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Nord Stream Race will conclude the Gazprom Swan 60 Class Circuit

by Emma Upton 29 Aug 2013 16:38 BST 15 September 2013
The Nord Stream Race 2012 fleet head to Visby © onEdition

The Nord Stream Race, organised by the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg (SPBYC) and Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV), is now in its second year. The final event on the inaugural Gazprom Swan 60 Class Circuit, the race is a unique Baltic offshore challenge.

Following the success of the 2012 Nord Stream Race, the second edition of the race has now opened its doors to ORC entries, with the aim of attracting experienced, international crews who want to compete under tough conditions including five Gazprom Swan 60 yachts.

After the completion of the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline in October 2012, which set the context of the race, this edition will offer the Swan 60 crews a true challenge. As witnessed in 2012, the Swan 60 is perfectly suited to these offshore conditions, but this year will offer even more of a contest, tasking crews to complete the 800 nautical mile route of the pipeline, non-stop in a range of weather conditions.

Ulrich Lissek, Communications Director at Nord Stream explains how the race has evolved this year; "Last year's inaugural event was a three-stage race in the opposite direction from Russia to Germany with stops in Finland and Sweden. Now that Nord Stream's gas pipeline system is complete and the gas flows across the Baltic Sea, it is appropriate that the challenge for this year's crews is to race the full length of the Baltic Sea non-stop. We would like to pay tribute to the pioneering spirit, international collaboration, and commitment to excellence of all the participating crews. The Baltic Sea can be quite a challenge and the crews need good strategy and excellent implementation: this requires teamwork, trust, responsibility and responsiveness."

The weather in the Baltic in September is likely to be harsh with cold nights and limited daylight. The race requires extremely good sailing skills, as well as a high level of endurance; outstanding teamwork and stamina. The Swan 60s are suited to offshore racing, renowned as the safest sailing yachts in the world, built by skilled craftsmen at the company's yard in Finland.

Tim Kroger, Team Europe Skipper onboard Swan 60 Spirit of Europe claimed second place in the 2012 edition of the race, and is looking forward to the final event on the Gazprom Swan 60 Class Circuit; "Most of our crew from last year will be with us again which is great. We are facing a tough challenge though as there is a lot more competition this year following the success of the premiere edition and the growing international interest. Our Swan 60, Spirit of Europe is currently in Kiel so we will be able to do some optimizing work before heading the start in Flensburg where we will also participate in some pre-races to get the gear and crew into shape.

The crew is a European mix from at least six different countries of the Baltic rim, made up of experiences pros, wonderful companions of mine and young rookies. This mixture played out nicely last year, everyone pushed each other for performance and we had fantastic spirit onboard, I hope I get to see that again this year. The race will be different as it has no stops but is instead a marathon sprint, so good preparation, attention to detail, endurance and teamwork will be a key to success. We enjoy sailing the Swan 60s enormously as they are beautiful, fast and reliable machines. We are looking forward to another memorable challenge!"

This will be the farthest offshore race to date for the Gazprom Swan 60 Class and the longer-term goal is for the Nord Stream Race to sit alongside the other iconic ocean races such as the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Current Gazprom Swan 60 Class Circuit results:

Bronenosec (RUS), 1 – 1 – 1, Total 3
SGM (GER), 2 – 5 – 2, Total 9
Spirit of Europe (GBR), 6 – 2 – 6, Total 14
Tsaar Peter (BVI), 6 – 3 – 6, Total 15
Petite Flamme (RUS), 6 – 4 – 6, Total 16

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