Following a picture perfect start, albeit under cloudy skies, from Travemunde, Germany, the crews faced a tough night of racing with squalls, shifting winds, and thunderstorms as the yachts made their way to Karlskrona, Sweden during the first leg of the 4th annual Baltic Sprint Cup.
'Although the weather made for a challenging night of racing, we’re pleased with the manner in which the regatta has unfolded so far', noted Race Director Alan Green. 'In Travemunde, Race Officer Per Axel Rahm did an outstanding job preparing the groundwork for the first leg of the race'.
Around 11.00, Outsider, skippered by Tilmar Hansen past by the historic old fort 'Godnatt' and sped across the finish line at Karlskrona, followed closely by the Lithuanian Ambersail and Gerhard Clausen’s 82-foot Calypso – the largest yacht in the race this year.
Onshore, the introduction of the race tracking system has certainly added a new dimension to the race. 'The Baltic Sprint Cup website and race tracking system has seen a significant level of traffic since the first leg set-off from Travemunde, which has helped open the race up to the wider public', said Race Organizer Henning Rocholl.
The last of yachts in the slower racing classes of the regatta are passing the Danish island of Bornholm, where the Baltic Sprint Cup will eventually conclude with the Final Showdown party on Aug. 1. The yachts will continue to arrive at Karlskrona over the next few hours. Baltic Sprint Cup -And they're off!!
The 56 starters of the Baltic Sprint Cup 2008, the 4th annual edition of the race, are now racing towards Karlskrona, Sweden.
After a spectacular sail parade at 13.00 to thank Travemünde for their warm welcome and hospitality, the 56 starting yachts sailed out into the bay for the start of the race, some 5nm out. A short rainsquall greeted boats as they made their way to the start line. The yachts divided into 3 fleets, starting at 15-minute internals apart, in 12-15 southwesterly winds from 15.00. The leg began with a short 2-mile beat into the wind, then turned 2 marks and set their spinnakers for Karlskrona.
A day earlier, Federal Minister of Transport of Germany, Wolfgang Tiefensee and Major of Hanseatic City of Lübeck, Bernd Saxe joined the SE Spezial-Electronic-sponsored Opening Party.
Sven Herlyn, Group CEO of main sponsor Bank DnB NORD and Baltic Sprint Cup Committee Chairman, recalled his first visit to Travemünde some 28 years ago as a sailor as he welcomed all participants and thanked SE Spezial-Electronic for putting together an outstanding Opening Party.
Keep track of all the action by following live tracking of the race on www.balticsprintcup.com
, along with spectacular event photographs by Nico Krauss.