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September 2022

Cheese smiles after victory on the Bosphorus

by Andy Rice 24 Sep 10:00 PDT 22-25 September 2022

'Cheese' confirmed its status as one of the all-time greats of the Bosphorus Strait after Levent Peynirci's Farr 40 Setur Marinas Cheese won the Bosphorus Race on a bright and breezy afternoon in Istanbul.

Peynirci's team used its local knowledge to navigate the back-eddies and ripping current of the 16.5 nautical mile strait to stretch a good advantage over the other Farr 40s in the 73-boat fleet. Generally the pattern of play was to work the European shore on the downwind legs and stick closer to the European shore on the upwind legs.

Cheese dreams

Way out in front of the pack was the biggest boat in the fleet, Yildirim Kaymaz's Farr 55, Orient Express VI, sailing majestically along the Bosphorus. Kaymaz's team completed the race in 1 hour, 49 minutes and 16 seconds, more than 15 minutes ahead of Cheese which was second across the line. On IRC corrected time, however, Peynirci's immaculately sailed Farr 40 proved to be more than 4 minutes ahead of the 55-footer.

Now it would be a waiting game to see if any of the smaller boats from the other IRC divisions could knock Cheese off the top of the table. As the fleet finished across the line it became increasingly clear that no one was going to get close. Best of the rest came a long way back, the smaller Archambault 35 Coca Cola Içedek - Das scoring second on IRC corrected time, 2:22 behind the race winner.

Split second finish beyween Bogatyr and Jumbo

Just 7 seconds further back in third was another small boat from IRC2, Maxim Logutenko's JPK 10.80 Bogatyr. The second placed Farr 40, Erhan Uzun's Jumbo Farrfara, finished with exactly the same corrected time as Bogatyr, proving the fact that every single moment counts in handicap competition.

Orient Express VI ended up in fifth place after IRC corrected time, a very respectable place for the biggest boat. Further back there were some big names who struggled to make much impact on the tricky race course. Arkas Blue Moon, Serhat Altay's brand new Mark Mills-designed Mat 1220, struggled with its lack of knowledge of the strait.

The team from Çesme on Turkey's west coast are unfamiliar with the subtleties of the current and the wind patterns in the strait and could only manage 13th on corrected time. This drops Blue Moon from first overall after three races, down to third overall. With two windward-leeward races scheduled for the final day on Sunday, Blue Moon could yet discard today's 13th place and make a comeback.

A year for the little boats?

However, ahead of the beautiful blue Mat 1220 are two very consistent performers. Jumbo FarrFara's fourth place lifts the Farr 40 to second overall, but even more impressive is the ever-improving Coca Cola Içedek - Das. With scores so far of 4,3,2, can the young Turk, Yasar Doga Aribas, go even better with a race win on the final Sunday? It has been a few years since one of the smaller boats took the overall trophy at the Bosphorus Cup, but 2022 is looking like the year it could happen. On equal points with the third-placed Blue Moon is another small boat, the Mat 1010, Tüpras Fenerbahçe, skippered by Ugur Esen. So the smaller stars from IRC2 could yet take the big awards at Sunday afternoon's prize-giving.

However the teams performed on today's tricky racecourse, memories of the Bosphorus Race will never evaporate. With a start line set just metres away from the Dolmabahçe Palace, from where the Ottoman Empire was administered in the late 19th century, the race course goes past so many iconic monuments and structures, both ancient and ultra-modern. There is nearly always wind blowing through the Bosphorus, which means it's not just a pretty place to go for a cruise, it's actually an exhilarating race course for competitive sailors.

This evening, at the water's edge of the Golden Horn, it's the Sailor's Party & Hall of Fame Ceremony event, with food, beer and treats provided by Sail Loft and MSA. With a late ferry back to the Asian side of Istanbul, the sailors will grab a few hours' sleep before they rise for the final day of competition at the Bosphorus Cup.

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