 50 boats on the starting line in Marstrand in August, and believe the new ORC rule will bring many new sailors to the race course.
Still seven months away from the start, officials from the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club (GKSS) say interest is remarkably strong already for the 2008 ORC International European Championship Regatta to be held in Marstrand over 3-9 August. Kerstin Holmberg, Race Manager for the regatta, expects that there will be more boats than usual on the race courses due to use of the new ORC International rule. Entries are expected to exceed the 50 participants scored in last year's event, with many new sailors coming to the island.
'At this point we have received interest already from approximately 20 boats from Germany, 10 from Sweden, 10 from Norway, a few each from Finland and Denmark, and also boats from Russia, Poland, Estonia, Great Britain, France and the Netherlands,' said Holmberg. With the close of entries still months away, the ultimate number of participants thus looks to be strong indeed.
While the final format of the racing and class divisions has not yet been announced, use of the ORC International rule does allow for determination of one overall winner of the championship title.
'The new measurement rule means that both new boat designs and older boats can compete in the same race. Older designs may not have been on the race arena for several years so the competitiveness of those boats is thus hard to predict, but under the new ORC International rule all boats will have new rating values and can be scored together. The result will be only one European Champion,' says Holmberg.
GKSS is organising the racing to take place just outside the island Marstand, which has been the main venue for international regattas on the west coast of Sweden for over 100 years. The inshore courses will be set just outside the harbour, where the little picturesque town offers both rich cultural life and a steaming night life during the summer season. The racing programme includes a total of seven inshore races and a short and a long offshore race held out in the Kattegat.
The GKSS race committee started its planning a full year prior to the event and is recruiting new members to the staff every month, with over 60 people expected to be on hand to help in August. The large number is needed to also help manage the annual Göteborg Offshore Race, which is to be held in the same week.
'The European Championship sailing week concludes with a 24-hour offshore race, and the Göteborg Offshore Race is also an offshore race of 24 hours held yearly. So, we are planning to have both races to be sailed on the same course, but with starts one hour apart. This means that we expect many additional boats and offshore sailors at Marstrand during this week. The GKSS volunteers therefore have to manage two great events at the same time. It will be an unforgettable week of sailing that will be remembered both by volunteers and by competitors,' says Holmberg.
Last year over 50 boats also gathered for the IMS European Championship in Croatia, organised by the Sailing Club of Rijeka. Local skipper Bartul Misura won the gold in the largest class with his Ola, a Grand Soleil 56, while skipper and owner Fausto Pierobon won the small boat class with Sagola GS, a Grand Soleil 37 BC.
More information on the ORC International European Championship visit the GKSS website at www.gkss.seor
the Offshore Racing Congress website at www.orc.org