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Nordic Folkboat Gold Cup 2017 at Kerteminde, Denmark

by Simon Osgood 14 Aug 2017 14:24 BST 7-10 August 2017
Nordic Folkboat Gold Cup 2017 at Kerteminde, Denmark © Anders Lund

Monday 7th August saw the start of the Nordic Folkboat Gold Cup, however this year was particularly special as it commemorated 75 years of what is one of the worlds most popular and enduring small keel boats.

Nearly 80 boats gathered from Estonia, Sweden, UK, Finland, Germany and Denmark, the latter two countries providing some exceptional talent.

The format of the event has not changed over the years with a six race series and one discard. The event location of Kerteminde in Denmark, added special significance as the majority of boats built post 1976 when GRP was introduced had come out of the Folkbad Centralen yard based in Kerteminde, under the guidance of Erik Andreasen who had also won the Gold Cup 6 times, and for the 2017 event had been appointed race director.

The large Kerteminde bay area provided a great race track, allowing 1.8nm beats into the gate marks and subsequent two sail runs, something for the British teams of Madeleine [Edward Donald, Rob Reed and Rich Bell], and So! [Simon and Gemma Osgood and Magnus Strom] had to quickly adapt to, as the British fleet adopted spinnakers back in the 60's, so using a 2.8m whisker pole on the jib required a whole new skill set.

The opening race laid a marker down by the Danes on their home turf, occupying the top 9 positions with the exception of second which went to the German boat 1095 driven by Michael Fehlandt, this proved to be their best result of the week. So! Secured a 39th which considering they hadn't sailed the boat for 8 years and this was the first time of being in it since purchase 4 months prior, wasn't too horrific. Madeleine had a slightly slower start adapting to the bigger fleet psychologies.

Day two started with extremely light winds and the morning race being abandoned on the first beat. After a couple of hours waiting for the breeze to fill, it finally came in south westerly and built to 10-12 metres per second. Trying to get the fleet away proved typically difficult with pent up frustrations of the delay. After two attempted starts and 16 boats black, flagged the race committee finally got the fleet away in overcast conditions. So! Was a victim of the dreaded black flag, as were several other top boats from the previous days racing. This being said, nothing should be taken away from Madeleine the other British boat, as they went on to score a 12th from the only race of the day, and really kick start their regatta. Per Buch from Denmark in DEN926, took the race win followed by a fellow Dane Soren Kaestel DEN873 and the German Siegfried Busse GER1101 in third.

Due to the cancellation of race 2 on the schedule and only one race sailed on the Tuesday, the race committee decided to fit in 3 races on the Wednesday. This was a big day for all competitors, breaking the back of the event.

The conditions were simply great for Nordic Folkboats, 12-14 metres per second winds from the south west on a relatively flat sea. The race area threw up numerous shifts over the day, as the wind blew over the bays elevated areas, some stayed in and some came and went. The current had different flows dependent on the location on the race course, and even when you sought local knowledge to support your pre race plans, this proved to be a little sketchy.

As the wise always say in yacht racing, consistency wins regattas, and the day belonged to Per Buch DEN926, he scored a 2,2,6 and had effectively wrapped up the Gold Cup with a day to spare, this was 'some going' in a near 80 boat fleet. Other notable performances came from Stig Lassen DEN662 3,3,29 and Jurgen Britenbach GER417 with 10,7,10. As like most competitors the Brits were finding consistency a struggle with So! edging Madeleine on the day with a 41,56,30 score line, against Madeleine's 66,55,48. Going into the final day there were only 3 points separating the Brits and still all to play for not only for country position but overall improvement in the regatta standing's.

The final day brought sunshine and another decent breeze of 6-8 metres per second and a shifty south westerly. With the regatta wrapped up by Per Buch, there was still all to play for, for the remaining podium positions. A sign of a great sailor is one who can pull themselves out of a deep hole at the start, Per Joergensen DEN703, climbed from the mid twenties at the first gate, to second by the finish and in turn secure himself second overall. The race winner was Kim Kristensen DEN768, who finished 7th overall.

As for the Brits, Madeleine came out on top with a well worked and sailed 18th in the final race, and as for So! They finished a disappointing 53rd, having just had a 'bad day at the office'.

In summary the week had everything, excellent racing in a lovely location, and superb social events. In essence the 'Nordic Folkboat' is really the people's boat and you can see why it has stood the test of time, with its design durability, seaworthiness and adoption by all ages.

As Brits we know we can go better and both Madeleine and So! agreed they will be back in 2018 in Sweden for the Gold Cup, hopefully wiser, even better prepared and ultimately faster.

The only statement this report can sign off with is the folkboat motto #folkboatsforever

75th Anniversary Nordic Folkboat Gold Cup Results: (top five)

1st DEN 926 - Per Buch - 16pts
2nd DEN 703 – Per Joergensen – 26pts
3rd DEN 873 – Soren Kaestel – 30pts
4th GER 417 – Jurgen Breitenbach – 39pts
5th GER 564 – Sonke Durst – 40pts

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