In a tight battle over the start line, the 22 small catamarans set off in the heart of Stockholm for the eighth edition of the gruelling Archipelago Raid. Formula 18-specialist Eric Proust and his partner Romain Motteau on Team Kalix from France were first over the line, but the fleet kept close together when heading to the first checkpoint.
In eight knots and overcast the brave teams of two shot off in their Formula 18 catamarans for a six day and five night long sailing orienteering in the wild and beautiful landscapes of the Stockholm, Åland and Finnish archipelago. It was a varied line up to be seen at the start with many impressive sailing CV's in the teams; from big boat sailing to match racing, solo sailing, monohull and multihull sailing at high level. A mix of less known locals and international stars were present, like Ellen MacArthur and the Hobie Cat Champion Eric Proust, back for his fourth time.
Solo sailor Conrad Humphreys on Team Blue Oceans (UK) is back for the second time and was looking forward to starting the race: 'We're very excited, it's nice to be here. The Raid is a beautiful combination between race and environment, which are my two passions. It's good to be here for the second time, we know more or less what to expect, we're more prepared.'
Throughout the race there are several legs to complete with a number of checkpoints at each leg. The results are based on a points system determined by the arrival position of each leg with bonus points to the winner of each check point.
Today the competitors are sailing from the city centre of Stockholm to the island of Lido in the north-eastern part of the archipelago of Stockholm. During the day they shall complete two legs, passing five checkpoints. Match racing specialists Martin Sandberg and Johan Örtendahl on Team Thule managed to pass the French duo on Team Kalix and were first to complete the first leg of the day.
The teams will have a short night stop at Lido, hopefully kicking in a couple of hours of sleep. The restart is set tomorrow morning at 03.00 to head off towards the autonomous islands of Åland, between Sweden and Finland, passing a 33 mile open stretch of the Baltic Sea.
For latest results www.archipelagoraid.com