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First-ever ORC Double Handed World Championship starts tomorrow

by Offshore Racing Congress 2 Jul 14:37 PDT 30 June - 6 July 2022
ORC Double Handed World Championship © Alexela ORC Worlds

An astounding turnout of 91 entries from nine nations will continue their final inspection and measurement checks today in preparation for tomorrow's start to the inaugural ORC Double Handed World Championship, co-organized by the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) and the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC). The event is part of the annual 2022 Gotland Runt, KSSS's signature offshore event that has attracted this year some 210 entries in addition to those racing in the double handed ORC championship.

The first challenge for the fleet will be to get out of the harbor in Stockholm and wind their way among the islands and narrow channels to get out to the Baltic Sea.

The ORC DH fleet will race on the same 358-mile clockwise course around Gotland island and back to the finish close to the KSSS base at the eastern edge of the archipelago on Sandhamn island.

Class A has 24 entries ranging in size and DH rated speed from Janne Westerlund (FIN) and Samuli Leisti (FIN) racing their Dehler 30 OD TEGU at 531.3 sec/mile rated speed to Anna Drougge (SWE) and Martin Angsell (SWE) racing the Shogun 50 LADYKILLER 4.0 at a speedy 423.5 sec/mile.

These ratings are using the All Purpose ORC course model for DH boats and will be used to score this race.

Crister and Conny Bäckström (SWE) are but a few family members racing together, these two on their X-40 MY-X in Class A. Crister said the two have raced together for many years, including this race for 5 years, the Raymarine2star for 7 years, some other offshore double handed events like the Ulvöregattan, Defi Baltique, Visbypokalen, Nordic Yachts Open and Kolfiberrodret. The pair has yet to score a win in DH sailing but sees this as yet another opportunity for improvement.

"We have constantly improved ourselves and our boat and are very excited to race against top sailors in the top boats in this historical race," said Crister. While this may be the first ORC DH World Championship, the Gotland Runt has a much long history, first raced in 1937.

Much smaller in length but rating faster is the Z30+ ZEUS, being raced by two Swedish Volvo Ocean Race veterans, Anders Dahlsjo and Martin Stromberg. The Z30+ is a further development of a 20-year-old design (Z31) that Jimmy Hellberg, among others, have contributed. Jimmy has helped with technical development such as modernizing the bow and stern and a new sailing plan to make it easier to sail, as well as a new keel and rudder. ZEUS was built at Vaxholm Komposit entirely in carbon and is an exciting concept where short-handed racing has been in focus.

Another team and new boat to watch in Class A is MINI RAVENGER, a new Club Swan 36 sailed by Roger Samuelsson and Klabbe Nylöf, both also from Sweden. This is also a lightweight high-tech carbon race boat, but normally raced by a team of seven around the buoys and now prepared to race offshore by only two. Klabbe said "If we come out of the archipelago in a somewhat good way, we think we can have a good chance of a prominent position. This boat can go 25 knots downwind in the right conditions."

Currently the forecast may include these "right conditions:" winds will be from the south and southwest that should help propel the fleet quickly out from the start and into even stronger winds when out into the Baltic. New designs like the Figaro 3 with its protruded foils should benefit from breezy close reaching conditions - the photo above shows the Figaro 3 TUTALOR being sailed by Linnea Floser and Anders Lewander, both from Sweden.

Among the Class B entries to watch is the German JPK 10.10 SHARIFA, being raced by Rasmus Toepsch and Bertil Balser. Toepsch is an Engineer while Balser is a sailmaker, both in their 40's and racing >35 years. Both are quite active and accomplished, with championship wins and podium finishes in a variety of events. Toepsch for example has won the L30 Class European Championship in 2019, and for the next two years placed second in the German DH Championships. Balser has won the German offshore championship in 2020 and 2021, and last year was third in the ORC World Championship in Tallinn.

As a race planner as well as a sailor, Toepsch appreciates the Gotland Runt and all that was done to organize this ORC DH World Championship.

"The Gotland Runt is the perfect stage for hosting the inaugural DH Worlds, since it has a great reputation for demanding sail racing and outstanding hospitality and socializing," he said. "The KSSS already did a master class job in preparation and communication at very early stages. For me, also being a race organizer this is the ultimate benchmark. Stockholm and the surrounding archipelago are worth every nautical mile of delivery - words cannot describe the beauty.

"Having 80+ double handed boats at the starting line is something remarkable, and clearly shows the importance of this relatively young format of racing. The World Championship lifts this discipline to the next level of recognition."

Class C is the largest of the ORC DH classes, featuring 29 boats in the rated speed range of 627.5 sec/mile to 562.1 sec/mile. Near the top of this range is a boat name very familiar to ORC racers: TEAM PRO4U. This modified First 36.7 owned by Patrik Forsgren (SWE) has won Silver and Bronze medals in Class C at every ORC World Championship since 2014, and won Gold Medals in Class C at ORC European Championship in 2015 and 2017. For this race Forsgren is racing with Joakim Hoppe (SWE).

Another Class C entry to watch is among several entries from Poland. Jacek Roszyk is the owner of the Dufour 310 GL SMOKE and is racing this week with Marcin Dejewski (POL). These two have been racing in DH format for the past 4-5 years, and combined have some good results, including wins and podium finishes in the B8 Race, the Gdynia-Wladyslawowo-Gdynia Race, the Baltic Polonez Cup, and have placed well in the Off-Shore Racing Series, including 3rd place in 2020 and winning both the 2017 and 2021 season championships in Poland.

Roszyk said what excites him about this DH World Championship is "Comparing our skills to sailors from other countries, competing against 90 boats, and all on the famous Gotland Runt course."

SMOKE, TEAM PRO4U and 25 other teams have all-amateur crews and thus qualify to be in the Corinthian Division in their respective classes. Corinthian teams get recognized with their own awards in addition to the general awards given in each class.

Start times tomorrow will be 1100 CET for Class C, 1105 for Class B and 1110 for Class A in the ORC DH entries.

For more information about the ORC DH World Championship, visit event page.


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